Captain Cretaceous Captain Cretaceous - 1 year ago 84
Python Question

Python - counting sign changes

I have a list of numbers I am reading left to right. Anytime I encounter a sign change when reading the sequence I want to count it.

X = [-3,2,7,-4,1,-1,1,6,-1,0,-2,1]
X = [-, +, +, -, +, -, +, +, -, -,-,+]

So, in this list there are 8 sign changes.

When Item
(in this case -3) is negative it is considered a sign change. Also, any 0 in the list is considered

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer Source

You can use itertools.groupby to count the groups of positive and non-positive numbers:

>>> x = [-3,2,7,-4,1,-1,1,6,-1,0,-2,1] 

>>> import itertools
>>> len(list(itertools.groupby(x, lambda x: x > 0)))



In your question you state that you want:

  • to count the changes, not the groups
  • to count an extra change if the first element is not positive.

You can do this either by testing the first element directly and adjusting the result:

>>> len(list(itertools.groupby(x, lambda x: x > 0))) - (x[0] > 0)

or by prepending a positive number to the input before doing the grouping then subtracting 1 from the result:

>>> len(list(itertools.groupby(itertools.chain([1], x), lambda x: x > 0))) - 1

Watch out if your input list could by empty - the former solution will raise an exception.