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I have a list of the form:

list={{0,...},{1,...},{1,...},{0,...},{3,...},{3,...},{0,...},{0,...},{5,...},{5,...},{5,...},{0,...},{5,...},{0,...},...}

So when we take all the first elements we get a run of integers:

list[[All,1]]
(* {0,1,1,0,3,3,0,0,5,5,5,0,5,0,...} *)

What I want to do is sort my list based on the first element of each sublist (the integers) by gathering the non zero integers but preserving the zeroes between them. So for this example for the sorted list the list of all first elements would look like this:

{0,1,1,0,3,3,0,0,5,5,5,5,0,0,...}

i.e. the second and subsequent occurrence of "5" get moved to join the earlier occurrences. Likewise for all other occurrences of integers -- they get moved up to join the first occurrence or group of occurrences.

I am doing this in a round about way at the moment in which I record a list of positions after the reordering and then return list[[positions]]. I can post what I am doing at the moment but am interested to know if anyone has a one or two liner type solution.

Also I wasn't quite sure how to title this question to make it easier for searches. Any ideas on that?

Edit

The integers will not necessarily appear in order. So, for example, the first appearance of a non zero integer could be ordered like

3, 1, 5, 4, 6, ...

The function below is what I am using to return the list of positions:

sortedPositions[list_List] := 
  Module[{tmp = list[[All, 1]], length, pos, tmp1, tmp2, 
    tmp3},
   length = Length[tmp];
   tmp1 = List /@ Cases[Transpose[{tmp, Range[length]}], {0, _}];
   tmp2 = DeleteCases[Transpose[{tmp, Range[length]}], {0, _}];
   tmp3 = GatherBy[tmp2, First];
   tmp2 = Join[tmp1, tmp3];
   Flatten[SortBy[tmp2, #[[1, 2]] &], 1][[All, 2]]
   ];

But it seems like a lot of code to get the result I need. Here is a test list:

num = 20;
testList = Join[List /@ RandomInteger[{0, 9}, num], RandomReal[{0, 1}, {num, 6}], 2]

(* 
{{6,0.456203,0.0900917,0.62677,0.638615,0.227849,0.61252},
{4,0.317069,0.44889,0.456945,0.05121,0.940742,0.495415},
{7,0.573698,0.381817,0.859495,0.517238,0.459022,0.957771},
{5,0.832945,0.867634,0.0843833,0.296803,0.944986,0.563913},
{1,0.598743,0.803861,0.082542,0.138926,0.630364,0.0445202},
{7,0.289183,0.257115,0.358083,0.677393,0.206347,0.987678},
{5,0.947487,0.320408,0.600928,0.0718489,0.976703,0.449376},
{0,0.0996927,0.210278,0.408291,0.861885,0.946081,0.0522955},
{0,0.537572,0.160541,0.212737,0.508406,0.353786,0.479605},
{7,0.0815373,0.0677839,0.388955,0.681041,0.795607,0.404398},
{4,0.18704,0.253819,0.141732,0.43889,0.931269,0.556534},
{2,0.262136,0.110553,0.60296,0.482498,0.693049,0.430039},
{5,0.569696,0.262133,0.397575,0.246202,0.499777,0.073326},
{6,0.487893,0.121165,0.413376,0.874849,0.836484,0.792685}, 
{0,0.677934,0.543956,0.593967,0.138832,0.896184,0.604194},
{2,0.138691,0.150235,0.614355,0.326924,0.615902,0.900494},
{0,0.0254698,0.258354,0.377134,0.569083,0.0925844,0.672802},
{7,0.354392,0.976598,0.658138,0.124943,0.39485,0.239671},
{2,0.622461,0.195612,0.997663,0.421797,0.130802,0.110463},
{2,0.136431,0.799215,0.698071,0.0599957,0.452992,0.378609}} *)

Find the position order you want in your final list:

positions = sortedPositions[testList]
(* {1, 14, 2, 11, 3, 6, 10, 18, 4, 7, 13, 5, 8, 9, 12, 16, 19, 20, 15, \
17} *)

Make your "sorted" list "sorting" according to an algorithm applied to the first element:

testList[[positions]]
(* 
{{6,0.456203,0.0900917,0.62677,0.638615,0.227849,0.61252},
{6,0.487893,0.121165,0.413376,0.874849,0.836484,0.792685},
{4,0.317069,0.44889,0.456945,0.05121,0.940742,0.495415},
{4,0.18704,0.253819,0.141732,0.43889,0.931269,0.556534},
{7,0.573698,0.381817,0.859495,0.517238,0.459022,0.957771},
{7,0.289183,0.257115,0.358083,0.677393,0.206347,0.987678},
{7,0.0815373,0.0677839,0.388955,0.681041,0.795607,0.404398},
{7,0.354392,0.976598,0.658138,0.124943,0.39485,0.239671},
{5,0.832945,0.867634,0.0843833,0.296803,0.944986,0.563913},
{5,0.947487,0.320408,0.600928,0.0718489,0.976703,0.449376},
{5,0.569696,0.262133,0.397575,0.246202,0.499777,0.073326},
{1,0.598743,0.803861,0.082542,0.138926,0.630364,0.0445202},
{0,0.0996927,0.210278,0.408291,0.861885,0.946081,0.0522955},
{0,0.537572,0.160541,0.212737,0.508406,0.353786,0.479605},
{2,0.262136,0.110553,0.60296,0.482498,0.693049,0.430039},
{2,0.138691,0.150235,0.614355,0.326924,0.615902,0.900494},
{2,0.622461,0.195612,0.997663,0.421797,0.130802,0.110463},
{2,0.136431,0.799215,0.698071,0.0599957,0.452992,0.378609},
{0,0.677934,0.543956,0.593967,0.138832,0.896184,0.604194},
{0,0.0254698,0.258354,0.377134,0.569083,0.0925844,0.672802}}
 *)

So by "sorting"/"gathering" based on doing something with the first elements you do something like what I have tried to illustrate in the image below:

enter image description here

and create a new ordering of ultimately the initial list (testList) with the new order probably best seen by the new order of the first elements:

enter image description here


As per Mr.Wizards answer what I am wanting to do is gather the list based on the first elements however I don't want to gather the zeros so only non-zero first elements are grouped.

share|improve this question
    
are your integers all positive? –  rm -rf Oct 3 '12 at 0:06
    
yes all positive –  Mike Honeychurch Oct 3 '12 at 0:19
    
I think I have a working solution, but I have one more question: Barring the zeros, do the integers appear in order? i.e., 1, 3, 5,... (even if a 1 appears later after 5)? –  rm -rf Oct 3 '12 at 0:29
1  
@MikeHoneychurch Your function is underspecified since you don't indicate what sorting actually means in your context. In other words, it is not clear from your description, how would one obtain a sorted list you started from, from an arbitrary unsorted list involving zeros and non-zero elements. Yet you want the result to work on arbitrary (generally unsorted) lists. –  Leonid Shifrin Oct 3 '12 at 1:26
1  
Before you withdraw a question, think about this: if you are unable to communicate what it should do, are you sure that what it currently does for you is correct, in all cases you are interested in? –  Leonid Shifrin Oct 3 '12 at 1:38
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It seems my understanding was correct.

Unique[] is concise and descriptive but runs slower every time it is used. A more robust method is:

group2[lst_] := 
  Module[{x, i = 1}, Join @@ GatherBy[lst, #[[1]] /. 0 :> x[i++] &]]

Compare these Timings:

big = RandomInteger[5, {10000, 3}];

Table[group[big] // Timing // First, {5}]

Table[group2[big] // Timing // First, {5}]

{0.172, 0.515, 0.842, 1.17, 1.529}

{0., 0.016, 0.015, 0., 0.016}


I believe you just want a Gather where zeros are considered unique:

group[lst_] := Join @@ GatherBy[lst, #[[1]] /. 0 :> Unique[] &]

Test:

Join[List /@ RandomInteger[{0, 5}, 20], RandomReal[{0, 1}, {20, 6}], 2];

%[[All, 1]]

group[%%][[All, 1]]
{0, 0, 4, 5, 0, 3, 3, 3, 4, 2, 4, 2, 3, 2, 5, 0, 5, 0, 1, 4}

{0, 0, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 0, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 0, 0, 1}

If not at least I tried. :-)

share|improve this answer
    
"you just want a Gather where zeros are considered unique" ...wow, one sentence summarizes what I was trying to say unsuccessfully in multiple paragraphs! excellent! –  Mike Honeychurch Oct 3 '12 at 8:00
    
@Mike Glad I could be of help. :-) (I don't always express myself well so I know the frustration!) –  Mr.Wizard Oct 3 '12 at 8:11
    
and as is the case when you see it expressed correctly you immediately wonder why you couldn't think of that! Thanks again, that replacement with Unique is a good trick. –  Mike Honeychurch Oct 3 '12 at 8:13
    
BTW I changed the title which hopefully now better reflects the problem and will be more useful for others to find your answer in the future. –  Mike Honeychurch Oct 3 '12 at 8:14
    
@Mike it is a nice trick, but IIRC if using this on huge data sets it may cause a memory leak. You may want to use something like this: Module[{x, i = 1}, Join @@ GatherBy[lst, #[[1]] /. 0 :> x[i++] &]] and possibly even Remove should this prove to be a problem. I cannot remember where someone (perhaps Leonid) described this problem but I'll see if I can find it. –  Mr.Wizard Oct 3 '12 at 8:18
show 3 more comments

Here's an easy way using //.:

list = {0, 1, 1, 0, 3, 3, 0, 0, 5, 5, 5, 0, 5, 0, 1};
Split[list] //. {h___, x : {a_, ___}, m___, y : {a_, ___}, t___} :> 
    {h, x ~Join~ y, m, t} /; a =!= 0 // Flatten

(* {0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 3, 3, 0, 0, 5, 5, 5, 5, 0, 0} *)
share|improve this answer
    
This implicitly assumes that the first appearance of each integer (other than 0) is in order. i.e., 1, 3, 5... and not 4, 1, 5, 3,... –  rm -rf Oct 3 '12 at 0:37
    
Sorry I was a bit slow getting my edit up in reply to your comment. Unfortunately the order could be 4,1,5,3 ... –  Mike Honeychurch Oct 3 '12 at 0:52
1  
@MikeHoneychurch In that case it is underspecified... consider list = {0, 4, 1, 1, 0, 3, 3, 0, 0, 5, 5, 5, 0, 5, 0, 1}; Does the 4 go immediately after 3 or just before 5? –  rm -rf Oct 3 '12 at 1:17
    
I apologize for my inability to explain in writing what I am looking for but the test function delivers the result i am after -- but it seems to be a long way to get the result. For your example above the reordered list (of first elements) would be {0, 4, 1, 1, 1, 0, 3, 3, 0, 0, 5, 5, 5, 5, 0, 0} –  Mike Honeychurch Oct 3 '12 at 1:30
    
Mike, so your code doesn't sort the integers either... it merely collects later occurrences along with the first. Mine does the same too. –  rm -rf Oct 3 '12 at 2:48
add comment

There is one way.

list={{1,a},{1,b},{0,c},{2,d},{0,e},{2,f},{0,g},{4,h},{0,j}}

strangeSort[list_]:=Module[{r},
r=Split[list,#1[[1]]==0&];
r=GatherBy[r,#[[-1,1]]&];
r={#[[1]],Reverse@SortBy[Flatten[#[[2;;-1]],1],#[[1]]]}&/@r;
r=Flatten[r,2]]

strangeSort[list]

Result:

{{1,a},{1,b},{0,c},{2,d},{2,f},{0,e},{0,g},{4,h},{0,j}}

Take care with pattern to big lists, they are slow.

share|improve this answer
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