[Numpy-discussion] loadtxt and usecols

Daπid davidmenhur at gmail.com
Tue Nov 10 10:52:52 EST 2015

On 10 November 2015 at 16:07, Irvin Probst <irvin.probst at ensta-bretagne.fr>

> I know this new behavior might break a lot of existing code as
> usecol=(42,) used to return a 1-D array, but usecol=((((42,)))) also
> returns a 1-D array so the current behavior is not consistent imho.

((((42,))))  is exactly the same as (42,) If you want a tuple of tuples,
you have to do ((42,),), but then it raises: TypeError: list indices must
be integers, not tuple.

What numpy cares about is that whatever object you give it is iterable, and
its entries are ints, so usecol={0:'a', 5:'b'} is perfectly valid.

I think loadtxt should be a tool to read text files in the least surprising
fashion, and a text file is a 1 or 2D container, so it shouldn't return any
other shapes. Any fancy stuff one may want to do with the output should be
done with the typical indexing tricks. If I want a single column, I would
first be very surprised if I got a 2D array (I was bitten by this design in
MATLAB many many times). For the rare cases where I do want a "fake" 2D
array, I can make it explicit by expanding it with arr[:, np.newaxis], and
then I know that the shape will be (N, 1) and not (1, N). Thus, usecols
should be int or sequence of ints, and the result 1 or 2D.

In your example:

foo=np.loadtxt("CONCARNEAU_2010.txt", usecols=a)

What would the shape of foo be?

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