[Numpy-discussion] numpy.random.shuffle

Robert Kern robert.kern at gmail.com
Wed Nov 22 11:17:19 CST 2006

Christopher Barker wrote:
> Robert Kern wrote:
>> This is really a thinko on my part.
> What, exactly, is a thinko?

Like a typo except that the fault lies with the brain, not the fingers.

>> I copied the algorithm from Python's random
>> module. At the core of it is a set of swaps:
>>     x[i], x[j] = x[j], x[i]
>> With the kind of sequences that the stdlib random module is expecting, that
>> makes perfect sense. However, with N-dim arrays (N > 1), x[i] is a *view* into
>> the array. By the time that x[j] = x[i] gets executed, x[i] = x[j] has already
>> executed and the underlying memory that x[i] points to has been modified.
> wouldn't something like:
> temp = x[i].copy()
> x[i], x[j] = x[j], temp
> work?
> In any case, it should raise an error if ndim > 1, rather than giving a 
> wrong result.

The method is intended to work on sequences in general, not just numpy arrays,
so I can't really use .copy() or even test for ndim > 1.

One possibility is to check if the object is an ndarray (or subclass) and use
.copy() if so; otherwise, use the current implementation and hope that you
didn't pass it a Numeric or numarray array (or some other view-based object).

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
 that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
 an underlying truth."
  -- Umberto Eco

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