Units with Numpy

For high-performance computation, Scimath.units includes two objects for adding units to Numpy ndarray objects: the UnitScalar and the UnitArray. UnitScalars and UnitArrays can be used directly in computations but are best handled with unitted functions constructed using the has_units() decorator.

Working with UnitScalars and UnitArrays

UnitScalar example

As a basic example using scalar values, let’s create two UnitScalars and add them. Say we were averaging the wing spans of African swallows (a) with that of European swallows (e).

>>> from scimath.units.api import UnitScalar
>>> a = UnitScalar(5, units="inches")
>>> e = UnitScalar(15, units="cm")
>>> (a + e) / 2
UnitScalar(5.452755905511811, units='0.025400000000000002*m')

Note that the result is a UnitScalar whose default units are inches, but it displays as a derivation from the SI fundamental unit meters. This is because UnitScalar values are stored internally as derivations of the SI system, thus if the value is assigned in a non-SI unit, part of the value may appear in the units. (See the section on internal representation for more detail.)

>>> UnitScalar(1, units="inch")
UnitScalar(1, units='0.025400000000000002*m')

A UnitScalar assumes the units that are first assigned to it. From the example above,

>>> (e + a) / 2
UnitScalar(13.85, units='0.01*m')

This does not fundamentally change the value of the variable, but it can lead to rounding errors and unexpected results:

>>> (e + a) == (a + e)
UnitScalar(False, units='None')


>>> (a + e) - (e + a)
UnitScalar(1.7763568394002505e-15, units='0.025400000000000002*m')

which is awfully close but not quite equal to zero.

UnitArray example

A UnitArray uses a Numpy ndarray as its value.

>>> from numpy import linspace
>>> a = UnitArray(linspace(0, 5, 6), units="cm")
>>> a
UnitArray([ 0.,  1.,  2.,  3.,  4.,  5.], units='0.01*m')

UnitArrays can be multiplied by UnitScalars or other UnitArrays, as in NumPy.:

>>> a * b
UnitArray([0.,  1.,  2.,  3.,  4.,  5.], units='0.0030480000000000004*m**2')

Note that part of the value is contained in the unit string.

For high-performance computation with UnitArrays use unitted functions.