[Numpy-discussion] proposal: smaller representation of string arrays

Chris Barker chris.barker at noaa.gov
Mon Apr 24 14:21:48 EDT 2017

On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 10:51 AM, Aldcroft, Thomas <
aldcroft at head.cfa.harvard.edu> wrote:

> BTW -- maybe we should keep the pathological use-case in mind: really
>> short strings. I think we are all thinking in terms of longer strings,
>> maybe a name field, where you might assign 32 bytes or so -- then someone
>> has an accented character in their name, and then ge30 or 31 characters --
>> no big deal.
> I wouldn't call it a pathological use case, it doesn't seem so uncommon to
> have large datasets of short strings.

It's pathological for using a variable-length encoding.

> I personally deal with a database of hundreds of billions of 2 to 5
> character ASCII strings.  This has been a significant blocker to Python 3
> adoption in my world.

I agree -- it is a VERY common case for scientific data sets. But a
one-byte-per-char encoding would handle it nicely, or UCS-4 if you want
Unicode. The wasted space is not that big a deal with short strings...

BTW, for those new to the list or with a short memory, this topic has been
> discussed fairly extensively at least 3 times before.  Hopefully the
> *fourth* time will be the charm!

yes, let's hope so!

The big difference now is that Julian seems to be committed to actually
making it happen!

Thanks Julian!

Which brings up a good point -- if you need us to stop the damn
bike-shedding so you can get it done -- say so.

I have strong opinions, but would still rather see any of the ideas on the
table implemented than nothing.



Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

Emergency Response Division
NOAA/NOS/OR&R            (206) 526-6959   voice
7600 Sand Point Way NE   (206) 526-6329   fax
Seattle, WA  98115       (206) 526-6317   main reception

Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mail.python.org/pipermail/numpy-discussion/attachments/20170424/6621b043/attachment.html>

More information about the NumPy-Discussion mailing list