Basic Commands

Helpful unix tools

One useful tool you can use is hitting the TAB key twice. Hitting it once does command completion which helps you finish a command if you don’t remember how it ends. Hitting it twice does command completion on the empty string and it will tell you all possible completions:

atlas> {TAB,TAB}
Display all 204 possibilities? (y or n)

Here the curly brackets mean a comment. In this case it means that you hit the key in question instead of typing the word. Now, when you type y it will display all the 204 commands in the software using more, so you can scroll through them to find the command you need.

You can also use TAB to find more than one possible command completions. For example, typing nu and then TAB completes to null. Typing TAB again gives the possible commands that start with null:

atlas> nu{TAB}
atlas> null
null         null_module
atlas> null

If this does not work on your version of atlas it may be that the appropriate readline library is not installed on your computer: command completion is implemented by readline. Addressing this problem is worth the effort!

Another useful unix command is ctrl-p which helps you find the previous command you typed. For example:

atlas> set y=2
Identifier y: int
atlas> {ctrl-p}
atlas> set y=2

So, you can easily scroll back to the previous commands that you have typed by repeating this step. This is also useful for editing the commands without having to type them all again, as we could do in the above example by changing y=2 to y=3 after recalling our previous command.

The same result can be obtained by hitting the up/down arrow keys. This also lets you scroll forward as well as backward.

The commands ctrl-a and ctrl-e move you to the start and end of a line respectively and the command option-left/right-arrow move you left or right to the start/end of the next word.

Basic atlas Operations

atlas also performs operations on non-integers and outputs integers or integer tuples. For example you could ask the software to round down to the the largest integer less than a number, to compute the remainder, or to exppress a rational as a pair:

atlas> x:=13
Value: 13
atlas> x\5
Value: 2
atlas> x%5
Value: 3
atlas> z:=x/5
Value: 13/5
atlas> %z
Value: (13,5)

We can also work with each part of the pair separately:

atlas> set s=%z
Identifier s: (int,int)
atlas> set (num,denom)=s
Identifiers num: int, denom: int
atlas> num
Value: 13
atlas> denom
Value: 5


The above pair of integers belongs to the more general data type, tuples, which could consist of integers, rationals, vectors, strings or a combination of a variety of data types. A string can be any string of characters in quotes such as:

atlas> set x="hello world"
Identifier x: string
atlas> x
Value: "hello world"
atlas> print(x)
"hello world"
Value: "hello world"
atlas> prints(x)
hello world

Here we use the command prints which means print string, to print without quotes.

Now we can form the 3-tuple of different data types:

set z=(1,2/3,x)
Identifier z: (int,rat,string)
atlas> z
Value: (1,2/3,"hello world")