[Numpy-discussion] categorical distributions

Hagen Fürstenau hagen@zhuliguan....
Mon Nov 22 03:18:06 CST 2010

>> 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.

I'm afraid the multiple samples were an afterthought and a false lead.
My main use case would be consecutive samples of _different_ categorical
distributions, for which abusing multinomials seems wasteful (as they
have to allocate a large vector each time). Similarly for the
alternative spelling

>>> import numpy, random
>>> a = numpy.array([.5, .3, .2])
>>> (a.cumsum()-random.random() >= 0).nonzero()[0][0]

ISTM that this elementary functionality deserves an implementation
that's as fast as it can be.

- Hagen

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