[SciPy-user] addition of vectors of different lengths

Dan Christensen jdc at uwo.ca
Wed Aug 3 23:46:58 CDT 2005

Travis Oliphant <oliphant at ee.byu.edu> writes:

>> As a general question, I wonder if it would be reasonable to allow
>> ufuncs to be applied to arrays of different sizes.  When one of the
>> arrays is missing data, the ufunc could be given None for that
>> argument, and decide whether to raise an exception or to use a default
>> value.  Is this something that was thought about but not done for
>> some reason?
> I have not been following this entire discussion, but this kind of 
> behavior would markedly change the current rules and make ufuncs slower 
> in general.  

Yes, I agree that it wouldn't be good to change this by default.

> Now, I suppose instead of raising a shape-mismatch error an alternative 
> algorithm could be called, that would fix the speed problem, but it 
> would still mean that unintentional shape mismatch bugs would be hard to 
> catch.
> It's an interesting propostion though.

I wonder about a couple of options.  One would be to provide a
function like

  call_ufunc_with_default(add, default=0.0, a, b)

This would be the same as add(a,b), except that the result
would have its size in the ith dimension equal to the maximum
of the sizes of a and b in the ith dimension, and when values
aren't present from a or b, the value 0.0 would be passed to add.

The hope would be that this could be implemented at a low enough
level that it's quite fast.

A second possibility would be to provide a function like reshape or
resize which allowed one to extend an array by zeros in some
dimensions.  This seems like a useful thing to have in general,
but (I assume that) data would have to be copied around, so
it would be slower to do

  add(extend_a_with_zeros(a, b.getshape()),  b)


  call_ufunc_with_defaults(add, default=0.0, a, b)


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