how to find the longst element list of lists

Dan Sommers me at
Mon Jan 8 02:55:19 CET 2007

On Sun, 07 Jan 2007 22:23:22 +0100,
"Michael M." <michael at> wrote:

> How to find the longst element list of lists?
> I think, there should be an easier way then this:

>   s1 = ["q", "e", "d"]
>   s2 = ["a", "b"]
>   s3 = ["a", "b", "c", "d"]

[ snip ]

One more thing to think about:  if your list of lists grows (i.e., if
you end up with thousands of lists instead of just three), then sorting
may not be the way to go.  Assuming that list_of_lists is your list of
lists, then something like this:

    longest_list, longest_length = list_of_lists[ 0 ], len( longest_list )
    for a_list in list_of_lists[ 1 : ]:
        a_length = len( a_list )
        if a_length > longest_length:
            longest_list, longest_length = a_list, a_length

will run faster than sorting the list just to pick off one element (O(n)
vs. O(n log n) for all of you Big-Oh notation fans out there; you know
who you are!).


Dan Sommers
"I wish people would die in alphabetical order." -- My wife, the genealogist

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