Tests for a scalar error code.


y = scalerr(c)

c (NxK matrix or sparse matrix or N-dimensional array) – generally the return argument of a function or procedure call.


y (scalar or [N-2]-dimensional array) – 0 if the argument is not a scalar error code, or the value of the error code as an integer if the argument is an error code.


trap 1;
cm = invpd(x);
trap 0;

if scalerr(cm);
   cm = inv(x);

In this example invpd() will return a scalar() error code if the matrix x is not positive definite. If scalerr() returns with a nonzero value, the program will use the inv() function, which is slower, to compute the inverse. Since the trap state has been turned off, if inv() fails, the program will terminate with a Matrix singular error message.


Error codes in GAUSS are NaN’s (Not A Number). These are not just scalar integer values. They are special floating point encodings that the math chip recognizes as not representing a valid number. See also error.

scalerr() can be used to test for either those error codes that are predefined in GAUSS or an error code that the user has defined using error.

If c is an N-dimensional array, y will be an [N-2]-dimensional array, where each element corresponds to a 2-dimensional array described by the last two dimensions of c. For each 2-dimensional array in c that does not contain a scalar error code, its corresponding element in y will be set to zero. For each 2-dimensional array in c that does contain a scalar error code, its corresponding element in y will be set to the value of that error code as an integer. In other words, if c is a 5x5x10x10 array, y will be a 5x5 array, in which each element corresponds to a 10x10 array in c and contains either a zero or the integer value of a scalar error code.

If c is an empty matrix, scalerr() will return 65535.

Certain functions will either return an error code or terminate a program with an error message, depending on the trap state. The trap command is used to set the trap state. The error code that will be returned will appear to most commands as a missing value code, but the scalerr() function can distinguish between missing values and error codes and will return the value of the error code.

Following are some of the functions that are affected by the trap state:

trap 1

trap 0


error code

error message



Matrix not positive definite



Matrix not positive definite



Matrix not positive definite



Matrix not positive definite (second argument not square)


Matrix singular (second argument not square)



Matrix not positive definite

See also

Functions error(), trap, trapchk