# [Python-Dev] Fwd: summing a bunch of numbers (or "whatevers")

**Oren Tirosh
**
oren-py-l@hishome.net

*Sun, 20 Apr 2003 04:37:18 -0400*

On Sun, Apr 20, 2003 at 01:18:08AM -0700, Brett Cannon wrote:
>* [Alex Martelli]
*>*
*>* > On Sunday 20 April 2003 08:09 am, Prabhu Ramachandran wrote:
*>* <snip> ...
*>* > In the context of Numeric use, it's quite appropriate to have sum,
*>* prod,
*>* > and the other ufuncs' reduce AND accumulate methods. In everyday
*>* > programming in other fields, the demand for the functionality given by
*>* > sum is FAR higher than that given by prod.
*>* <snip>
*>*
*>* I think part of the trouble here is the name. The word "sum" just
*>* automatically causes one to think math. This leads to thinking of
*>* multiplication, division, and subtraction. But Alex's proposed function
*>* does more than a summation by special-casing the concatentation of
*>* strings.
*
The special case is just a performance optimization. Without it the
sum function would still return the same result. The sum function
should work for any object that defines a + operator.
I agree that the name 'sum' isn't 100% intuitive for use with strings
but I can't think of any name that would be really natural for both.
Oren