vsekhar vsekhar - 1 year ago 187
Python Question

heapq with custom compare predicate

I am trying to build a heap with a custom sort predicate. Since the values going into it are of 'user-defined' type, I cannot modify their built-in comparison predicate.

Is there a way to do something like:

h = heapq.heapify([...], key=my_lt_pred)
h = heapq.heappush(h, key=my_lt_pred)

Or even better, I could wrap the heapq functions in my own container so I don't need to keep passing the predicate.

Answer Source

According to the heapq documentation, the way to customize the heap order is to have each element on the heap to be a tuple, with the first tuple element being one that accepts normal Python comparisons.

The functions in the heapq module are a bit cumbersome (since they are not object-oriented), and always require our heap object (a heapified list) to be explicitly passed as the first parameter. We can kill two birds with one stone by creating a very simple wrapper class that will allow us to specify a key function, and present the heap as an object.

The class below keeps an internal list, where each element is a tuple, the first member of which is a key, calculated at element insertion time using the key parameter, passed at Heap instantiation:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
import heapq

class MyHeap(object):
   def __init__(self, initial=None, key=lambda x:x):
       self.key = key
       if initial:
           self._data = [(key(item), item) for item in initial]
           self._data = []

   def push(self, item):
       heapq.heappush(self._data, (self.key(item), item))

   def pop(self):
       return heapq.heappop(self._data)[1]
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