Working with equations : Conditional expressions

Conditional expressions

Simple equations, like Y = 5+7*X, provide a single, continuously-varying method for calculating a value for an element from the value(s) for one or more other elements. Often, however, the expression we want to use for calculating the result depends on the values of one or more aspects of the system. This means that we need a way, in a single equation, for choosing between alternative expressions. Conditional expressions provide a means for doing this.

In general terms, a simple equation has the form:

Y = expression.

A conditional equation has the form:

Y = if condition1 then expression1 else expression2

Y = if condition1 then expression1 elseif condition2 then expression2 elseif condition3 then expression3 ...... else expressionx


  • expression is any legal Simile mathematical expression, including numeric constants, variables, mathematical operators and functions - and indeed further conditional expressions (i.e. conditional expressions can be nested).   When you nest condironal expressions, the nested if...then...else... must be enclosed in round brackets.   E.g. if a>5 then (if b<3 then 5 else 4) else 0 

  • condition is a Boolean expression constructed using Boolean operators or relational operators.

Note that while some programming languages, such as C and Fortran, allow you to use a numerical value of 1 or 0 to represent "true" or "false" in a conditional expression, Simile does not allow this. We feel that this practice makes the equations less readable. Instead, you can convert the number n into a boolean, using the expression "n !=0 ".

In: Contents >> Working with equations >> Components of an equation