yakxxx yakxxx - 3 months ago 9
Python Question

2d array of zeros

There is no array type in python, but to emulate it we can use lists. I want to have 2d array-like structure filled in with zeros. My question is: what is the difference, if any, in this two expressions:

zeros = [[0 for i in xrange(M)] for j in xrange(M)]


and

zeros = [[0]*M]*N


Will
zeros
be same? which one is better to use by means of speed and readability?

Answer

You should use numpy.zeros. If that isn't an option, you want the first version. In the second version, if you change one value, it will be changed elsewhere in the list -- e.g.:

>>> a = [[0]*10]*10
>>> a
[[0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0]]
>>> a[0][0] = 1
>>> a
[[1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0]]

This is because (as you read the expression from the inside out), you create a list of 10 zeros. You then create a list of 10 references to that initial list of 10 zeros.


Note that:

zeros = [ [0]*M for _ in xrange(N) ]

will also work and it avoids the nested list comprehension. If numpy isn't on the table, this is the form I would use.