[Python-Dev] PEP 450 adding statistics module

Ryan rymg19 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 15 19:48:37 CEST 2013

For the naming, how about changing median(callable) to median.regular? That way, we don't have to deal with a callable namespace.

Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:

>On 15/08/13 21:42, Mark Dickinson wrote:
>> The PEP and code look generally good to me.
>> I think the API for median and its variants deserves some wider
>> the reference implementation has a callable 'median', and variant
>> 'median.low', 'median.high', 'median.grouped'.  The pattern of
>> the variant callables as attributes on the main callable is unusual,
>> isn't something I've seen elsewhere in the standard library.  I'd
>like to
>> see some explanation in the PEP for why it's done this way.  (There
>> already some discussion of this on the issue, but that was more
>> around the implementation than the API.)
>> I'd propose two alternatives for this:  either have separate
>> 'median', 'median_low', 'median_high', etc., or have a single
>> 'median' with a "method" argument that takes a string specifying
>> computation using a particular method.  I don't see a really good
>reason to
>> deviate from standard patterns here, and fear that users would find
>> current API surprising.
>Alexander Belopolsky has convinced me (off-list) that my current
>implementation is better changed to a more conservative one of a
>callable singleton instance with methods implementing the alternative
>computations. I'll have something like:
>def _singleton(cls):
>     return cls()
>class median:
>     def __call__(self, data):
>         ...
>     def low(self, data):
>         ...
>     ...
>In my earlier stats module, I had a single median function that took a
>argument to choose between alternatives. I called it "scheme":
>median(data, scheme="low")
>R uses parameter called "type" to choose between alternate
>calculations, not for median as we are discussing, but for quantiles:
>quantile(x, probs ... type = 7, ...).
>SAS also uses a similar system, but with different numeric codes. I
>rejected both "type" and "method" as the parameter name since it would
>cause confusion with the usual meanings of those words. I eventually
>decided against this system for two reasons:
>- Each scheme ended up needing to be a separate function, for ease of
>both implementation and testing. So I had four private median
>functions, which I put inside a class to act as namespace and avoid
>polluting the main namespace. Then I needed a "master function" to
>select which of the methods should be called, with all the additional
>testing and documentation that entailed.
>- The API doesn't really feel very Pythonic to me. For example, we
>rather than mystring.justify(width, "right") or dict.iterate("items").
>So I think individual methods is a better API, and one which is more
>familiar to most Python users. The only innovation (if that's what it
>is) is to have median a callable object.
>As far as having four separate functions, median, median_low, etc., it
>just doesn't feel right to me. It puts four slight variations of the
>same function into the main namespace, instead of keeping them together
>in a namespace. Names like median_low merely simulates a namespace with
>pseudo-methods separated with underscores instead of dots, only without
>the advantages of a real namespace.
>(I treat variance and std dev differently, and make the sample and
>population forms separate top-level functions rather than methods,
>simply because they are so well-known from scientific calculators that
>it is unthinkable to me to do differently. Whenever I use numpy, I am
>surprised all over again that it has only a single variance function.)
>Python-Dev mailing list
>Python-Dev at python.org

Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
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