[Numpy-discussion] immutable numpy arrays

Robert Kern robert.kern@gmail....
Wed Dec 17 17:34:59 CST 2008

On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 16:51, Geoffrey Irving <irving@naml.us> wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 2:24 PM, Robert Kern <robert.kern@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 15:52, Geoffrey Irving <irving@naml.us> wrote:
>>> Currently numpy arrays are either writable or unwritable, but
>>> unwritable arrays can still be changed through other copies.  This
>>> means that when a numpy array is passed into an interface that
>>> requires immutability for safety reasons, a copy always has to be
>>> made.
>>> One way around this would be to add a NPY_IMMUTABLE flag signifying
>>> that the contents of the array will never change through other copies.
>> This is not possible to guarantee. With the __array_interface__, I can
>> make a numpy array point at any addressable memory without its
>> knowledge. We can even mutate "immutable" str objects, too.
> In python __array_interface__ just returns a big integer representing
> a pointer which can't be used for anything.

I can (and do) *make* an array from Python given an
__array_interface__ with that pointer. See numpy/lib/stride_trick.py
in numpy 1.2 for an example.

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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