[Numpy-discussion] The date/time dtype and the casting issue
David Huard
david.huard@gmail....
Tue Jul 29 11:31:54 CDT 2008
Hi,
Silent casting is often a source of bugs and I appreciate the strict rules
you want to enforce.
However, I think there should be a simpler mechanism for operations between
different types
than creating a copy of a variable with the correct type.
My suggestion is to have a dtype argument for methods such as add and subs:
>>> numpy.ones(3, dtype="t8[Y]").add(numpy.zeros(3, dtype="t8[fs]"),
dtype="t8[fs]")
This way, `implicit` operations (+,-) enforce strict rules, and `explicit`
operations (add, subs) let's
you do want you want at your own risk.
David
On Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 9:12 AM, Francesc Alted <faltet@pytables.org> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> During the making of the date/time proposals and the subsequent
> discussions in this list, we have changed a couple of times our point
> of view about the way how the castings would work between different
> date/time types and the different time units (previously called
> resolutions). So I'd like to expose this issue in detail here, and
> give yet another new proposal about this, so as to gather feedback from
> the community before consolidating it in the final date/time proposal.
>
> Casting proposal for date/time types
> ====================================
>
> The operations among the proposed date/time types can be divided in
> three groups:
>
> * Absolute time versus relative time
>
> * Absolute time versus absolute time
>
> * Relative time versus relative time
>
> Now, here are our considerations for each case:
>
> Absolute time versus relative time
> ----------------------------------
>
> We think that in this case the absolute time should have priority for
> determining the time unit of the outcome. That would represent what
> the people wants to do most of the times. For example, this would
> allow to do:
>
> >>> series = numpy.array(['1970-01-01', '1970-02-01', '1970-09-01'],
> dtype='datetime64[D]')
> >>> series2 = series + numpy.timedelta(1, 'Y') # Add 2 relative years
> >>> series2
> array(['1972-01-01', '1972-02-01', '1972-09-01'],
> dtype='datetime64[D]') # the 'D'ay time unit has been chosen
>
> Absolute time versus absolute time
> ----------------------------------
>
> When operating (basically, only the substraction will be allowed) two
> absolute times with different unit times, we are proposing that the
> outcome would be to raise an exception. This is because the ranges and
> timespans of the different time units can be very different, and it is
> not clear at all what time unit will be preferred for the user. For
> example, this should be allowed:
>
> >>> numpy.ones(3, dtype="T8[Y]") - numpy.zeros(3, dtype="T8[Y]")
> array([1, 1, 1], dtype="timedelta64[Y]")
>
> But the next should not:
>
> >>> numpy.ones(3, dtype="T8[Y]") - numpy.zeros(3, dtype="T8[ns]")
> raise numpy.IncompatibleUnitError # what unit to choose?
>
> Relative time versus relative time
> ----------------------------------
>
> This case would be the same than the previous one (absolute vs
> absolute). Our proposal is to forbid this operation if the time units
> of the operands are different. For example, this should be allowed:
>
> >>> numpy.ones(3, dtype="t8[Y]") + 3*numpy.ones(3, dtype="t8[Y]")
> array([4, 4, 4], dtype="timedelta64[Y]")
>
> But the next should not:
>
> >>> numpy.ones(3, dtype="t8[Y]") + numpy.zeros(3, dtype="t8[fs]")
> raise numpy.IncompatibleUnitError # what unit to choose?
>
> Introducing a time casting function
> -----------------------------------
>
> As forbidding operations among absolute/absolute and relative/relative
> types can be unacceptable in many situations, we are proposing an
> explicit casting mechanism so that the user can inform about the
> desired time unit of the outcome. For this, a new NumPy function,
> called, say, ``numpy.change_unit()`` (this name is for the purposes of
> the discussion and can be changed) will be provided. The signature for
> the function will be:
>
> change_unit(time_object, new_unit, reference)
>
> where 'time_object' is the time object whose unit is to be
> changed, 'new_unit' is the desired new time unit, and 'reference' is an
> absolute date that will be used to allow the conversion of relative
> times in case of using time units with an uncertain number of smaller
> time units (relative years or months cannot be expressed in days). For
> example, that would allow to do:
>
> >>> numpy.change_unit( numpy.array([1,2], 'T[Y]'), 'T[d]' )
> array([365, 731], dtype="datetime64[d]")
>
> or:
>
> >>> ref = numpy.datetime64('1971', 'T[Y]')
> >>> numpy.change_unit( numpy.array([1,2], 't[Y]'), 't[d]', ref )
> array([366, 365], dtype="timedelta64[d]")
>
> Note: we refused to use the ``.astype()`` method because of the
> additional 'time_reference' parameter that will sound strange for other
> typical uses of ``.astype()``.
>
> Opinions?
>
> --
> Francesc Alted
> _______________________________________________
> Numpy-discussion mailing list
> Numpy-discussion@scipy.org
> http://projects.scipy.org/mailman/listinfo/numpy-discussion
>
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