[Python-Dev] sum(...) limitation

Alexander Belopolsky alexander.belopolsky at gmail.com
Tue Aug 12 02:50:28 CEST 2014

On Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 8:19 PM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:

> Teaching users the difference between linear time operations and quadratic
> ones isn't about purity, it's about passing along a fundamental principle
> of algorithm scalability.

I would understand if this was done in reduce(operator.add, ..) which
indeed spells out the choice of an algorithm, but why sum() should be O(N)
for numbers and O(N**2) for containers?  Would a python implementation
that, for example, optimizes away 0's in sum(list_of_numbers) be
non-compliant with some fundamental principle?
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