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Sparse data structures

Note

The SparsePanel class has been removed in 0.19.0

We have implemented “sparse” versions of Series and DataFrame. These are not sparse in the typical “mostly 0”. Rather, you can view these objects as being “compressed” where any data matching a specific value (NaN / missing value, though any value can be chosen) is omitted. A special SparseIndex object tracks where data has been “sparsified”. This will make much more sense in an example. All of the standard pandas data structures have a to_sparse method:

In [1]: ts = pd.Series(randn(10))

In [2]: ts[2:-2] = np.nan

In [3]: sts = ts.to_sparse()

In [4]: sts
Out[4]: 
0    0.469112
1   -0.282863
2         NaN
3         NaN
4         NaN
5         NaN
6         NaN
7         NaN
8   -0.861849
9   -2.104569
dtype: float64
BlockIndex
Block locations: array([0, 8], dtype=int32)
Block lengths: array([2, 2], dtype=int32)

The to_sparse method takes a kind argument (for the sparse index, see below) and a fill_value. So if we had a mostly zero Series, we could convert it to sparse with fill_value=0:

In [5]: ts.fillna(0).to_sparse(fill_value=0)
Out[5]: 
0    0.469112
1   -0.282863
2    0.000000
3    0.000000
4    0.000000
5    0.000000
6    0.000000
7    0.000000
8   -0.861849
9   -2.104569
dtype: float64
BlockIndex
Block locations: array([0, 8], dtype=int32)
Block lengths: array([2, 2], dtype=int32)

The sparse objects exist for memory efficiency reasons. Suppose you had a large, mostly NA DataFrame:

In [6]: df = pd.DataFrame(randn(10000, 4))

In [7]: df.iloc[:9998] = np.nan

In [8]: sdf = df.to_sparse()

In [9]: sdf
Out[9]: 
             0         1         2         3
0          NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
1          NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
2          NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
3          NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
4          NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
5          NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
6          NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
...        ...       ...       ...       ...
9993       NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
9994       NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
9995       NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
9996       NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
9997       NaN       NaN       NaN       NaN
9998  0.509184 -0.774928 -1.369894 -0.382141
9999  0.280249 -1.648493  1.490865 -0.890819

[10000 rows x 4 columns]

In [10]: sdf.density

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Licensed under the 3-clause BSD License.
http://pandas.pydata.org/pandas-docs/version/0.20.2/sparse.html