[Numpy-discussion] Problem with concatenate and object arrays

Charles R Harris charlesr.harris at gmail.com
Wed Sep 6 20:18:33 CDT 2006

On 9/6/06, Travis Oliphant <oliphant.travis at ieee.org> wrote:
> Charles R Harris wrote:
> >
> > Where is array at this point?
> Basically it supports the old Numeric behavior wherein object array's
> are treated as before *except* for when an error would have occurred
> previously when the "new behavior" kicks in.  Anything that violates
> that is a bug needing to be fixed.
> This leaves the new object-array constructor used less often.  It could
> be exported explicitly into an oarray constructor, but I'm not sure
> about the advantages of that approach.   There are benefits to having
> object arrays constructed in the same way as other arrays.  It turns out
> many people actually like that feature of Numeric, which is the reason I
> didn't go the route of numarray which pulled object arrays out.
> At this point, however, object arrays can even be part of records and so
> need to be an integral part of the data-type description.   Pulling that
> out is not going to happen.  A more intelligent object-array
> constructor, however, may be a useful tool.

OK. I do have a couple of questions. Let me insert the docs for array and
asarray :

    """array(object, dtype=None, copy=1,order=None, subok=0,ndmin=0)

    Return an array from object with the specified date-type.

      object - an array, any object exposing the array interface, any
                object whose __array__ method returns an array, or any
                (nested) sequence.
      dtype  - The desired data-type for the array.  If not given, then
                the type will be determined as the minimum type required
                to hold the objects in the sequence.  This argument can only
                be used to 'upcast' the array.  For downcasting, use the
                .astype(t) method.
      copy   - If true, then force a copy.  Otherwise a copy will only occur
                if __array__ returns a copy, obj is a nested sequence, or
                a copy is needed to satisfy any of the other requirements
      order  - Specify the order of the array.  If order is 'C', then the
                array will be in C-contiguous order (last-index varies the
                fastest).  If order is 'FORTRAN', then the returned array
                will be in Fortran-contiguous order (first-index varies the
                fastest).  If order is None, then the returned array may
                be in either C-, or Fortran-contiguous order or even
      subok  - If True, then sub-classes will be passed-through, otherwise
                the returned array will be forced to be a base-class array
      ndmin  - Specifies the minimum number of dimensions that the resulting
                array should have.  1's will be pre-pended to the shape as
                needed to meet this requirement.


asarray(a, dtype=None, order=None)
    Returns a as an array.

    Unlike array(), no copy is performed if a is already an array.
    are converted to base class ndarray.

1) Is it true that array doesn't always return a copy except by default?
asarray says it contrasts with array in this regard. Maybe copy=0 should be

2) Is asarray is basically array with copy=0?

3) Is asanyarray basically array with copy=0 and subok=1?

4) Is there some sort of precedence table for conversions? To me it looks
like the most deeply nested lists are converted to arrays first, numeric if
they contain all numeric types, object otherwise. I assume the algorithm
then ascends up through the hierarchy like traversing a binary tree in

5) All nesting must be to the same depth and the deepest nested items must
have the same length.

6) How is the difference between lists and "lists" determined, i.e.,

In [3]: array([list([1,2,3]),list([1,2])], dtype = object)
Out[3]: array([[1, 2, 3], [1, 2]], dtype=object)

In [8]: array([array([1,2,3]),array([1,2])], dtype = object)
Out[8]: array([[1 2 3], [1 2]], dtype=object)

In [9]: array([1,2,3],[1,2]], dtype = object)
   File "<ipython console>", line 1
     array([1,2,3],[1,2]], dtype = object)
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

Is the difference that list(...) and array(...) are passed as functions
(lazy evaluation), but a list is just a list?

Sorry to be asking all these questions, but I would like to try making the
documentation be a bit of a reference. I am sure I will have more questions


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