[Numpy-discussion] suggestion for generalizing numpy functions

Darren Dale dsdale24@gmail....
Mon Mar 9 16:37:01 CDT 2009


On Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 9:50 AM, Darren Dale <dsdale24@gmail.com> wrote:

> I spent some time over the weekend fixing a few bugs in numpy that were
> exposed when attempting to use ufuncs with ndarray subclasses. It got me
> thinking that, with relatively little work, numpy's functions could be made
> to be more general. For example, the numpy.ma module redefines many of the
> standard ufuncs in order to do some preprocessing before the builtin ufunc
> is called. Likewise, in the units/quantities package I have been working on,
> I would like to perform a dimensional analysis to make sure an operation is
> allowed before I call a ufunc that might change data in place.
>
> Imagine an ndarray subclass with methods like __gfunc_pre__ and
> __gfunc_post__. __gfunc_pre__ could accept the context that is currently
> provided to __array_wrap__ (the inputs and the function called), perform
> whatever preprocessing is desired, and maybe return a dictionary containing
> metadata. Numpy functions could then be wrapped with a decorator that 1)
> calls __gfunc_pre__ and obtain any metadata that is returned 2) calls the
> wrapped functions, and then 3) calls __gfunc_post__, which might be very
> similar to __array_wrap__ except that it would also accept the metadata
> created by __gfunc_pre__.
>
> In cases where the routines to be called by __gfunc_pre__ and _post__
> depend on what function is called, the the subclass could implement routines
> and store them in a dictionary-like object that is keyed using the function
> called. I have been exploring this approach with Quantities and it seems to
> work well. For example:
>
>     def __gfunc_pre__(self, gfunc, *args):
>         try:
>             return gfunc_pre_registry[gfunc](*args)
>         except KeyError:
>             return {}
>
> I think such an approach for generalizing numpy's functions could be
> implemented without being disruptive to the existing __array_wrap__
> framework. The decorator would attempt to identify an input or output array
> to use to call __gfunc_pre__ and _post__. If it finds them, it uses them. If
> it doesnt find them, no harm done, the existing __array_wrap__ mechanisms
> are still in place if the wrapped function is a ufunc.
>
> One other nice feature: the metadata that is returned by __gfunc_pre__
> could contain an optional flag that the decorator attempts to pass to the
> wrapped function so that __gfunc_pre__ and _post are not called for any
> decorated internal functions. That way the subclass could specify that
> __gfunc_pre__ and _post should be called only for the outer-most function.
>
> Comments?
>

I'm attaching a proof of concept script, maybe it will better illustrate
what I am talking about.

Darren
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