“Large data” workflows using pandas

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I have tried to puzzle out an answer to this question for many months while learning pandas. I use SAS for my day-to-day work and it is great for it"s out-of-core support. However, SAS is horrible as a piece of software for numerous other reasons.

One day I hope to replace my use of SAS with python and pandas, but I currently lack an out-of-core workflow for large datasets. I"m not talking about "big data" that requires a distributed network, but rather files too large to fit in memory but small enough to fit on a hard-drive.

My first thought is to use HDFStore to hold large datasets on disk and pull only the pieces I need into dataframes for analysis. Others have mentioned MongoDB as an easier to use alternative. My question is this:

What are some best-practice workflows for accomplishing the following:

  1. Loading flat files into a permanent, on-disk database structure
  2. Querying that database to retrieve data to feed into a pandas data structure
  3. Updating the database after manipulating pieces in pandas

Real-world examples would be much appreciated, especially from anyone who uses pandas on "large data".

Edit -- an example of how I would like this to work:

  1. Iteratively import a large flat-file and store it in a permanent, on-disk database structure. These files are typically too large to fit in memory.
  2. In order to use Pandas, I would like to read subsets of this data (usually just a few columns at a time) that can fit in memory.
  3. I would create new columns by performing various operations on the selected columns.
  4. I would then have to append these new columns into the database structure.

I am trying to find a best-practice way of performing these steps. Reading links about pandas and pytables it seems that appending a new column could be a problem.

Edit -- Responding to Jeff"s questions specifically:

  1. I am building consumer credit risk models. The kinds of data include phone, SSN and address characteristics; property values; derogatory information like criminal records, bankruptcies, etc... The datasets I use every day have nearly 1,000 to 2,000 fields on average of mixed data types: continuous, nominal and ordinal variables of both numeric and character data. I rarely append rows, but I do perform many operations that create new columns.
  2. Typical operations involve combining several columns using conditional logic into a new, compound column. For example, if var1 > 2 then newvar = "A" elif var2 = 4 then newvar = "B". The result of these operations is a new column for every record in my dataset.
  3. Finally, I would like to append these new columns into the on-disk data structure. I would repeat step 2, exploring the data with crosstabs and descriptive statistics trying to find interesting, intuitive relationships to model.
  4. A typical project file is usually about 1GB. Files are organized into such a manner where a row consists of a record of consumer data. Each row has the same number of columns for every record. This will always be the case.
  5. It"s pretty rare that I would subset by rows when creating a new column. However, it"s pretty common for me to subset on rows when creating reports or generating descriptive statistics. For example, I might want to create a simple frequency for a specific line of business, say Retail credit cards. To do this, I would select only those records where the line of business = retail in addition to whichever columns I want to report on. When creating new columns, however, I would pull all rows of data and only the columns I need for the operations.
  6. The modeling process requires that I analyze every column, look for interesting relationships with some outcome variable, and create new compound columns that describe those relationships. The columns that I explore are usually done in small sets. For example, I will focus on a set of say 20 columns just dealing with property values and observe how they relate to defaulting on a loan. Once those are explored and new columns are created, I then move on to another group of columns, say college education, and repeat the process. What I"m doing is creating candidate variables that explain the relationship between my data and some outcome. At the very end of this process, I apply some learning techniques that create an equation out of those compound columns.

It is rare that I would ever add rows to the dataset. I will nearly always be creating new columns (variables or features in statistics/machine learning parlance).

"Large data" workflows using pandas __del__: Questions

How can I make a time delay in Python?

5 answers

I would like to know how to put a time delay in a Python script.

2973

Answer #1

import time
time.sleep(5)   # Delays for 5 seconds. You can also use a float value.

Here is another example where something is run approximately once a minute:

import time
while True:
    print("This prints once a minute.")
    time.sleep(60) # Delay for 1 minute (60 seconds).

2973

Answer #2

You can use the sleep() function in the time module. It can take a float argument for sub-second resolution.

from time import sleep
sleep(0.1) # Time in seconds

How to delete a file or folder in Python?

5 answers

How do I delete a file or folder in Python?

2639

Answer #1


Path objects from the Python 3.4+ pathlib module also expose these instance methods:

"Large data" workflows using pandas _files: Questions

How do I list all files of a directory?

5 answers

How can I list all files of a directory in Python and add them to a list?

3467

Answer #1

os.listdir() will get you everything that"s in a directory - files and directories.

If you want just files, you could either filter this down using os.path:

from os import listdir
from os.path import isfile, join
onlyfiles = [f for f in listdir(mypath) if isfile(join(mypath, f))]

or you could use os.walk() which will yield two lists for each directory it visits - splitting into files and dirs for you. If you only want the top directory you can break the first time it yields

from os import walk

f = []
for (dirpath, dirnames, filenames) in walk(mypath):
    f.extend(filenames)
    break

or, shorter:

from os import walk

filenames = next(walk(mypath), (None, None, []))[2]  # [] if no file

3467

Answer #2

I prefer using the glob module, as it does pattern matching and expansion.

import glob
print(glob.glob("/home/adam/*"))

It does pattern matching intuitively

import glob
# All files ending with .txt
print(glob.glob("/home/adam/*.txt")) 
# All files ending with .txt with depth of 2 folder
print(glob.glob("/home/adam/*/*.txt")) 

It will return a list with the queried files:

["/home/adam/file1.txt", "/home/adam/file2.txt", .... ]

3467

Answer #3

os.listdir() - list in the current directory

With listdir in os module you get the files and the folders in the current dir

 import os
 arr = os.listdir()
 print(arr)
 
 >>> ["$RECYCLE.BIN", "work.txt", "3ebooks.txt", "documents"]

Looking in a directory

arr = os.listdir("c:\files")

glob from glob

with glob you can specify a type of file to list like this

import glob

txtfiles = []
for file in glob.glob("*.txt"):
    txtfiles.append(file)

glob in a list comprehension

mylist = [f for f in glob.glob("*.txt")]

get the full path of only files in the current directory

import os
from os import listdir
from os.path import isfile, join

cwd = os.getcwd()
onlyfiles = [os.path.join(cwd, f) for f in os.listdir(cwd) if 
os.path.isfile(os.path.join(cwd, f))]
print(onlyfiles) 

["G:\getfilesname\getfilesname.py", "G:\getfilesname\example.txt"]

Getting the full path name with os.path.abspath

You get the full path in return

 import os
 files_path = [os.path.abspath(x) for x in os.listdir()]
 print(files_path)
 
 ["F:\documentiapplications.txt", "F:\documenticollections.txt"]

Walk: going through sub directories

os.walk returns the root, the directories list and the files list, that is why I unpacked them in r, d, f in the for loop; it, then, looks for other files and directories in the subfolders of the root and so on until there are no subfolders.

import os

# Getting the current work directory (cwd)
thisdir = os.getcwd()

# r=root, d=directories, f = files
for r, d, f in os.walk(thisdir):
    for file in f:
        if file.endswith(".docx"):
            print(os.path.join(r, file))

os.listdir(): get files in the current directory (Python 2)

In Python 2, if you want the list of the files in the current directory, you have to give the argument as "." or os.getcwd() in the os.listdir method.

 import os
 arr = os.listdir(".")
 print(arr)
 
 >>> ["$RECYCLE.BIN", "work.txt", "3ebooks.txt", "documents"]

To go up in the directory tree

# Method 1
x = os.listdir("..")

# Method 2
x= os.listdir("/")

Get files: os.listdir() in a particular directory (Python 2 and 3)

 import os
 arr = os.listdir("F:\python")
 print(arr)
 
 >>> ["$RECYCLE.BIN", "work.txt", "3ebooks.txt", "documents"]

Get files of a particular subdirectory with os.listdir()

import os

x = os.listdir("./content")

os.walk(".") - current directory

 import os
 arr = next(os.walk("."))[2]
 print(arr)
 
 >>> ["5bs_Turismo1.pdf", "5bs_Turismo1.pptx", "esperienza.txt"]

next(os.walk(".")) and os.path.join("dir", "file")

 import os
 arr = []
 for d,r,f in next(os.walk("F:\_python")):
     for file in f:
         arr.append(os.path.join(r,file))

 for f in arr:
     print(files)

>>> F:\_python\dict_class.py
>>> F:\_python\programmi.txt

next(os.walk("F:\") - get the full path - list comprehension

 [os.path.join(r,file) for r,d,f in next(os.walk("F:\_python")) for file in f]
 
 >>> ["F:\_python\dict_class.py", "F:\_python\programmi.txt"]

os.walk - get full path - all files in sub dirs**

x = [os.path.join(r,file) for r,d,f in os.walk("F:\_python") for file in f]
print(x)

>>> ["F:\_python\dict.py", "F:\_python\progr.txt", "F:\_python\readl.py"]

os.listdir() - get only txt files

 arr_txt = [x for x in os.listdir() if x.endswith(".txt")]
 print(arr_txt)
 
 >>> ["work.txt", "3ebooks.txt"]

Using glob to get the full path of the files

If I should need the absolute path of the files:

from path import path
from glob import glob
x = [path(f).abspath() for f in glob("F:\*.txt")]
for f in x:
    print(f)

>>> F:acquistionline.txt
>>> F:acquisti_2018.txt
>>> F:ootstrap_jquery_ecc.txt

Using os.path.isfile to avoid directories in the list

import os.path
listOfFiles = [f for f in os.listdir() if os.path.isfile(f)]
print(listOfFiles)

>>> ["a simple game.py", "data.txt", "decorator.py"]

Using pathlib from Python 3.4

import pathlib

flist = []
for p in pathlib.Path(".").iterdir():
    if p.is_file():
        print(p)
        flist.append(p)

 >>> error.PNG
 >>> exemaker.bat
 >>> guiprova.mp3
 >>> setup.py
 >>> speak_gui2.py
 >>> thumb.PNG

With list comprehension:

flist = [p for p in pathlib.Path(".").iterdir() if p.is_file()]

Alternatively, use pathlib.Path() instead of pathlib.Path(".")

Use glob method in pathlib.Path()

import pathlib

py = pathlib.Path().glob("*.py")
for file in py:
    print(file)

>>> stack_overflow_list.py
>>> stack_overflow_list_tkinter.py

Get all and only files with os.walk

import os
x = [i[2] for i in os.walk(".")]
y=[]
for t in x:
    for f in t:
        y.append(f)
print(y)

>>> ["append_to_list.py", "data.txt", "data1.txt", "data2.txt", "data_180617", "os_walk.py", "READ2.py", "read_data.py", "somma_defaltdic.py", "substitute_words.py", "sum_data.py", "data.txt", "data1.txt", "data_180617"]

Get only files with next and walk in a directory

 import os
 x = next(os.walk("F://python"))[2]
 print(x)
 
 >>> ["calculator.bat","calculator.py"]

Get only directories with next and walk in a directory

 import os
 next(os.walk("F://python"))[1] # for the current dir use (".")
 
 >>> ["python3","others"]

Get all the subdir names with walk

for r,d,f in os.walk("F:\_python"):
    for dirs in d:
        print(dirs)

>>> .vscode
>>> pyexcel
>>> pyschool.py
>>> subtitles
>>> _metaprogramming
>>> .ipynb_checkpoints

os.scandir() from Python 3.5 and greater

import os
x = [f.name for f in os.scandir() if f.is_file()]
print(x)

>>> ["calculator.bat","calculator.py"]

# Another example with scandir (a little variation from docs.python.org)
# This one is more efficient than os.listdir.
# In this case, it shows the files only in the current directory
# where the script is executed.

import os
with os.scandir() as i:
    for entry in i:
        if entry.is_file():
            print(entry.name)

>>> ebookmaker.py
>>> error.PNG
>>> exemaker.bat
>>> guiprova.mp3
>>> setup.py
>>> speakgui4.py
>>> speak_gui2.py
>>> speak_gui3.py
>>> thumb.PNG

Examples:

Ex. 1: How many files are there in the subdirectories?

In this example, we look for the number of files that are included in all the directory and its subdirectories.

import os

def count(dir, counter=0):
    "returns number of files in dir and subdirs"
    for pack in os.walk(dir):
        for f in pack[2]:
            counter += 1
    return dir + " : " + str(counter) + "files"

print(count("F:\python"))

>>> "F:\python" : 12057 files"

Ex.2: How to copy all files from a directory to another?

A script to make order in your computer finding all files of a type (default: pptx) and copying them in a new folder.

import os
import shutil
from path import path

destination = "F:\file_copied"
# os.makedirs(destination)

def copyfile(dir, filetype="pptx", counter=0):
    "Searches for pptx (or other - pptx is the default) files and copies them"
    for pack in os.walk(dir):
        for f in pack[2]:
            if f.endswith(filetype):
                fullpath = pack[0] + "\" + f
                print(fullpath)
                shutil.copy(fullpath, destination)
                counter += 1
    if counter > 0:
        print("-" * 30)
        print("	==> Found in: `" + dir + "` : " + str(counter) + " files
")

for dir in os.listdir():
    "searches for folders that starts with `_`"
    if dir[0] == "_":
        # copyfile(dir, filetype="pdf")
        copyfile(dir, filetype="txt")


>>> _compiti18Compito Contabilità 1conti.txt
>>> _compiti18Compito Contabilità 1modula4.txt
>>> _compiti18Compito Contabilità 1moduloa4.txt
>>> ------------------------
>>> ==> Found in: `_compiti18` : 3 files

Ex. 3: How to get all the files in a txt file

In case you want to create a txt file with all the file names:

import os
mylist = ""
with open("filelist.txt", "w", encoding="utf-8") as file:
    for eachfile in os.listdir():
        mylist += eachfile + "
"
    file.write(mylist)

Example: txt with all the files of an hard drive

"""
We are going to save a txt file with all the files in your directory.
We will use the function walk()
"""

import os

# see all the methods of os
# print(*dir(os), sep=", ")
listafile = []
percorso = []
with open("lista_file.txt", "w", encoding="utf-8") as testo:
    for root, dirs, files in os.walk("D:\"):
        for file in files:
            listafile.append(file)
            percorso.append(root + "\" + file)
            testo.write(file + "
")
listafile.sort()
print("N. of files", len(listafile))
with open("lista_file_ordinata.txt", "w", encoding="utf-8") as testo_ordinato:
    for file in listafile:
        testo_ordinato.write(file + "
")

with open("percorso.txt", "w", encoding="utf-8") as file_percorso:
    for file in percorso:
        file_percorso.write(file + "
")

os.system("lista_file.txt")
os.system("lista_file_ordinata.txt")
os.system("percorso.txt")

All the file of C: in one text file

This is a shorter version of the previous code. Change the folder where to start finding the files if you need to start from another position. This code generate a 50 mb on text file on my computer with something less then 500.000 lines with files with the complete path.

import os

with open("file.txt", "w", encoding="utf-8") as filewrite:
    for r, d, f in os.walk("C:\"):
        for file in f:
            filewrite.write(f"{r + file}
")

How to write a file with all paths in a folder of a type

With this function you can create a txt file that will have the name of a type of file that you look for (ex. pngfile.txt) with all the full path of all the files of that type. It can be useful sometimes, I think.

import os

def searchfiles(extension=".ttf", folder="H:\"):
    "Create a txt file with all the file of a type"
    with open(extension[1:] + "file.txt", "w", encoding="utf-8") as filewrite:
        for r, d, f in os.walk(folder):
            for file in f:
                if file.endswith(extension):
                    filewrite.write(f"{r + file}
")

# looking for png file (fonts) in the hard disk H:
searchfiles(".png", "H:\")

>>> H:4bs_18Dolphins5.png
>>> H:4bs_18Dolphins6.png
>>> H:4bs_18Dolphins7.png
>>> H:5_18marketing htmlassetsimageslogo2.png
>>> H:7z001.png
>>> H:7z002.png

(New) Find all files and open them with tkinter GUI

I just wanted to add in this 2019 a little app to search for all files in a dir and be able to open them by doubleclicking on the name of the file in the list. enter image description here

import tkinter as tk
import os

def searchfiles(extension=".txt", folder="H:\"):
    "insert all files in the listbox"
    for r, d, f in os.walk(folder):
        for file in f:
            if file.endswith(extension):
                lb.insert(0, r + "\" + file)

def open_file():
    os.startfile(lb.get(lb.curselection()[0]))

root = tk.Tk()
root.geometry("400x400")
bt = tk.Button(root, text="Search", command=lambda:searchfiles(".png", "H:\"))
bt.pack()
lb = tk.Listbox(root)
lb.pack(fill="both", expand=1)
lb.bind("<Double-Button>", lambda x: open_file())
root.mainloop()

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