[Numpy-discussion] categorical distributions

David Warde-Farley wardefar@iro.umontreal...
Mon Nov 22 02:16:57 CST 2010

On 2010-11-22, at 2:51 AM, Hagen Fürstenau wrote:

> but this is bound to be inefficient as soon as the vector of
> probabilities gets large, especially if you want to draw multiple samples.
> Have I overlooked something or should this be added?

I think you misunderstand the point of multinomial distributions. A sample from a multinomial is simply a sample from n i.i.d. categoricals, reported as the counts for each category in the N observations. It's very easy to recover the 'categorical' samples from a 'multinomial' sample.

import numpy as np
a = np.random.multinomial(50, [.3, .3, .4])
b = np.zeros(50, dtype=int)
upper = np.cumsum(a); lower = upper - a

for value in range(len(a)):
	b[lower[value]:upper[value]] = value
# mix up the order, in-place, if you care about them not being sorted

then b is a sample from the corresponding 'categorical' distribution.


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