# Re: [R] Vectorizing a function: what does it mean?

From: David Winsemius <dwinsemius_at_comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 09 May 2011 13:31:39 -0400

> Dear all, I would really appreciate if somebody can help me to
> understand what does the phrase "Vectorize your function" mean? And
> what is the job of Vectorize() function in doing that? I have read
> many threads where experts suggest to Vectorize the function, which
> will speed up entire calculation (and more elegant ofcourse.)
>
> I used to think that vectorizing function means, to create a
> function such a way so that if input(s) are vector then this
> function will also return a vector output (without having any extra
> effort like use of 'for' loop etc.) Is this understanding correct?
>
> Here I have tried 2 essentially similar functions:
>
>> fn1 <- function(x,y,z) return(x+y+z)
>> fn2 <- Vectorize(function(x,y,z) return(x+y+z), SIMPLIFY=TRUE)
>> fn1(1:3, 4:6,5)
>  10 12 14
>> fn2(1:3, 4:6,5)
>  10 12 14
>
>
> You see that, fn1() and fn2() is giving same answer (vectorized?)
> despite of the fact that fn1() is not wrapped within Vectorize()
> function. Therefore I want to know: what additional thing this
> Vectorize() function brings on the table?

That is because you used "+" which is "vectorized" to start with. Try is with "sum" and you will not be as "happy"  > sum(a=1:3, b=4:6, cc=7:9)
 45

> Vsum <-function(...) {what <- list(...); lenlist <- length(what); y<-matrix(unlist(what), ncol=lenlist); apply(y,1,sum)}  > Vsum(a=1:3, b=4:6, cc=7:9)
 12 15 18
# Does not recycle as I might have expected, although it does recycle  > (Vsum( a=1:3, b=4:6, cc=7))
 12 8 11

> (mapply(sum, a=1:3, b=4:6, cc=7:9))
# also works and recycles as expected:  12 15 18

> (mapply(sum, a=1:3, b=4:6, cc=7))
 12 14 16

# but _not_ VSum <- Vectorize(sum) for reasons not clear to me behaves the same as sum()

>
>
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> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

David Winsemius, MD
West Hartford, CT

R-help_at_r-project.org mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Mon 09 May 2011 - 17:35:33 GMT

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