[Numpy-discussion] Do we want scalar casting to behave as it does at the moment?
Benjamin Root
ben.root@ou....
Mon Nov 12 22:17:11 CST 2012
On Monday, November 12, 2012, Benjamin Root wrote:
>
>
> On Monday, November 12, 2012, Olivier Delalleau wrote:
>
>> 2012/11/12 Nathaniel Smith <njs@pobox.com>
>>
>>> On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> > Hi,
>>> >
>>> > I wanted to check that everyone knows about and is happy with the
>>> > scalar casting changes from 1.6.0.
>>> >
>>> > Specifically, the rules for (array, scalar) casting have changed such
>>> > that the resulting dtype depends on the _value_ of the scalar.
>>> >
>>> > Mark W has documented these changes here:
>>> >
>>> > http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/reference/ufuncs.html#casting-rules
>>> >
>>> http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/reference/generated/numpy.result_type.html
>>> >
>>> http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/reference/generated/numpy.promote_types.html
>>> >
>>> > Specifically, as of 1.6.0:
>>> >
>>> > In [19]: arr = np.array([1.], dtype=np.float32)
>>> >
>>> > In [20]: (arr + (2**16-1)).dtype
>>> > Out[20]: dtype('float32')
>>> >
>>> > In [21]: (arr + (2**16)).dtype
>>> > Out[21]: dtype('float64')
>>> >
>>> > In [25]: arr = np.array([1.], dtype=np.int8)
>>> >
>>> > In [26]: (arr + 127).dtype
>>> > Out[26]: dtype('int8')
>>> >
>>> > In [27]: (arr + 128).dtype
>>> > Out[27]: dtype('int16')
>>> >
>>> > There's discussion about the changes here:
>>> >
>>> >
>>> http://mail.scipy.org/pipermail/numpy-discussion/2011-September/058563.html
>>> >
>>> http://mail.scipy.org/pipermail/numpy-discussion/2011-March/055156.html
>>> >
>>> http://mail.scipy.org/pipermail/numpy-discussion/2012-February/060381.html
>>> >
>>> > It seems to me that this change is hard to explain, and does what you
>>> > want only some of the time, making it a false friend.
>>>
>>> The old behaviour was that in these cases, the scalar was always cast
>>> to the type of the array, right? So
>>> np.array([1], dtype=np.int8) + 256
>>> returned 1? Is that the behaviour you prefer?
>>>
>>> I agree that the 1.6 behaviour is surprising and somewhat
>>> inconsistent. There are many places where you can get an overflow in
>>> numpy, and in all the other cases we just let the overflow happen. And
>>> in fact you can still get an overflow with arr + scalar operations, so
>>> this doesn't really fix anything.
>>>
>>> I find the specific handling of unsigned -> signed and float32 ->
>>> float64 upcasting confusing as well. (Sure, 2**16 isn't exactly
>>> representable as a float32, but it doesn't *overflow*, it just gives
>>> you 2.0**16... if I'm using float32 then I presumably don't care that
>>> much about exact representability, so it's surprising that numpy is
>>> working to enforce it, and definitely a separate decision from what to
>>> do about overflow.)
>>>
>>> None of those threads seem to really get into the question of what the
>>> best behaviour here *is*, though.
>>>
>>> Possibly the most defensible choice is to treat ufunc(arr, scalar)
>>> operations as performing an implicit cast of the scalar to arr's
>>> dtype, and using the standard implicit casting rules -- which I think
>>> means, raising an error if !can_cast(scalar, arr.dtype,
>>> casting="safe")
>>
>>
>> I like this suggestion. It may break some existing code, but I think it'd
>> be for the best. The current behavior can be very confusing.
>>
>> -=- Olivier
>>
>
>
> "break some existing code"
>
> I really should set up an email filter for this phrase and have it send
> back an email automatically: "Are you nuts?!"
>
> We just resolved an issue where the "safe" casting rule unexpectedly broke
> existing code with regards to unplaced operations. The solution was to
> warn about the change in the upcoming release and to throw errors in a
> later release. Playing around with fundemental things like this need to be
> done methodically and carefully.
>
> Cheers!
> Ben Root
>
Stupid autocorrect: unplaced --> inplace
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