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Re: Storing and Loading Definitions / Emulating Associative Arrays


> I have a routine that calculates some sequence of numbers. The
> calculation takes very long, so I would like to store the results in a
> file.
> What I would like to do is to pack the data, together with the
> parameters of its generation, into some sort of associative array.
> Since I couldn't find such a thing in Mathematica, I came up with the
> idea of using definitions instead:
> f[seed_, p_, n_] = (* Complicated computation *) {2,4,4};
> data[source] = "simulation";
> data[seed] = 42;
> data[parameters] = {12, 0};
> data[values] = f[data[seed], Sequence @@ data[parameters]]
> Now I would like to (somehow) store this set of definitions:
> Write[stream, something[data]]
> and later load it again, possibly with a different name
> data2 = Read[stream]

If I correctly understand whay you are trying to doe, I think you could
do something along the following lines:

(* beginning of code *)

data["data"] = RandomReal[{0, 1}, {100}]
data["name"] = "random numbers"
data["length"] = 100
data["max"] = Max[data["data"]]

 Function @@ {{data}, DownValues[data]},
 ToFileName[{$HomeDirectory, "Desktop"}, "tst.m"]

FilePrint[ToFileName[{$HomeDirectory, "Desktop"}, "tst.m"]]


DownValues[newdata] =
 Get[ToFileName[{$HomeDirectory, "Desktop"}, "tst.m"]][newdata]


(* end of code *)

this assumes that everything associated with data sits in its
DownValues. You should also be aware that data will of course be
replaced everywhere in the loaded expression with newdata (that is also
in the RHS), so you need to take care that this causes no problems. You
will also recognize that I used strings instead of symbols for the
"keys" of data, which I would strongly recommend because it will save
you from running into problems with context mismatches in case you would
ever decide to put this code into a package. Another argument is that at
least for older versions the lookup of strings was faster than for
symbols, if I'm not mistaken.
Finally, if your data is large, you could use:

 ToFileName[{$HomeDirectory, "Desktop"}, ""],
 Function @@ {{data}, DownValues[data]}

DownValues[newdata] =
 Import[ToFileName[{$HomeDirectory, "Desktop"}, ""]][newdata]

instead of Put and Get, which will save and load faster and create
smaller files, but the resulting binary files can only be used on the
same platform as they are created, that is you can't read them on linux
if you created them on windows.



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