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please consider following "minimal" code:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}% http://ctan.org/pkg/amsmath
\begin{document}\begin{align*}
(p's_y)(z)&=(ps_xs_y)(z)=\\
    &=\begin{cases}
        p'(z)                       &   z\neq y\\
        \sum_{v\in N(y)}p'(v)-p'(z) &       z=y
    \end{cases}\\
    &=\begin{cases}
        p(z)                                            &   z\neq x,y\\
        \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                       &   z=x\\
        \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}}p'(v)+p'(x)-p'(y) &   z=y
    \end{cases}\\
    &=\begin{cases}
        p(z)                                            &   z\neq x,y\\
        \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                       &   z=x\\
        \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
        \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(x)-p(x)-p(y)                  &   z=y
    \end{cases}\\
    &=\begin{cases}
        p(z)                                            &   z\neq x,y\\
        \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                       &   z=x\\
        \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
        \sum_{v\in N(x)\setminus\{y\}} p(v) -p(x)       &   z=y
    \end{cases}\\
    &=\begin{cases}
        p(z)                                                        &   z\neq x,y\\
        \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                                   &   z=x\\
        \sum_{v\in \left(N(x)\cup N(y)\right)\setminus\{x,y\}} p(v) &   z=y
    \end{cases}
\end{align*}
\end{document}​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Which turns into following:

enter image description here

So now to my questions:

  1. How can I globally set \displaystyle and \limits for the whole document and all environments without declaring it again and again (i.e. without explicitly writing \displaystyle\sum\limits... every time).
  2. How can I make all the condidions (i.e. z=y...) align?
  3. How can I make the first column of the cases (i.e. the summs and p(x)) centered?
share|improve this question
    
\usepackage{mathtools} and dcases environment. – egreg Feb 15 at 17:09
2  
However, rather than repeating cases I'd split the computations in the three cases and show only a final cases (or dcases) environment. – egreg Feb 15 at 17:13
    
ok thx dcases eases problem 1. So theres still 2 and 3 to go. any other suggestions? – zivimo Feb 15 at 17:18
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can do it with dcases from the mathtools package and measuring the largest item, but the final result is much worse than your image, in my opinion:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath,mathtools}

\newlength{\longestcase}
\newcommand{\longcase}[1]{%
  \mathmakebox[\longestcase][l]{#1}%
}

\begin{document}

\settowidth{\longestcase}{%
  $\displaystyle
   \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
   \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(x)-p(x)-p(y)
  $}
\begin{align*}
(p's_y)(z)
  &=(ps_xs_y)(z)=\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p'(z)}                                 & z\neq y\\[2ex]
    \sum_{v\in N(y)}p'(v)-p'(z)                      & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                  & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                        & z=x\\
    \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}}p'(v)+p'(x)-p'(y ) & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                  & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                        & z=x\\
    \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
    \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(x)-p(x)-p(y)                   & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                  & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                        & z=x\\
    \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
    \sum_{v\in N(x)\setminus\{y\}} p(v) -p(x)        & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                  & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)                        & z=x\\
    \sum_{v\in (N(x)\cup N(y))\setminus\{x,y\}} p(v) & z=y
    \end{dcases}
\end{align*}

\end{document}​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

enter image description here

Centering the objects makes it even worse. ;-)

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath,mathtools}

\newlength{\longestcase}
\newcommand{\longcase}[1]{%
  \mathmakebox[\longestcase][c]{#1}%
}

\begin{document}

\settowidth{\longestcase}{%
  $\displaystyle
   \sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
   \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(x)-p(x)-p(y)
  $}
\begin{align*}
(p's_y)(z)
  &=(ps_xs_y)(z)=\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p'(z)}                                            & z\neq y\\[2ex]
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(y)}p'(v)-p'(z)}                      & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                             & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)}                        & z=x\\
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}}p'(v)+p'(x)-p'(y)}  & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                             & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)}                        & z=x\\
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
      \sum_{v\in N(x)}p(x)-p(x)-p(y)}                           & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                             & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)}                        & z=x\\
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}} p(v) +
      \sum_{v\in N(x)\setminus\{y\}} p(v) -p(x)}                & z=y
    \end{dcases}\\
  &=\begin{dcases}
    \longcase{p(z)}                                             & z\neq x,y\\[2ex]
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in N(x)}p(v)-p(x)}                        & z=x\\
    \longcase{\sum_{v\in (N(x)\cup N(y))\setminus\{x,y\}} p(v)} & z=y
    \end{dcases}
\end{align*}
\end{document}​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
I'm sorry for not meeting your taste but to me is seems prettier. Anyway... any change to center stuff? – zivimo Feb 15 at 17:36
1  
@zivimo Yes, it's possible to make it arbitrarily ugly. ;-) – egreg Feb 15 at 17:47

A variant, using the eqparbox package to measure the widest left side with a system of tags, and less horizontal space with the \smashoperator command from mathtools:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{mathtools}% http://ctan.org/pkg/amsmath
\usepackage{eqparbox}
\newcommand\eqmathbox[2][]{\eqmakebox[#1]{\ensuremath{\displaystyle#2}}}

\begin{document}

\begin{align*}
  (p's_y)(z) & =(ps_xs_y)(z)= \\
                                                                                                      & =\begin{dcases}
  \eqmathbox[C]{p'(z)} & z\neq y \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(y)}}p'(v)-p'(z)} & z=y
  \end{dcases}\\[1ex]
                                                                                                      & =\begin{dcases}
  \eqmathbox[C]{p(z)} & z\neq x,y \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(x)}}p(v)-p(x)} & z=x \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}}}p'(v)+p'(x)-p'(y)} & z=y
  \end{dcases}\\[1ex]
                                                                                                      & =\begin{dcases}
  \eqmathbox[C]{p(z)} & z\neq x,y \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(x)}}p(v)-p(x)} & z=x \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}}} p(v) +
  \smashoperator{\sum_{v\in N(x)}}p(x)-p(x)-p(y)} & z=y
  \end{dcases}\\[1ex]
                                                                                                      & =\begin{dcases}
  \eqmathbox[C]{p(z)} & z\neq x,y \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(x)}}p(v)-p(x)} & z=x \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(y)\setminus\{x\}}} p(v) +
  \smashoperator{\sum_{v\in N(x)\setminus\{y\}}} p(v) -p(x)} & z=y
  \end{dcases}\\[1ex]
                                                                                                      & =\begin{dcases}
  \eqmathbox[C]{p(z)} & z\neq x,y \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in N(x)}}p(v)-p(x)} & z=x \\
  \eqmathbox[C]{\smashoperator[r]{\sum_{v\in \left(N(x)\cup N(y)\right)\setminus\{x,y\}}} p(v)} & z=y
  \end{dcases}
\end{align*}

\end{document} 

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

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