[SciPy-user] Regarding what "where" returns

Perry Greenfield perry at stsci.edu
Wed Apr 12 17:00:02 CDT 2006

We've noticed that in numpy that the where() function behaves  
differently than for numarray. In numarray, where() (when used with a  
mask or condition array only) always returns a tuple of index arrays,  
even for the 1D case whereas numpy returns an index array for the 1D  
case and a tuple for higher dimension cases. While the tuple is a  
annoyance for users when they want to manipulate the 1D case, the  
benefit is that one always knows that where is returning a tuple, and  
thus can write code accordingly. The  problem with the current numpy  
behavior is that it requires special case testing to see which kind  
return one has before manipulating if you aren't certain of what the  
dimensionality of the argument is going to be.

I'd like to raise the issue of whether or not numpy should change the  
behavior. We often deal with both 1D and 2D arrays so it is an  
inconvenience for us. How many others deal with this and have an  
opinion on which way it should work. There is no difference in using  
the result for where() as an index in any case. Tuples are handled  
transparently, even for the 1-d case. For example (for numarray):

 >>> x = arange(10)
 >>> ind = where(x > 6)
 >>> print x[ind]
[7 8 9]
 >>> print ind
(array([7, 8, 9]),)

So to access the actuall index array, one must index the tuple, e.g.:




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