[SciPy-dev] [Numpy-discussion] Proposal: scipy.spatial

Prabhu Ramachandran prabhu@aero.iitb.ac...
Wed Oct 1 11:53:01 CDT 2008

Anne Archibald wrote:
>> This is nice.  How about a keyword argument "sort=True" that lets people
>> choose if they want the results sorted by distance or not?  I have seen
>> cases where unsorted results are useful.
> That is a possibility. My current code produces results that are in a
> heap, so sorting can in principle be an O(n) activity. Since the
> number of results returned is rarely going to be large, I'm not sure

I thought this was a discussion on a good API for such an algorithm 
(sorry if I misunderstood!).  Given that context, if this is a general 
purpose algorithm I'd rather not assume that the number of results is 
typically going to be small.

> the gain in efficiency is worth the loss in determinism. And

If there is no need for sorting and there are a large number of nearest 
neighbor queries (in my case there are O(N) nearest neighbor queries), 
this quickly adds up to an unnecessary O(N) inefficiency that I'd like 
to avoid.

> additional API complexity does have a cost - in an ideal world it
> should at the least double the number of unit tests. I think perhaps
> this should wait on a C implementation.

I don't see why the addition of a sort keyword will double your unit 
tests.  Another option would be to return unsorted results and have a 
separate sort method if it makes testing easier.

Thanks for listening.


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