The core “big.matrix” operations.
big.matrix (or check to see if an object is a
or create a
big.matrix from a
matrix, and so on). The
may be file-backed.
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big.matrix(nrow, ncol, type = options()$bigmemory.default.type, init = NULL, dimnames = NULL, separated = FALSE, backingfile = NULL, backingpath = NULL, descriptorfile = NULL, binarydescriptor=FALSE, shared = TRUE) filebacked.big.matrix(nrow, ncol, type = options()$bigmemory.default.type, init = NULL, dimnames = NULL, separated = FALSE, backingfile = NULL, backingpath = NULL, descriptorfile = NULL, binarydescriptor=FALSE) as.big.matrix(x, type = NULL, separated = FALSE, backingfile = NULL, backingpath = NULL, descriptorfile = NULL, binarydescriptor=FALSE, shared=TRUE) is.big.matrix(x) is.separated(x) is.filebacked(x) is.shared(x) is.readonly(x) is.nil(address)
number of rows.
number of columns.
the type of the atomic element (
a scalar value for initializing the matrix (
a list of the row and column names; use with caution for large objects.
use separated column organization of the data; see details.
the root name for the file(s) for the cache of
the path to the directory containing the file backing cache.
the name of the file to hold the backingfile description, for subsequent use with
the flag to specify if the binary RDS format should be used for the backingfile description, for subsequent use with
big.matrix consists of an object in R that does nothing more than point to
the data structure implemented in C++. The object acts
much like a traditional R matrix, but helps protect the user from many inadvertant
memory-consuming pitfalls of traditional R matrices and data frames.
There are two
big.matrix types which manage
data in different ways. A standard, shared
big.matrix is constrained
to available RAM, and may be shared across
separate R processes. A file-backed
exceed available RAM by using hard drive space, and may also be
shared across processes. The atomic types of these matrices may be
(8, 4, 2, and 1 bytes, respectively).
x is a
x[1:5,] is returned as an R
matrix containing the first five rows of
x is of type
double, then the result will be
numeric; otherwise, the result will
integer R matrix. The expression
will display information about the R object (e.g. the external pointer) rather
than evaluating the matrix itself (the user should try
x[,] with extreme caution,
recognizing that a huge R
matrix will be created).
x has a huge number of rows and/or columns, then the use of
will be extremely memory-intensive and should be avoided. If
x has a huge
number of columns and
separated=TRUE is used (this isn't typically recommended),
the user might want to store the transpose as there is
overhead of a pointer for each column in the matrix.
TRUE, then the memory is allocated into separate
vectors for each column. Use this option with caution
if you have a large number of columns, as shared-memory segments are limited by
OS and hardware combinations.
FALSE, the matrix is
stored in traditional column-major format.
the separation type of the
x, is passed as an argument
to a function, it is essentially providing call-by-reference rather than
call-by-value behavior. If the function modifies any of the values of
the changes are not limited in scope to a local copy within the function.
This introduces the possibility of side-effects, in contrast to standard
big.matrix may exceed available RAM in size by using a file
cache (or possibly multiple file caches, if
This can incur a substantial performance penalty for such large matrices, but less
of a penalty than most other approaches for handling such large objects.
A side-effect of creating a file-backed object is
not only the file-backing(s), but a descriptor file (in the same directory) that is
needed for subsequent attachments (see
Note that we do not allow setting or changing the
by default; such changes would not be reflected in the descriptor objects or
in shared memory. To override this, set
It should also be noted that a user can create an “anonymous” file-backed
big.matrix by specifying "" as the
In this case, the backing resides in the temporary directory and a
descriptor file is not created. These should be used with caution since
even anonymous backings use disk space which could eventually fill the
hard drive. Anonymous backings are removed either manually, by a
user, or automatically, when the operating system deems it appropriate.
Finally, note that
as.big.matrix can coerce data frames. It does this by
making any character columns into factors, and then making all factors numeric
before forming the
big.matrix. Level labels are not preserved and must
be managed by the user if desired.
big.matrix is returned (for
is.big.matrix and the other functions.
John W. Emerson and Michael J. Kane <email@example.com>
The Bigmemory Project: http://www.bigmemory.org/.
bigmemory, and perhaps the class documentation of
describe. Sister packages biganalytics, bigtabulate,
synchronicity, and bigalgebra provide advanced functionality.
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x <- big.matrix(10, 2, type='integer', init=-5) options(bigmemory.allow.dimnames=TRUE) colnames(x) <- c("alpha", "beta") is.big.matrix(x) dim(x) colnames(x) rownames(x) x[,] x[1:8,1] <- 11:18 colnames(x) <- NULL x[,] x <- as.big.matrix(matrix(-5, 10, 2)) colnames(x) <- c("alpha", "beta") is.big.matrix(x) dim(x) colnames(x) rownames(x) x[1:8,1] <- 11:18 x[,] # The following shared memory example is quite silly, as you wouldn't # likely do this in a single R session. But if zdescription were # passed to another R session via SNOW, foreach, or even by a # simple file read/write, then the attach.big.matrix() within the # second R process would give access to the same object in memory. # Please see the package vignette for real examples. z <- big.matrix(3, 3, type='integer', init=3) z[,] dim(z) z[1,1] <- 2 z[,] zdescription <- describe(z) zdescription y <- attach.big.matrix(zdescription) y[,] y z y[1,1] <- -100 y[,] z[,] # A short filebacked example, showing the creation of associated files: files <- dir() files[grep("example.bin", files)] z <- filebacked.big.matrix(3, 3, type='integer', init=123, backingfile="example.bin", descriptorfile="example.desc", dimnames=list(c('a','b','c'), c('d', 'e', 'f'))) z[,] files <- dir() files[grep("example.bin", files)] zz <- attach.big.matrix("example.desc") zz[,] zz[1,1] <- 0 zzz <- attach.big.matrix(describe(z)) zzz[,] is.nil(z@address)
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