in reply to
initializing multiple arrays
I don't really understand what you are trying to do (partly because you did not say what the content of $array_references, $array_references, etc. is), but very clearly, I can see that you most probably need another level of indirection. Or, in other words, you probably want to use an array of arrays (AoA) or some more deeply nested structure (perhaps an AoAoA). But you should probably tell us what you are storing in your data structure, rather than telling is how you are thinking to do it now.