yakxxx - 1 year ago 75
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?

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.

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