creating really big lists

Bruno Desthuilliers bdesth.quelquechose at
Sat Sep 8 20:06:45 CEST 2007

Dr Mephesto a écrit :
> Hi!
> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
> data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
> arrays!).
> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? 

Hem... Did you consider the fact that RAM is not an unlimited resource?

Let's do some simple math (please someone correct me if I'm going off 
the road): if a Python (empty) list object required 256 bits (if I refer 
to some old post by GvR, it's probably more - 384 bytes at least. Some 
Python guru around ?), you'd need (1 + (3000000 * 5)) * 256 bits just to 
build this list of lists. Which would make something around 3 Gb. Not 
counting all other needed memory...

FWIW, run the following code:

d = {}
for i in xrange(3000000):
   d[i] = ([], [], [], [], [])

And monitor what happens with top...

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