# [SciPy-User] python lists in combination with numpy arrays

josef.pktd@gmai... josef.pktd@gmai...
Wed Nov 10 15:41:41 CST 2010

```On Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 4:25 PM, Martin van Leeuwen
<vanleeuwen.martin@gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear All,
>
> I hope some of you could help me out understanding the following.
> I am a little puzzled about something I found using numpy in
> combination with standard python lists.
> The following two methods give different outputs on my machine.
> While the first method surprisingly overrides the python list instead
> of appending, the second method appends as I would expect.
> The only real difference between the methods is the line:
>
> for j in range(3): a[j] = numpy.random.rand()

here a always stays the same object that get overwritten

>
> vs.
>
> a = numpy.random.rand(3)

here a is a new object each time
>
>
>
> =============================
> import numpy
>
> print "first method"
>
> lst=[]
> a = numpy.zeros(3, dtype=float)
> for i in range(2):
>    for j in range(3): a[j] = numpy.random.rand()
>    print "three random values:", a
>    lst.append(a)
>    print 'current list:', lst
>    print '\n'
>
> print "second method"
>
> lst=[]
> for i in range(2):
>    a = numpy.random.rand(3)
>    print "three random values:", a
>    lst.append(a)
>    print 'current list:', lst
>    print '\n'
>
>
> ==========IDLE output==========
> first method
> three random values: [ 0.87115972  0.26259606  0.34981352]
> current list: [array([ 0.87115972,  0.26259606,  0.34981352])]
>
>
> three random values: [ 0.48827773  0.91841208  0.81756918]
> current list: [array([ 0.48827773,  0.91841208,  0.81756918]), array([
> 0.48827773,  0.91841208,  0.81756918])]

both entries of the list refer to the same array `a` that is
overwritten in each outer loop

my interpretation, I think it's the same behavior in this case if a
were a list (?)

Josef
>
>
> second method
> three random values: [ 0.88553281  0.92494531  0.34539655]
> current list: [array([ 0.88553281,  0.92494531,  0.34539655])]
>
>
> three random values: [ 0.87463742  0.49128832  0.89126926]
> current list: [array([ 0.88553281,  0.92494531,  0.34539655]), array([
> 0.87463742,  0.49128832,  0.89126926])]
>
>
> ============================
> As you can see, in the second iteration of the first method the first
> entry in the list gets overridden with the new array, and the same
> array then also get appended to that list. In the second method, the
> new array gets appended to the list and the first entry of the list
> remains as it was.
>
> Thanks for any help on this.
>
> Martin
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>
```