python tutorial - Counters in Python | Initialization and Updation - learn python - python programming

What is counter ?
Counter is a container included in the collections module.

What is Container ?
Containers are objects that hold objects. They provide a way to access the contained objects and iterate over them. Examples of built in containers are Tuple, list and dictionary. Others are included in Collections module.

A Counter is a subclass of dict. Therefore it is an unordered collection where elements and their respective count are stored as dictionary. This is equivalent to bag or multiset of other languages.

Syntax :
class collections.Counter([iterable-or-mapping])

Initialization :
The constructor of counter can be called in any one of the following ways :

  • With sequence of items
  • With dictionary containing keys and counts
  • With keyword arguments mapping string names to counts
  • Example of each type of initialization :

    python - Sample - python code :

    # A Python program to show different ways to create
    # Counter
    from collections import Counter
    # With sequence of items 
    print Counter(['B','B','A','B','C','A','B','B','A','C'])
    # with dictionary
    print Counter({'A':3, 'B':5, 'C':2})
    # with keyword arguments
    print Counter(A=3, B=5, C=2)

    Output of all the three lines is same :

    Counter({'B': 5, 'A': 3, 'C': 2})
    Counter({'B': 5, 'A': 3, 'C': 2})
    Counter({'B': 5, 'A': 3, 'C': 2})

    Updation :
    We can also create an empty counter in the following manner :

    coun = collections.Counter()

    And can be updated via update() method .Syntax for the same :


    python - Sample - python code :

    # A Python program to demonstrate update()
    from collections import Counter
    coun = Counter()
    coun.update([1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 2])
    coun.update([1, 2, 4])

    python tutorial - Output :

    Counter({1: 4, 2: 3, 3: 1})
    Counter({1: 5, 2: 4, 3: 1, 4: 1})
    • Data can be provided in any of the three ways as mentioned in initialization and the counter’s data will be increased not replaced.
    • Counts can be zero and negative also.

    python - Sample - python code :

    # Python program to demonstrate that counts in 
    # Counter can be 0 and negative
    from collections import Counter
    c1 = Counter(A=4,  B=3, C=10)
    c2 = Counter(A=10, B=3, C=4)

    python tutorial - Output :

     Counter({'c': 6, 'B': 0, 'A': -6})
  • We can use Counter to count distinct elements of a list or other collections.
  • python - Sample - python code :

    # An example program where different list items are
    # counted using counter
    from collections import Counter
    # Create a list
    z = ['blue', 'red', 'blue', 'yellow', 'blue', 'red']
    # Count distinct elements and print Counter aboject

    python tutorial - Output :

    Counter({'blue': 3, 'red': 2, 'yellow': 1})

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