[Numpy-discussion] finding elements that match any in a set

Christopher Barker Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
Fri May 27 20:48:37 EDT 2011

On 5/27/11 9:48 AM, Michael Katz wrote:
> I have a numpy array, records, with named fields including a field named
> "integer_field". I have an array (or list) of values of interest, and I
> want to get the indexes where integer_field has any of those values.
> Because I can do
> indexes = np.where( records.integer_field > 5 )
> I thought I could do
> indexes = np.where( records.integer_field in values )
> But that doesn't work. (As a side question I'm interested in why that
> doesn't work, when values is a python list.)

that doesn't work because the python list "in" operator doesn't 
understand arrays -- so it is looking ot see if the entire array is in 
the list. actually, it doesn't even get that far:

In [16]: a in l
ValueError                                Traceback (most recent call last)

/Users/chris.barker/<ipython console> in <module>()

ValueError: The truth value of an array with more than one element is 
ambiguous. Use a.any() or a.all()

The ValueError results because it was decided that numpy array should 
not have a boolean value to avoid confusion -- i.e. is na array true 
whenever it is non-empty (like a list), or when all it's elements are 
true, or????

When I read this question, I thought -- hmmm, numpy needs something like 
"in", as the usual way: np.any(), would require a loop in this case. 
Then I read Skipper's message:

On 5/27/11 9:55 AM, Skipper Seabold wrote:
> Check out this recent thread. I think the proposed class does what you
> want. It's more efficient than in1d, if values is small compared to
> the length of records.

So that class may be worthwhile, but I think np.in1d is exactly what you 
are looking for:

indexes = np.in1d( records.integer_field, values )

Funny I'd never noticed that before.


Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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