# Comparison with R’s data.table¶

datatable is closely related to R’s data.table and attempts to mimic its API; however, there are differences due to language constraints.

This page shows how to perform similar basic operations in R’s data.table versus datatable.

## Subsetting Rows¶

The examples used here are from the examples data in R’s data.table.

library(data.table) DT = data.table(x=rep(c("b","a","c"),each=3), y=c(1,3,6), v=1:9) 
from datatable import dt, f, g, by, update, join, sort DT = dt.Frame(x = ["b"]*3 + ["a"]*3 + ["c"]*3, y = [1, 3, 6] * 3, v = range(1, 10)) DT 
xyv
str32int32int32
0b11
1b32
2b63
3a14
4a35
5a66
6c17
7c38
8c69

Action

data.table

datatable

Select 2nd row

DT

DT[1, :]

Select 2nd and 3rd row

DT[2:3]

DT[1:3, :]

Select 3rd and 2nd row

DT[3:2]

DT[[2,1], :]

Select 2nd and 5th rows

DT[c(2,5)]

DT[[1,4], :]

Select all rows from 2nd to 5th

DT[2:5]

DT[[1:5, :]

Select rows in reverse from 5th to the 1st

DT[5:1]

DT[4::-1, :]

Select the last row

DT[.N]

DT[-1, :]

All rows where y > 2

DT[y>2]

DT[f.y>2, :]

Compound logical expressions

DT[y>2 & v>5]

DT[(f.y>2) & (f.v>5), :]

All rows other than rows 2,3,4

DT[!2:4] or DT[-(2:4)]

DT[[0, slice(4, None)], :]

Sort by column x, ascending

DT[order(x), ]

DT.sort("x") or
DT[:, :, sort("x")]

Sort by column x, descending

DT[order(-x)]

DT.sort(-f.x) or
DT[:, :, sort(-f.x)]

Sort by column x ascending, y descending

DT[order(x, -y)]

DT.sort(x, -f.y) or
DT[:, :, sort(f.x, -f.y)]

Note

Note the use of the f symbol when performing computations or sorting in descending order. You can read more about f-expressions.

Note

In R, DT would mean 2nd row, whereas in python DT would select the 3rd column.

In data.table, when selecting rows you do not need to indicate the columns. So, something like the code below works fine:

# data.table DT[y==3] x y v 1: b 3 2 2: a 3 5 3: c 3 8 

In datatable, however, when selecting rows there has to be a column selector, or you get an error:

DT[f.y == 3] 
TypeError: Column selector must be an integer or a string, not <class 'datatable.FExpr'>

The code above fails because datatable only allows single-column selection using the style above:

DT['y'] 
y
int32
01
13
26
31
43
56
61
73
86

As such, when datatable sees an f-expressions, it thinks you are selecting a column, and appropriately errors out.

Since, in this case, we are selecting all columns, we can use either a colon (:) or the Ellipsis symbol(...):

DT[f.y==3, :] DT[f.y==3, ...] 

## Selecting columns¶

Action

data.table

datatable

Select column v

DT[, .(v)]

DT[:, 'v'] or DT['v']

Select multiple columns

DT[, .(x,v)]

DT[:, ['x', 'v']]

Rename and select column

DT[, .(m = x)]

DT[:, {"m" : f.x}]

Sum column v and rename as sv

DT[, .(sv=sum(v))]

DT[:, {"sv": dt.sum(f.v)}]

Return two columns, v and v doubled

DT[, .(v, v*2)]

DT[:, [f.v, f.v*2]]

Select the second column

DT[, 2]

DT[:, 1] or DT

Select last column

DT[, ncol(DT), with=FALSE]

DT[:, -1]

Select columns x through y

DT[, .SD, .SDcols=x:y]

DT[:, f["x":"y"]] or DT[:, 'x':'y']

Exclude columns x and y

DT[ , .SD, .SDcols = !x:y]

DT[:, [name not in ("x","y")
for name in DT.names]] or
DT[:, f[:].remove(f['x':'y'])]

Select columns that start with x or v

DT[ , .SD, .SDcols = patterns('^[xv]')]

DT[:, [name.startswith(("x", "v"))
for name in DT.names]]

In data.table, you can select a column by using a variable name with the double dots prefix:

col = 'v' DT[, ..col] 

In datatable, you do not need the prefix:

col = 'v' DT[:, col] # or DT[col] 
v
float64
01
11.41421
21.73205
32
42.23607
52.44949
62.64575
72.82843
83

If the column names are stored in a character vector, the double dots prefix also works:

cols = c('v', 'y') DT[, ..cols] 

In datatable, you can store the list/tuple of column names in a variable

cols = ['v', 'y'] DT[:, cols] 
vy
float64float64
011
11.414211.73205
21.732052.44949
321
42.236071.73205
52.449492.44949
62.645751
72.828431.73205
832.44949

## Subset rows and Select/Aggregate¶

Action

data.table

datatable

Sum column v over rows 2 and 3

DT[2:3, .(sum(v))]

DT[1:3, dt.sum(f.v)]

Same as above, new column name

DT[2:3, .(sv=sum(v))]

DT[1:3, {"sv": dt.sum(f.v)}]

Filter in i and aggregate in j

DT[x=="b", .(sum(v*y))]

DT[f.x=="b", dt.sum(f.v * f.y)]

Same as above, return as scalar

DT[x=="b", sum(v*y)]

DT[f.x=="b", dt.sum(f.v * f.y)][0, 0]

In R indexing starts at 1 and when slicing, the first and the last items are both included. However, in Python, indexing starts at 0, and when slicing all items except the last are included.

Some SD (Subset of Data) operations can be replicated in datatable

### Aggregate several columns¶

DT[, lapply(.SD, mean), .SDcols = c("y","v")] y v 1: 3.333333 5 
DT[:, dt.mean([f.y,f.v])] 
yv
float64float64
03.333335

### Modify columns using a condition¶

DT[, .SD - 1, .SDcols = is.numeric] y v 1: 0 0 2: 2 1 3: 5 2 4: 0 3 5: 2 4 6: 5 5 7: 0 6 8: 2 7 9: 5 8 
DT[:, f[int] - 1] 
C0C1
int32int32
000
121
252
303
424
555
606
727
858

### Modify several columns and keep others unchanged¶

DT[, c("y", "v") := lapply(.SD, sqrt), .SDcols = c("y", "v")] x y v 1: b 1.000000 1.000000 2: b 1.732051 1.414214 3: b 2.449490 1.732051 4: a 1.000000 2.000000 5: a 1.732051 2.236068 6: a 2.449490 2.449490 7: c 1.000000 2.645751 8: c 1.732051 2.828427 9: c 2.449490 3.000000 
# there is a square root function the datatable math module DT[:, update(**{name:f[name]**0.5 for name in ("y","v")})] DT 
xyv
str32float64float64
0b11
1b1.732051.41421
2b2.449491.73205
3a12
4a1.732052.23607
5a2.449492.44949
6c12.64575
7c1.732052.82843
8c2.449493

## Grouping with by()¶

Action

data.table

datatable

Get the sum of column v grouped by column x

DT[, sum(v), by=x]

DT[:, dt.sum(f.v), by('x')]

Get sum of v where x != a

DT[x!="a", sum(v), by=x]

DT[f.x!="a", :][:, dt.sum(f.v), by("x")]

Number of rows per group

DT[, .N, by=x]

DT[:, dt.count(), by("x")]

Select first row of y and v for each group in x

DT[, .SD, by=x]

DT[0, :, by('x')]

Get row count and sum columns v and y by group

DT[, c(.N, lapply(.SD, sum)), by=x]

DT[:, [dt.count(), dt.sum(f[:])], by("x")]

Expressions in by()

DT[, sum(v), by=.(y%%2)]

DT[:, dt.sum(f.v), by(f.y%2)]

Get row per group where column v is minimum

DT[, .SD[which.min(v)], by=x]

DT[0, f[:], by("x"), dt.sort(f.v)]

First 2 rows of each group

DT[, head(.SD,2), by=x]

DT[:2, :, by("x")]

Last 2 rows of each group

DT[, tail(.SD,2), by=x]

DT[-2:, :, by("x")]

In R’s data.table, the order of the groupings is preserved; in datatable, the returned dataframe is sorted on the grouping column. DT[, sum(v), keyby=x] in data.table returns a dataframe ordered by column x.

In data.table, i is executed before the grouping, while in datatable, i is executed after the grouping.

Also, in datatable, f-expressions in the i section of a groupby is not yet implemented, hence the chaining method to get the sum of column v where x!=a.

Multiple aggregations within a group can be executed in R’s data.table with the syntax below:

DT[, list(MySum=sum(v), MyMin=min(v), MyMax=max(v)), by=.(x, y%%2)] 

The same can be replicated in datatable by using a dictionary:

DT[:, {'MySum': dt.sum(f.v), 'MyMin': dt.min(f.v), 'MyMax': dt.max(f.v)}, by(f.x, f.y%2)] 

Action

data.table

datatable

DT[, z:=42L]

DT[:, update(z=42)] or
DT['z'] = 42 or
DT[:, 'z'] = 42 or
DT = DT[:, f[:].extend({"z":42})]

DT[, c('sv','mv') := .(sum(v), "X")]

DT[:, update(sv = dt.sum(f.v), mv = "X")] or
DT[:, f[:].extend({"sv": dt.sum(f.v), "mv": "X"})]

Remove column

DT[, z:=NULL]

del DT['z'] or
del DT[:, 'z'] or
DT = DT[:, f[:].remove(f.z)]

Subassign to existing v column

DT["a", v:=42L, on="x"]

DT[f.x=="a", update(v=42)] or
DT[f.x=="a", 'v'] = 42

Subassign to new column (NA padded)

DT["b", v2:=84L, on="x"]

DT[f.x=="b", update(v2=84)] or
DT[f.x=='b', 'v2'] = 84

Add new column, assigning values group-wise

DT[, m:=mean(v), by=x]

DT[:, update(m=dt.mean(f.v)), by("x")]

In data.table, you can create a new column with a variable

col = 'rar' DT[, ..col:=4242] 

Similar operation for the above in datatable:

col = 'rar' DT[col] = 4242 # or DT[:, update(col = 4242)] 

Note

The update() function, as well as the del operator operate in-place; there is no need for reassignment. Another advantage of the update() method is that the row order of the dataframe is not changed, even in a groupby; this comes in handy in a lot of transformation operations.

## Joins¶

At the moment, only the left outer join is implemented in datatable. Another aspect is that the dataframe being joined must be keyed, the column or columns to be keyed must not have duplicates, and the joining column has to have the same name in both dataframes. You can read more about the join() API and have a look at the Tutorial on join operators.

Left join in R’s data.table:

DT = data.table(x=rep(c("b","a","c"),each=3), y=c(1,3,6), v=1:9) X = data.table(x=c("c","b"), v=8:7, foo=c(4,2)) X[DT, on="x"] x v foo y i.v 1: b 7 2 1 1 2: b 7 2 3 2 3: b 7 2 6 3 4: a NA NA 1 4 5: a NA NA 3 5 6: a NA NA 6 6 7: c 8 4 1 7 8: c 8 4 3 8 9: c 8 4 6 9 

Join in datatable:

DT = dt.Frame(x = ["b"]*3 + ["a"]*3 + ["c"]*3, y = [1, 3, 6] * 3, v = range(1, 10)) X = dt.Frame({"x":('c','b'), "v":(8,7), "foo":(4,2)}) X.key = "x" DT[:, :, join(X)] 
xyvv.0foo
str32int32int32int32int32
0b1172
1b3272
2b6372
3a14NANA
4a35NANA
5a66NANA
6c1784
7c3884
8c6984

An inner join could be simulated by removing the nulls. Again, a join() only works if the joining dataframe is keyed.

DT[X, on="x", nomatch=NULL] x y v i.v foo 1: c 1 7 8 4 2: c 3 8 8 4 3: c 6 9 8 4 4: b 1 1 7 2 5: b 3 2 7 2 6: b 6 3 7 2 
DT[g[-1] != None, :, join(X)] # g refers to the joining dataframe X 
xyvv.0foo
str32int32int32int32int32
0b1172
1b3272
2b6372
3c1784
4c3884
5c6984

A not join can be simulated as well:

DT[!X, on="x"] x y v 1: a 1 4 2: a 3 5 3: a 6 6 
DT[g[-1]==None, f[:], join(X)] 
xyv
str32int32int32
0a14
1a35
2a66

Select the first row for each group:

DT[X, on="x", mult="first"] x y v i.v foo 1: c 1 7 8 4 2: b 1 1 7 2 
DT[g[-1] != None, :, join(X)][0, :, by('x')] # chaining comes in handy here 
xyvv.0foo
str32int32int32int32int32
0b1172
1c1784

Select the last row for each group:

DT[X, on="x", mult="last"] x y v i.v foo 1: c 6 9 8 4 2: b 6 3 7 2 
DT[g[-1]!=None, :, join(X)][-1, :, by('x')] 
xyvv.0foo
str32int32int32int32int32
0b6372
1c6984

Join and evaluate j for each row in i:

DT[X, sum(v), by=.EACHI, on="x"] x V1 1: c 24 2: b 6 
DT[g[-1]!=None, :, join(X)][:, dt.sum(f.v), by("x")] 
xv
str32int64
0b6
1c24

Aggregate on columns from both dataframes in j:

DT[X, sum(v)*foo, by=.EACHI, on="x"] x V1 1: c 96 2: b 12 
DT[:, dt.sum(f.v*g.foo), join(X), by(f.x)][f[-1]!=0, :] 
xC0
str32int64
0b12
1c96

Aggregate on columns with same name from both dataframes in j:

DT[X, sum(v)*i.v, by=.EACHI, on="x"] x V1 1: c 192 2: b 42 
DT[:, dt.sum(f.v*g.v), join(X), by(f.x)][f[-1]!=0, :] 
xC0
str32int64
0b42
1c192

Expect significant improvement in join functionality, with more concise syntax, as well as additions of more features in the future.

## Functions in R/data.table not yet implemented¶

This is a list of some functions in data.table that do not have an equivalent in datatable yet, that we would likely implement

• Reshaping functions

• Convenience functions for filtering and subsetting

• Duplicate functions

• duplicated

• unique in data.table returns unique rows, while unique() in datatable returns a single column of unique values in the entire dataframe.

• Aggregation functions

• Missing values functions

Also, at the moment, custom aggregations in the j section are not supported in datatable – we intend to implement that at some point.

There are no datetime functions in datatable, and string operations are limited as well.

If there are any functions that you would like to see in datatable, please head over to github and raise a feature request.