[Numpy-discussion] Addition of a dict object to all NumPy objects

Charles R Harris charlesr.harris@gmail....
Fri Aug 15 16:19:16 CDT 2008

On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 3:12 PM, Travis E. Oliphant

> Robert Kern wrote:
> >
> >>>> 3) Are the additional 4-8 bytes too expensive
> >>>>
> >>> One of the problems with numarray was the time taken to allocate small
> >>> arrays. Would adding a dictionary slow down the allocation of numpy
> arrays?
> >>>
> No, I don't think so,  not if we did nothing by default but set the dict
> to NULL (i.e. no propagation of meta-information to new arrays).
> >> That said, I think we should keep things as simple and orthogonal as
> >> possible. If we go this way, I think a subclass with a dictionary would
> be
> >> the best approach to avoid the heartbreak of creeping featuritis.
> >>
> >
> > The point of the feature is to avoid subclasses. There are a number of
> > use cases for annotating arrays with metadata. Currently, they are
> > forced to use subclasses. Every time you use ndarray subclasses, you
> > are essentially forcing yourself into your subclass's ghetto of
> > functions that only work on your subclass.
> >
> This would be one-step better in the sense that there would be a single
> sub-class to handle all cases of just needing meta information.    But,
> I tend to agree that adding the dictionary to all arrays is preferable.
> > I think you could make the dictionary created lazily on the first
> getattr().
> >
> Yes, that could easily be done.  It would just be set to NULL on
> creation and the penalty/overhead would be the extra pointer in the
> array structure.

That doesn't sound bad, and the convenience is probably worth it. Can this
be done in a way that doesn't require a new compile? That is, can it look
like a subclass in C? I'm opposed to adding anything until 1.2  is out.

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