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pqdict 0.4

A dictionary-like indexed priority queue

Package Documentation

Latest Version: 0.5

pqdict provides an indexed priority queue data structure implemented in pure Python as a dict-like class. pqdict.PQDict instances map hashable dictionary keys to comparable priority keys and operate like regular Python dictionaries but with added priority queue functionality.

What is an "indexed" priority queue?

A priority queue is an abstract data structure that allows you to serve or retrieve items in a prioritized fashion. A vanilla priority queue lets you insert elements with priorities, and remove or peek at the top priority element.

An enhancement to the basic priority queue interface is to let you randomly access, insert, remove and/or alter the priority of any existing element in the queue. An indexed priority queue does these operations efficiently.

The queue is implemented as a binary heap (using a python list), which supports the standard:

  • O(1) access to the top priority element
  • O(log n) removal of the top priority element
  • O(log n) insertion of a new element

In addition, an internal dictionary or "index" maps elements to their position in the heap. This index is synchronized with the heap as the heap is manipulated. As a result, PQDict also supports:

  • O(1) lookup of an arbitrary element's priority key
  • O(log n) removal of an arbitrary element
  • O(log n) updating of an arbitrary element's priority key

Why would I want something like that?

Indexed priority queues can be used to drive simulations, priority schedulers, and optimization algorithms, merge of streams of prioritized data, and other applications where priorities of already enqueued items may frequently change.


By default, PQDict uses a min-heap, meaning smaller priority keys give an item higher priority. Use PQDict.maxpq() to create a max-heap priority queue.

from pqdict import PQDict

# same input signature as dict()
pq = PQDict(a=3, b=5, c=8)
pq = PQDict(zip(['a','b','c'], [3, 5, 8]))
pq = PQDict({'a':3, 'b':5, 'c':8})

# you can add/update items this way...
pq.additem('d', 15)
pq.updateitem('c', 1)

# ...or this way
pq['d'] = 6.5
pq['e'] = 2
pq['f'] = -5

# read an element's priority
print 'f' in pq          # True
print pq['f']            # -5

# remove an element and get its priority key
pkey = pq.pop('f')
print pq.get('f', None)  # None

# or just delete an element
del pq['e']

# peek at the top priority item
print           # 'c'
print pq.topitem()       # ('c', 1)

# let's do a manual heapsort
print pq.popitem()       # ('c', 1)
print pq.popitem()       # ('a', 3)
print pq.popitem()       # ('b', 5)
print pq.popitem()       # ('d', 6.5)

# and we're empty!
pq.popitem()             # KeyError

Regular iteration has no prescribed order and is non-destructive:

queue = PQDict({'Alice':1, 'Bob':2})
for customer in queue:
    serve(customer) # Bob may be served before Alice!

This also applies to pq.keys(), pq.values(), pq.items() and using iter():

>>> PQDict({'a': 1, 'b': 2, 'c': 3, 'd': 4}).keys()
['a', 'c', 'b', 'd']

Destructive iteration methods return generators that pop items out of the heap, which amounts to performing a heapsort:

for customer in queue.iterkeys():
    serve(customer) # Customer satisfaction guaranteed :)
# queue is now empty

The destructive iterators are pq.iterkeys(), pq.itervalues(), and pq.iteritems().

There are also additional convenience functions that use PQDict to order objects in a dictionary.


This module was written by Nezar Abdennur and is released under the MIT license. The augmented heap implementation was adapted from the heapq module in the Python standard library, which was written by Kevin O'Connor and augmented by Tim Peters and Raymond Hettinger.

File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
pqdict-0.4.tar.gz (md5) Source 2013-12-08 167KB
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