Gregor von Laszewski (

Statements and Strings

Let us explore the syntax of Python while starting with a print statement

print("Hello world from Python!")

This will print on the terminal

Hello world from Python!

The print function was given a string to process. A string is a sequence of characters. A character can be an alphabetic (A through Z, lower and upper case), numeric (any of the digits), white space (spaces, tabs, newlines, etc), syntactic directives (comma, colon, quotation, exclamation, etc), and so forth. A string is just a sequence of the character and typically indicated by surrounding the characters in double-quotes.

Standard output is discussed in the Section Linux.

So, what happened when you pressed Enter? The interactive Python program read the line print ("Hello world from Python!"), split it into the print statement and the "Hello world from Python!" string, and then executed the line, showing you the output.


Comments in Python are followed by a #:

# This is a comment


You can store data into a variable to access it later. For instance:

hello = 'Hello world from Python!'

This will print again

Hello world from Python!

Data Types


A boolean is a value that can have the values True or False. You can combine booleans with boolean operators such as and and or

print(True and True) # True
print(True and False) # False
print(False and False) # False
print(True or True) # True
print(True or False) # True
print(False or False) # False


The interactive interpreter can also be used as a calculator. For instance, say we wanted to compute a multiple of 21:

print(21 * 2) # 42

We saw here the print statement again. We passed in the result of the operation 21 * 2. An integer (or int) in Python is a numeric value without a fractional component (those are called floating point numbers, or float for short).

The mathematical operators compute the related mathematical operation to the provided numbers. Some operators are:

Operator Function

* multiplication
/ division
+ addition
- subtraction
** exponent

Exponentiation $x^y$ is written as x**y is x to the yth power.

You can combine floats and ints:

print(3.14 * 42 / 11 + 4 - 2) # 13.9890909091
print(2**3) # 8

Note that operator precedence is important. Using parenthesis to indicate affect the order of operations gives a difference results, as expected:

print(3.14 * (42 / 11) + 4 - 2) # 11.42
print(1 + 2 * 3 - 4 / 5.0) # 6.2
print( (1 + 2) * (3 - 4) / 5.0 ) # -0.6

Module Management

A module allows you to logically organize your Python code. Grouping related code into a module makes the code easier to understand and use. A module is a Python object with arbitrarily named attributes that you can bind and reference. A module is a file consisting of Python code. A module can define functions, classes, and variables. A module can also include runnable code.

Import Statement

When the interpreter encounters an import statement, it imports the module if the module is present in the search path. A search path is a list of directories that the interpreter searches before importing a module. The from…import Statement Python’s from statement lets you import specific attributes from a module into the current namespace. It is preferred to use for each import its own line such as:

import numpy
import matplotlib

When the interpreter encounters an import statement, it imports the module if the module is present in the search path. A search path is a list of directories that the interpreter searches before importing a module.

The from … import Statement

Python’s from statement lets you import specific attributes from a module into the current namespace. The from … import has the following syntax:

from datetime import datetime

Date Time in Python

The datetime module supplies classes for manipulating dates and times in both simple and complex ways. While date and time arithmetic is supported, the focus of the implementation is on efficient attribute extraction for output formatting and manipulation. For related functionality, see also the time and calendar modules.

The import Statement You can use any Python source file as a module by executing an import statement in some other Python source file.

from datetime import datetime

This module offers a generic date/time string parser which is able to parse most known formats to represent a date and/or time.

from dateutil.parser import parse

pandas is an open-source Python library for data analysis that needs to be imported.

import pandas as pd

Create a string variable with the class start time

fall_start = '08-21-2018'

Convert the string to datetime format

datetime.strptime(fall_start, '%m-%d-%Y') \#
datetime.datetime(2017, 8, 21, 0, 0)

Creating a list of strings as dates

class_dates = [

Convert Class_dates strings into datetime format and save the list into variable a

a = [datetime.strptime(x, '%m/%d/%Y') for x in class_dates]

Use parse() to attempt to auto-convert common string formats. Parser must be a string or character stream, not list.

parse(fall_start) # datetime.datetime(2017, 8, 21, 0, 0)

Use parse() on every element of the Class_dates string.

[parse(x) for x in class_dates]
# [datetime.datetime(2017, 8, 25, 0, 0),
#  datetime.datetime(2017, 9, 1, 0, 0),
#  datetime.datetime(2017, 9, 8, 0, 0),
#  datetime.datetime(2017, 9, 15, 0, 0),
#  datetime.datetime(2017, 9, 22, 0, 0),
#  datetime.datetime(2017, 9, 29, 0, 0)]

Use parse, but designate that the day is first.

parse (fall_start, dayfirst=True)
# datetime.datetime(2017, 8, 21, 0, 0)

Create a dataframe. A DataFrame is a tabular data structure comprised of rows and columns, akin to a spreadsheet, database table. DataFrame is a group of Series objects that share an index (the column names).

import pandas as pd
data = {
  'dates': [
    '8/25/2017 18:47:05.069722',
    '9/1/2017 18:47:05.119994',
    '9/8/2017 18:47:05.178768',
    '9/15/2017 18:47:05.230071',
    '9/22/2017 18:47:05.230071',
    '9/29/2017 18:47:05.280592'],
  'complete': [1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1]}
df = pd.DataFrame(
  columns = ['dates','complete'])
#                  dates  complete
#  0  8/25/2017 18:47:05.069722 1
#  1   9/1/2017 18:47:05.119994 0
#  2   9/8/2017 18:47:05.178768 1
#  3  9/15/2017 18:47:05.230071 1
#  4  9/22/2017 18:47:05.230071 0
#  5  9/29/2017 18:47:05.280592 1

Convert df[`date`] from string to datetime

import pandas as pd
# 0   2017-08-25 18:47:05.069722
# 1   2017-09-01 18:47:05.119994
# 2   2017-09-08 18:47:05.178768
# 3   2017-09-15 18:47:05.230071
# 4   2017-09-22 18:47:05.230071
# 5   2017-09-29 18:47:05.280592
# Name: dates, dtype: datetime64[ns]

Control Statements


Computer programs do not only execute instructions. Occasionally, a choice needs to be made. Such as a choice is based on a condition. Python has several conditional operators:

Operator Function

> greater than
< smaller than
== equals
!= is not

Conditions are always combined with variables. A program can make a choice using the if keyword. For example:

x = int(input("Guess x:"))
if x == 4:

In this example, You guessed correctly! will only be printed if the variable x equals four. Python can also execute multiple conditions using the elif and else keywords.

x = int(input("Guess x:"))
if x == 4:
elif abs(4 - x) == 1:
    print('Wrong, but close!')
    print('Wrong, way off!')


To repeat code, the for keyword can be used. For example, to display the numbers from 1 to 10, we could write something like this:

for i in range(1, 11):

The second argument to the range, 11, is not inclusive, meaning that the loop will only get to 10 before it finishes. Python itself starts counting from 0, so this code will also work:

for i in range(0, 10):
   print(i + 1)

In fact, the range function defaults to starting value of 0, so it is equivalent to:

for i in range(10):
   print(i + 1)

We can also nest loops inside each other:

for i in range(0,10):
    for j in range(0,10):
        print(i,' ',j)

In this case, we have two nested loops. The code will iterate over the entire coordinate range (0,0) to (9,9)




Lists in Python are ordered sequences of elements, where each element can be accessed using a 0-based index.

To define a list, you simply list its elements between square brackets ‘[ ]':

names = [
# access the first element of the list
# 'Albert'
# access the third element of the list
# 'Liz'

You can also use a negative index if you want to start counting elements from the end of the list. Thus, the last element has index -1, the second before the last element has index -2 and so on:

# access the last element of the list
# 'Abby'
# access the second last element of the list
# 'John'

Python also allows you to take whole slices of the list by specifying a beginning and end of the slice separated by a colon

# the middle elements, excluding first and last
# ['Jane', 'Liz', 'John']

As you can see from the example, the starting index in the slice is inclusive and the ending one, exclusive.

Python provides a variety of methods for manipulating the members of a list.

You can add elements with append’:

# ['Albert', 'Jane', 'Liz',
#  'John', 'Abby', 'Liz']

As you can see, the elements in a list need not be unique.

Merge two lists with ‘extend’:

names.extend(['Lindsay', 'Connor'])
# ['Albert', 'Jane', 'Liz', 'John',
#  'Abby', 'Liz', 'Lindsay', 'Connor']

Find the index of the first occurrence of an element with ‘index’:

names.index('Liz') \# 2

Remove elements by value with ‘remove’:

# ['Albert', 'Jane', 'Liz', 'John',
#  'Liz', 'Lindsay', 'Connor']

Remove elements by index with ‘pop’:

# 'Jane'
# ['Albert', 'Liz', 'John',
#  'Liz', 'Lindsay', 'Connor']

Notice that pop returns the element being removed, while remove does not.

If you are familiar with stacks from other programming languages, you can use insert and ‘pop’:

names.insert(0, 'Lincoln')
# ['Lincoln', 'Albert', 'Liz',
#  'John', 'Liz', 'Lindsay', 'Connor']
# 'Connor'
# ['Lincoln', 'Albert', 'Liz',
#  'John', 'Liz', 'Lindsay']

The Python documentation contains a full list of list operations.

To go back to the range function you used earlier, it simply creates a list of numbers:

# [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]
range(2, 10, 2)
# [2, 4, 6, 8]


Python lists can contain duplicates as you saw previously:

names = ['Albert', 'Jane', 'Liz',
         'John', 'Abby', 'Liz']

When we do not want this to be the case, we can use a set:

unique_names = set(names)
# set(['Lincoln', 'John', 'Albert', 'Liz', 'Lindsay'])

Keep in mind that the set is an unordered collection of objects, thus we can not access them by index:

# Traceback (most recent call last):
#   File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
#   TypeError: 'set' object does not support indexing

However, we can convert a set to a list easily:

unique_names = list(unique_names)
unique_names [`Lincoln', `John', `Albert', `Liz', `Lindsay']
# `Lincoln'

Notice that in this case, the order of elements in the new list matches the order in which the elements were displayed when we create the set. We had

set(['Lincoln', 'John', 'Albert', 'Liz', 'Lindsay'])

and now we have

['Lincoln', 'John', 'Albert', 'Liz', 'Lindsay'])

You should not assume this is the case in general. That is, do not make any assumptions about the order of elements in a set when it is converted to any type of sequential data structure.

You can change a set’s contents using the add, remove and update methods which correspond to the append, remove and extend methods in a list. In addition to these, set objects support the operations you may be familiar with from mathematical sets: union, intersection, difference, as well as operations to check containment. You can read about this in the Python documentation for sets.

Removal and Testing for Membership in Sets

One important advantage of a set over a list is that access to elements is fast. If you are familiar with different data structures from a Computer Science class, the Python list is implemented by an array, while the set is implemented by a hash table.

We will demonstrate this with an example. Let us say we have a list and a set of the same number of elements (approximately 100 thousand):

import sys, random, timeit
nums_set = set([random.randint(0, sys.maxint) for _ in range(10**5)])
nums_list = list(nums_set)
# 100000

We will use the timeit Python module to time 100 operations that test for the existence of a member in either the list or set:

timeit.timeit('random.randint(0, sys.maxint) in nums',
              setup='import random; nums=%s' % str(nums_set), number=100)
# 0.0004038810729980469
timeit.timeit('random.randint(0, sys.maxint) in nums',
              setup='import random; nums=%s' % str(nums_list), number=100)
# 0.398054122924804

The exact duration of the operations on your system will be different, but the takeaway will be the same: searching for an element in a set is orders of magnitude faster than in a list. This is important to keep in mind when you work with large amounts of data.


One of the very important data structures in python is a dictionary also referred to as dict.

A dictionary represents a key value store:

computer = {
  'name': 'mycomputer',
  'memory': 16,
  'kind': 'Laptop'
print("computer['name']: ", computer['name'])
# computer['name']:  mycomputer
print("computer['memory']: ", computer['memory'])
# computer['Age']:  16

A convenient for to print by named attributes is

print("{name} {memory}'.format(**computer))

This form of printing with the format statement and a reference to data increases the readability of the print statements.

You can delete elements with the following commands:

del computer['name'] # remove entry with key 'name'
# computer
computer.clear()     # remove all entries in dict
# computer
del computer         # delete entire dictionary
# computer
# Traceback (most recent call last):
#  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
#  NameError: name 'computer' is not defined

You can iterate over a dict:

computer = {
  'name': 'mycomputer',
  'memory': 16,
  'kind': 'Laptop'
for item in computer:
  print(item, computer[item])

# name mycomputer
# memory 16
# kind laptop

Dictionary Keys and Values

You can retrieve both the keys and values of a dictionary using the keys() and values() methods of the dictionary, respectively:

computer.keys() # ['name', 'memory', 'kind']
computer.values() # ['mycomputer', 'memory', 'kind']

Both methods return lists. Please remember howver that the keys and order in which the elements are returned are not necessarily the same. It is important to keep this in mind:

*You cannot


make any assumptions about the order in which the elements of a dictionary will be returned by the keys() and values() methods*.

However, you can assume that if you call keys() and values() in sequence, the order of elements will at least correspond in both methods.

Counting with Dictionaries

One application of dictionaries that frequently comes up is counting the elements in a sequence. For example, say we have a sequence of coin flips:

import random
die_rolls = [
  random.choice(['heads', 'tails']) for _ in range(10)
# die_rolls
# ['heads', 'tails', 'heads',
#  'tails', 'heads', 'heads',
   'tails', 'heads', 'heads', 'heads']

The actual list die_rolls will likely be different when you execute this on your computer since the outcomes of the die rolls are random.

To compute the probabilities of heads and tails, we could count how many heads and tails we have in the list:

counts = {'heads': 0, 'tails': 0}
for outcome in die_rolls:
   assert outcome in counts
   counts[outcome] += 1
print('Probability of heads: %.2f' % (counts['heads'] / len(die_rolls)))
# Probability of heads: 0.70

print('Probability of tails: %.2f' % (counts['tails'] / sum(counts.values())))
# Probability of tails: 0.30

In addition to how we use the dictionary counts to count the elements of coin_flips, notice a couple of things about this example:

  1. We used the assert outcome in the count statement. The assert statement in Python allows you to easily insert debugging statements in your code to help you discover errors more quickly. assert statements are executed whenever the internal Python __debug__ variable is set to True, which is always the case unless you start Python with the -O option which allows you to run optimized Python.

  2. When we computed the probability of tails, we used the built-in sum function, which allowed us to quickly find the total number of coin flips. The sum is one of many built-in functions you can read about here.


You can reuse code by putting it inside a function that you can call in other parts of your programs. Functions are also a good way of grouping code that logically belongs together in one coherent whole. A function has a unique name in the program. Once you call a function, it will execute its body which consists of one or more lines of code:

def check_triangle(a, b, c):
return \
    a < b + c and a > abs(b - c) and \
    b < a + c and b > abs(a - c) and \
    c < a + b and c > abs(a - b)

    print(check_triangle(4, 5, 6))

The def keyword tells Python we are defining a function. As part of the definition, we have the function name, check_triangle, and the parameters of the function – variables that will be populated when the function is called.

We call the function with arguments 4, 5, and 6, which are passed in order into the parameters a, b, and c. A function can be called several times with varying parameters. There is no limit to the number of function calls.

It is also possible to store the output of a function in a variable, so it can be reused.

def check_triangle(a, b, c):
  return \
     a < b + c and a > abs(b - c) and \
     b < a + c and b > abs(a - c) and \
     c < a + b and c > abs(a - b)

    result = check_triangle(4, 5, 6)


A class is an encapsulation of data and the processes that work on them. The data is represented in member variables, and the processes are defined in the methods of the class (methods are functions inside the class). For example, let’s see how to define a Triangle class:

class Triangle(object):

  def __init__(self, length, width,
               height, angle1, angle2, angle3):
     if not self._sides_ok(length, width, height):
         print('The sides of the triangle are invalid.')
     elif not self._angles_ok(angle1, angle2, angle3):
         print('The angles of the triangle are invalid.')

     self._length = length
     self._width = width
     self._height = height

     self._angle1 = angle1
     self._angle2 = angle2
     self._angle3 = angle3

 def _sides_ok(self, a, b, c):
     return \
         a < b + c and a > abs(b - c) and \
         b < a + c and b > abs(a - c) and \
         c < a + b and c > abs(a - b)

 def _angles_ok(self, a, b, c):
     return a + b + c == 180

triangle = Triangle(4, 5, 6, 35, 65, 80)

Python has full object-oriented programming (OOP) capabilities, however we can not cover all of them in this section, so if you need more information please refer to the Python docs on classes and OOP.


Now write this simple program and save it:

print("Hello Cloud!")

As a check, make sure the file contains the expected contents on the command line:

$ cat
print("Hello Cloud!")

To execute your program pass the file as a parameter to the python command:

$ python
Hello Cloud!

Files in which Python code is stored are called modules. You can execute a Python module from the command line like you just did, or you can import it in other Python code using the import statement.

Let us write a more involved Python program that will receive as input the lengths of the three sides of a triangle, and will output whether they define a valid triangle. A triangle is valid if the length of each side is less than the sum of the lengths of the other two sides and greater than the difference of the lengths of the other two sides.:


Check if a triangle is valid.

  LENGTH     The length of the triangle.
  WIDTH      The width of the triangle.
  HEIGHT     The height of the triangle.

-h --help
from docopt import docopt

if __name__ == '__main__':
  arguments = docopt(__doc__)
  a, b, c = int(arguments['LENGTH']),
  valid_triangle = \
      a < b + c and a > abs(b - c) and \
      b < a + c and b > abs(a - c) and \
      c < a + b and c > abs(a - b)
  print('Triangle with sides %d, %d and %d is valid: %r' % (
      a, b, c, valid_triangle

Assuming we save the program in a file called, we can run it like so:

$ python 4 5 6
Triangle with sides 4, 5, and 6 is valid: True

Let us break this down a bit.

  1. We’ve defined a boolean expression that tells us if the sides that were input define a valid triangle. The result of the expression is stored in the valid_triangle variable. inside are true, and False otherwise.
  2. We’ve used the backslash symbol \ to format our code nicely. The backslash simply indicates that the current line is being continued on the next line.
  3. When we run the program, we do the check if __name__ == '__main__'. __name__ is an internal Python variable that allows us to tell whether the current file is being run from the command line (value __name__), or is being imported by a module (the value will be the name of the module). Thus, with this statement, we arre just making sure the program is being run by the command line.
  4. We are using the docopt module to handle command line arguments. The advantage of using this module is that it generates a usage help statement for the program and enforces command line arguments automatically. All of this is done by parsing the docstring at the top of the file.
  5. In the print function, we are using Python’s string formatting capabilities to insert values into the string we are displaying.

Lambda Expressions

As opposed to normal functions in Python which are defined using the def keyword, lambda functions in Python are anonymous functions that do not have a name and are defined using the lambda keyword. The generic syntax of a lambda function is in the form of lambda arguments: expression, as shown in the following example:

greeter = lambda x: print('Hello %s!'%x)

As you could probably guess, the result is:

Hello Albert!

Now consider the following examples:

power2 = lambda x: x ** 2

The power2 function defined in the expression, is equivalent to the following definition:

def power2(x):
    return x ** 2

Lambda functions are useful when you need a function for a short period. Note that they can also be very useful when passed as an argument with other built-in functions that take a function as an argument, e.g. filter() and map(). In the next example, we show how a lambda function can be combined with the filer function. Consider the array all_names which contains five words that rhyme together. We want to filter the words that contain the word name. To achieve this, we pass the function lambda x: 'name' in x as the first argument. This lambda function returns True if the word name exists as a substring in the string x. The second argument of filter function is the array of names, i.e. all_names.

all_names = ['surname', 'rename', 'nickname', 'acclaims', 'defame']
filtered_names = list(filter(lambda x: 'name' in x, all_names))
# ['surname', 'rename', 'nickname']

As you can see, the names are successfully filtered as we expected.

In Python, the filter function returns a filter object or the iterator which gets lazily evaluated which means neither we can access the elements of the filter object with index nor we can use len() to find the length of the filter object.

list_a = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
filter_obj = filter(lambda x: x % 2 == 0, list_a)
# Convert the filer obj to a list
even_num = list(filter_obj)
# Output: [2, 4]

In Python, we can have a small usually a single linear anonymous function called Lambda function which can have any number of arguments just like a normal function but with only one expression with no return statement. The result of this expression can be applied to a value.

Basic Syntax:

lambda arguments : expression

For example, a function in python

def multiply(a, b):
   return a*b

#call the function
multiply(3*5) #outputs: 15

The same function can be written as Lambda function. This function named as multiply is having 2 arguments and returns their multiplication.

Lambda equivalent for this function would be:

multiply = Lambda a, b : a*b

print(multiply(3, 5))
# outputs: 15

Here a and b are the 2 arguments and a*b is the expression whose value is returned as an output.

Also, we don’t need to assign the Lambda function to a variable.

(lambda a, b : a*b)(3*5)

Lambda functions are mostly passed as a parameter to a function which expects a function objects like in map or filter.


The basic syntax of the map function is

map(function_object, iterable1, iterable2,...)

map functions expect a function object and any number of iterable like a list or dictionary. It executes the function_object for each element in the sequence and returns a list of the elements modified by the function object.


def multiply(x):
   return x * 2

map(multiply2, [2, 4, 6, 8])
# Output [4, 8, 12, 16]

If we want to write the same function using Lambda

map(lambda x: x*2, [2, 4, 6, 8])
# Output [4, 8, 12, 16]


Now, let us see how we can iterate over a dictionary using map and lambda Let us say we have a dictionary object

dict_movies = [
    {'movie': 'avengers', 'comic': 'marvel'},
    {'movie': 'superman', 'comic': 'dc'}]

We can iterate over this dictionary and read the elements of it using map and lambda functions in following way:

map(lambda x : x['movie'], dict_movies)  # Output: ['avengers', 'superman']
map(lambda x : x['comic'],  dict_movies)  # Output: ['marvel', 'dc']
map(lambda x : x['movie'] == "avengers", dict_movies)
# Output: [True, False]

In Python3, map function returns an iterator or map object which gets lazily evaluated which means neither we can access the elements of the map object with index nor we can use len() to find the length of the map object. We can force convert the map output i.e. the map object to list as shown next:

map_output = map(lambda x: x*2, [1, 2, 3, 4])
# Output: map object: <map object at 0x04D6BAB0>
list_map_output = list(map_output)
print(list_map_output) # Output: [2, 4, 6, 8]


In Python, an iterator protocol is defined using two methods: __iter()__ and next(). The former returns the iterator object and latter returns the next element of a sequence. Some advantages of iterators are as follows:

  • Readability
  • Supports sequences of infinite length
  • Saving resources

There are several built-in objects in Python which implement iterator protocol, e.g. string, list, dictionary. In the following example, we create a new class that follows the iterator protocol. We then use the class to generate log2 of numbers:

from math import log2

class LogTwo:
    "Implements an iterator of log two"

    def __init__(self,last = 0):
        self.last = last

    def __iter__(self):
        self.current_num = 1
        return self

    def __next__(self):
        if self.current_num <= self.last:
            result = log2(self.current_num)
            self.current_num += 1
            return result
            raise StopIteration

L = LogTwo(5)
i = iter(L)

As you can see, we first create an instance of the class and assign its __iter()__ function to a variable called i. Then by calling the next() function four times, we get the following output:

$ python

As you probably noticed, the lines are log2() of 1, 2, 3, 4 respectively.


Before we go to Generators, please understand Iterators. Generators are also Iterators but they can only be iterated over once. That is because generators do not store the values in memory instead they generate the values on the go. If we want to print those values then we can either simply iterate over them or use the for loop.

Generators with function

For example, we have a function named as multiplyBy10 which prints all the input numbers multiplied by 10.

def multiplyBy10(numbers):
   result = []
   for i in numbers:
   return result

new_numbers = multiplyBy10([1,2,3,4,5])

print new_numbers  #Output: [10, 20, 30, 40 ,50]

Now, if we want to use Generators here then we will make the following changes.

def multiplyBy10(numbers):
   for i in numbers:

new_numbers = multiplyBy10([1,2,3,4,5])

print new_numbers  #Output: Generators object

In Generators, we use yield() function in place of return(). So when we try to print new_numbers list now, it just prints Generators object. The reason for this is because Generators do not hold any value in memory, it yields one result at a time. So essentially it is just waiting for us to ask for the next result. To print the next result we can just say print next(new_numbers) , so how it is working is its reading the first value and squaring it and yielding out value 1. Also in this case, we can just print next(new_numbers) 5 times to print all numbers and if we do it for the 6th time then we will get an error StopIteration which means Generators has exhausted its limit and it has no 6th element to print.

print next(new_numbers)  #Output: 1

Generators using for loop

If we now want to print the complete list of squared values then we can just do:

def multiplyBy10(numbers):
   for i in numbers:

new_numbers = multiplyBy10([1,2,3,4,5])

for num in new_numbers:
   print num

The output will be:


Generators with List Comprehension

Python has something called List Comprehension, if we use this then we can replace the complete function def with just:

new_numbers = [x*10 for x in [1,2,3,4,5]]
print new_numbers  #Output: [10, 20, 30, 40 ,50]

Here the point to note is square brackets [] in line 1 is very important. If we change it to () then again we will start getting Generators object.

new_numbers = (x*10 for x in [1,2,3,4,5])
print new_numbers  #Output: Generators object

We can get the individual elements again from Generators if we do a for loop over new_numbers, as we did previously. Alternatively, we can convert it into a list and then print it.

new_numbers = (x*10 for x in [1,2,3,4,5])
print list(new_numbers)  #Output: [10, 20, 30, 40 ,50]

But here if we convert this into a list then we lose on performance, which we will just see next.

Why use Generators?

Generators are better with Performance because it does not hold the values in memory and here with the small examples we provide it is not a big deal since we are dealing with a small amount of data but just consider a scenario where the records are in millions of data set. And if we try to convert millions of data elements into a list then that will make an impact on memory and performance because everything will in memory.

Let us see an example of how Generators help in Performance. First, without Generators, normal function taking 1 million records and returns the result[people] for 1 million.

names = ['John', 'Jack', 'Adam', 'Steve', 'Rick']
majors = ['Math',

# prints the memory before we run the function
memory = mem_profile.memory_usage_resource()
print (f'Memory (Before): {memory}Mb')

def people_list(people):
   result = []
   for i in range(people):
      person = {
            'id' : i,
            'name' : random.choice(names),
            'major' : randon.choice(majors)
   return result

t1 = time.clock()
people = people_list(10000000)
t2 = time.clock()

# prints the memory after we run the function
memory = mem_profile.memory_usage_resource()
print (f'Memory (After): {memory}Mb')
print ('Took {time} seconds'.format(time=t2-t1))

Memory (Before): 15Mb
Memory (After): 318Mb
Took 1.2 seconds

I am just giving approximate values to compare it with the next execution but we just try to run it we will see a serious consumption of memory with a good amount of time taken.

names = ['John', 'Jack', 'Adam', 'Steve', 'Rick']
majors = ['Math',

# prints the memory before we run the function
memory = mem_profile.memory_usage_resource()
print (f'Memory (Before): {memory}Mb')
def people_generator(people):
   for i in xrange(people):
      person = {
            'id' : i,
            'name' : random.choice(names),
            'major' : randon.choice(majors)
      yield person

t1 = time.clock()
people = people_list(10000000)
t2 = time.clock()

# prints the memory after we run the function
memory = mem_profile.memory_usage_resource()
print (f'Memory (After): {memory}Mb')
print ('Took {time} seconds'.format(time=t2-t1))

Memory (Before): 15Mb
Memory (After): 15Mb
Took 0.01 seconds

Now after running the same code using Generators, we will see a significant amount of performance boost with almost 0 Seconds. And the reason behind this is that in the case of Generators, we do not keep anything in memory so the system just reads 1 at a time and yields that.

Last modified June 20, 2021 : spelling (d59b3b2d)