[Python-Dev] Help with Unicode arrays in NumPy

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Tue Feb 7 21:06:28 CET 2006

Travis E. Oliphant wrote:
> Currently that means that they are "unicode" strings of basic size UCS2 
> or UCS4 depending on the platform.  It is this duality that has some 
> people concerned.  For all other data-types, NumPy allows the user to 
> explicitly request a bit-width for the data-type.

Why is that a desirable property? Also: Why does have NumPy support for
Unicode arrays in the first place?

> Before embarking on this journey, however, we are seeking advice from 
> individuals wiser to the way of Unicode on this list.

My initial reaction is: use whatever Python uses in "NumPy Unicode".
Upon closer inspection, it is not all that clear what operations
are supported on a Unicode array, and how these operations relate
to the Python Unicode type.

In any case, I think NumPy should have only a single "Unicode array"
type (please do explain why having zero of them is insufficient).

If the purpose of the type is to interoperate with a Python
unicode object, it should use the same width (as this will
allow for mempcy).

If the purpose is to support arbitrary Unicode characters, it should
use 4 bytes (as two bytes are insufficient to represent arbitrary
Unicode characters).

If the purpose is something else, please explain what the purpose


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