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Time Series / Date functionality

pandas has proven very successful as a tool for working with time series data, especially in the financial data analysis space. Using the NumPy datetime64 and timedelta64 dtypes, we have consolidated a large number of features from other Python libraries like scikits.timeseries as well as created a tremendous amount of new functionality for manipulating time series data.

In working with time series data, we will frequently seek to:

  • generate sequences of fixed-frequency dates and time spans
  • conform or convert time series to a particular frequency
  • compute “relative” dates based on various non-standard time increments (e.g. 5 business days before the last business day of the year), or “roll” dates forward or backward

pandas provides a relatively compact and self-contained set of tools for performing the above tasks.

Create a range of dates:

# 72 hours starting with midnight Jan 1st, 2011
In [1]: rng = pd.date_range('1/1/2011', periods=72, freq='H')

In [2]: rng[:5]
Out[2]: 
DatetimeIndex(['2011-01-01 00:00:00', '2011-01-01 01:00:00',
               '2011-01-01 02:00:00', '2011-01-01 03:00:00',
               '2011-01-01 04:00:00'],
              dtype='datetime64[ns]', freq='H')

Index pandas objects with dates:

In [3]: ts = pd.Series(np.random.randn(len(rng)), index=rng)

In [4]: ts.head()
Out[4]: 
2011-01-01 00:00:00    0.469112
2011-01-01 01:00:00   -0.282863
2011-01-01 02:00:00   -1.509059
2011-01-01 03:00:00   -1.135632
2011-01-01 04:00:00    1.212112
Freq: H, dtype: float64

Change frequency and fill gaps:

# to 45 minute frequency and forward fill
In [5]: converted = ts.asfreq('45Min', method='pad')

In [6]: converted.head()
Out[6]: 
2011-01-01 00:00:00    0.469112
2011-01-01 00:45:00    0.469112
2011-01-01 01:30:00   -0.282863
2011-01-01 02:15:00   -1.509059
2011-01-01 03:00:00   -1.135632
Freq: 45T, dtype: float64

Resample:

# Daily means
In [7]: ts.resample('D').mean()
Out[7]: 
2011-01-01   -0.319569
2011-01-02   -0.337703
2011-01-03    0.117258
Freq: D, dtype: float64

Overview

Following table shows the type of time-related classes pandas can handle and how to create them.

Class Remarks How to create
Timestamp Represents a single time stamp to_datetime, Timestamp
DatetimeIndex Index of Timestamp to_datetime, date_range, DatetimeIndex
Period Represents a single time span Period
PeriodIndex Index of Period period_range, PeriodIndex

Time Stamps vs. Time Spans

Time-stamped data is the most basic type of timeseries data that associates values with points in time. For pandas objects it means using the points in time.

In [8]: pd.Timestamp(datetime(2012, 5, 1))
Out[8]: Timestamp('2012-05-01 00:00:00')

In [9]: pd.Timestamp('2012-05-01')

© 2008–2012, AQR Capital Management, LLC, Lambda Foundry, Inc. and PyData Development Team
Licensed under the 3-clause BSD License.
http://pandas.pydata.org/pandas-docs/version/0.20.2/timeseries.html