# Switching Between Tidyverse and Pandas for Tabular Data Wrangling: Transforming Data

## Introduction

This second post of the “Switching Between Tidyverse and Pandas for Tabular Data Wrangling” series focus on another important aspect of data wrangling: transforming data (see Figure 1 , which is taken from (Wickham and Grolemund 2016)).

As with the other posts in the series, this one does not intend to give a comprehensive introduction to related functions/methods and their usages. Instead, it only focuses on the most essential ones based on my personal experience. Where multiple solutions exist for the same purpose, the ones that minimizes the difference between tidyverse and pandas are chosen. Hopefully, these efforts will make the switch between the two packages easier.

## Prerequisites

The code provided in the next few sections requires the following packages:

`tidyverse`

for R;`pandas`

for Python.

See my other posts (this and this) for instructions on how to install these packages.

Before running the code, make sure that the required packages are properly loaded:

```
# R
library(tidyverse)
```

```
# Python
import pandas as pd
```

I will use the mtcars dataset, which is bundled with R, for demonstration in the following examples^{1}. The dataset can be exported to a CSV file, which can then be loaded to Python (see how). You may run the code yourself to see the results.

^{1} The examples are only intended to demonstrate the usage of related functions and methods. The results and their meanings are not important.

## Picking rows by values

The tidyverse provides the `filter()`

function for picking rows that satisfy some conditions; the pandas equivalent is the `query()`

method. The following code shows how to keep only the rows where not `am == 1`

and `hp / cyl >= 20`

are both satisfied:

```
# R
%>% filter(!((am == 1) & (hp / cyl >= 20))) mtcars
```

```
# Python
"~((am == 1) & (hp / cyl >= 20))") mtcars.query(
```

In both approach, columns of the data frame can be directly identified in the expression and do not need to be qualified by the name of the data frame. However, note two major differences:

- The expression in
`filter()`

is unquoted, while that in`query()`

is quoted. `filter()`

uses`!`

as a negation operator, while`query()`

uses`~`

.

In some cases, it is necessary to use a variable (e.g., an integer `x`

), which is not one of the columns in the data frame in the expression. The following examples shows how:

```
# R
%>% filter(mpg == !!x) mtcars
```

```
# Python
"mpg == @x") mtcars.query(
```

Note the differences in the symbols placed before the variable `x`

.

## Picking columns by names

The tidyverse provides the `select()`

function for picking columns by names; the pandas equivalent is the `.loc`

method. The following examples show how to select columns `mpg`

, `cyl`

, `disp`

, `hp`

, `drat`

, `wt`

, `qsec`

from `mtcars`

:

```
# R
%>% select(mpg, cyl, disp, hp, drat, wt, qsec) mtcars
```

```
# Python
"mpg", "cyl", "disp", "hp", "drat", "wt", "qsec"]] mtcars.loc[:, [
```

The same result can also be achieved by dropping the other columns in the dataset. The following code shows how:

```
# R
%>% select(-vs, -am, -gear, -carb) mtcars
```

```
# Python
"vs", "am", "gear", "carb"], axis = 1) mtcars.drop([
```

Related: tidyverse and pandas both provide the `rename()`

function/method for renaming columns. E.g., `mtcars %>% rename(cylinder = cyl)`

(tidyverse way); `mtcars.rename(columns = {"cyl": "cylinder"})`

(pandas way).

## Reordering rows

The tidyverse provides the `arrange()`

function for reordering rows; the pandas equivalent is the `sort_values()`

method. The following code shows how to reorder the rows sequentially by `am`

(in a descending order), `hp`

(in an ascending order) and `wt`

(in an ascending order).

```
# R
%>% arrange(desc(am), hp, wt) mtcars
```

```
# Python
"am", "hp", "wt"], ascending=[False, True, True]) mtcars.sort_values([
```

Note that by default, rows are sorted in an ascending order of the target column. `arrange()`

uses the `desc()`

function to reverse the order while `sort_values()`

uses the `ascending`

option.

## Creating new columns

The tidyverse provides the `mutate()`

function for creating new columns; the pandas equivalent is the `assign()`

method. The following code shows how to compute a new column named `hp_per_cyl`

, which is `hp`

divided by `cyl`

in tidyverse and pandas.

```
# R
%>% mutate(hp_per_cyl = hp / cyl) mtcars
```

```
# Python
= mtcars.hp / mtcars.cyl) mtcars.assign(hp_per_cyl
```

Note that while it is not necessary to qualify the columns in `mutate()`

, it is necessary to qualify those in `assign()`

using the dataset name `mtcars`

. Similar to a previous example, if you want to use a variable `x`

which is not a column of the dataset, precede it with `!!`

. E.g., `mtcars %>% mutate(hp_per_cyl = hp / cyl * !!x)`

.

## Performing aggregation

The tidyverse provides the `summarise()`

function^{2} for aggregation; the pandas equivalent is the `agg()`

method. By default, the aggregation treats all rows as one group. To separate groups for aggregation, use the `group_by()`

function in tidyverse, or the `groupby()`

method in pandas. The following code shows how to group rows by `am`

and `cyl`

, and then compute the mean and maximum value of `mpg`

, as well as the minimum value `hp`

.

^{2} The alias `summarize()`

can be used interchangeably.

```
# R
%>% group_by(am, cyl) %>% summarise(mean(mpg), max(mpg), min(hp)) mtcars
```

```
# Python
"am", "cyl"]).agg({"mpg": [numpy.mean, numpy.max], "hp": [numpy.min]}) mtcars.groupby([
```

## Performing window aggregation

A window function is a variation on an aggregation function. Where an aggregation function, like sum and mean, takes n inputs and return a single value, a window function returns n values. Typical window functions include cumulated sum, rank, etc.

An aggregation function can also be used like a window function, in which case the returned value is broadcast to the same number of inputs. To perform such kind of aggregation, the tidyverse provides the `group_by()`

+ `mutate()`

functions; the pandas equivalent is the `groupby()`

+ `transform()`

methods. The following code adds a new column that stores the mean of `mpg`

by each `am`

group for each row:

```
# R
%>% group_by(am) %>% mutate(mean_mpg_by_am = mean(mpg)) mtcars
```

```
# Python
= lambda x: x.loc[:,["am", "mpg"]].groupby(["am"]).transform(numpy.mean)) mtcars.assign(mean_mpg_by_am
```

## Learning more

If you want to learn more about transforming data using tidyverse or pandas, here are some useful resources:

- R for Data Science by Wickham and Grolemund (2016);
- Python for Data Analysis by McKinney (2018);
- The documentation of dplyr (a module of tidyverse for data manipulation) (tidyverse.org n.d.);
- The documentation of pandas (pydata.org n.d.).

## References

*Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython*. Second edition. Sebastopol, California: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

*R for Data Science: Import, Tidy, Transform, Visualize, and Model Data*. First edition. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.