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Pivot tables

Some notes on the theory and practice of pivoting tables.

Simple pivot example

Given a source table

q)t:([]k:1 2 3 2 3;p:`xx`yy`zz`xx`yy;v:10 20 30 40 50)

pivot table

we want to obtain

q)pvt:([k:1 2 3]xx:10 40 0N;yy:0N 20 50;zz:0N 0N 30)

pivot table

As originally suggested by Jeff Borror, we begin by getting the distinct pivot values – these will become our column names in addition to the key column k. Note that p must be a column of symbols for this to work.

q)P:asc exec distinct p from t;

And then create the pivot table!

q)pvt:exec P#(p!v) by k:k from t;

which can be read as: for each key k, create a dictionary of the present columns p and their values v, take the full list of columns from that dict, and finally collapse the list of dicts to a table.

Another variation on creating the pivot table

q)pvt:exec P!(p!v)P by k:k from t;


A key point to remember is that a table is a list of dictionaries and that is key to how we build the resulting pivot table. A list of conforming dictionaries (same symbol keys, value types) collapses to a table.

q)pvt:((`k`xx`yy`zz!1 10 0N 0N);(`k`xx`yy`zz!2 40 20 0N);(`k`xx`yy`zz!3 0N 50 30))

It’s helpful to play around with these constructs at the q prompt.

q)exec p!v from t
`xx`yy`zz`xx`yy!10 20 30 40 50

Extract key/value pairs for p and v grouped by k

q)exec p!v by k from t
1 2 3!(enlist `xx!enlist 10;`yy`xx!20 40;`zz`yy!30 50)

Create a list of dictionaries

q)exec p!v by k:k from t
(flip (enlist `k)!enlist 1 2 3)!(enlist `xx!enlist 10;`yy`xx!20 40;`zz`yy!30 50)

In the dictionaries create nulls for missing values to allow them to conform with common column names and collapse to a table

q)exec P#(p!v) by k:k from t
(+(,`k)!,1 2 3)!+`s#`xx`yy`zz!(10 40 0N;0N 20 50;0N 0N 30)

A very general pivot function, and an example


The following is derived from a thread on the k4 listbox between Aaron Davies, Attila Vrabecz and Andrey Zholos.

Create sample data set of level-2 data at 4 quotes a minute, two sides, five levels, NSYE day

q)date:raze(100*qpd)#'2009.01.05+til 5
q)sym:(raze/)5#enlist qpd#'100?`4
q)sym:(neg count sym)?sym
q)time:"t"$raze 500#enlist 09:30:00+15*til qpd
q)time+:(count time)?1000
q)side:raze 500#enlist raze(qpd div 2)#enlist"BA"
q)level:raze 500#enlist raze(qpd div 5)#enlist 0 1 2 3 4
q)level:(neg count level)?level

/ pivot t, keyed by k, on p, exposing v
/ f, a function of v and pivot values, names the columns
/ g, a function of k, pivot values, and the return of f, orders the columns
/ either can be defaulted with (::)
/ conceptually, this is
/ exec f\[v;P\]!raze((flip(p0;p1;.))!/:(v0;v1;..))\[;P\]by k0,k1,.. from t
/ where P~exec distinct flip(p0;p1;..)from t
/ followed by reordering the columns and rekeying

 G:group flip k!(t:.Q.v t)k;
 F:group flip p!t p;
 count[k]!g[k;P;C]xcols 0!key[G]!flip(C:f[v]P:flip value flip key F)!raze
   a:count[x]#x 0N;
   a[y]:x y;
   c:a i;
   c[k]:first'[a[j]@'where'[b j]];
   c}[I[;0];I J;J:where 1<>count'[I:value G]]/:\:[t v;value F]}

q)f:{[v;P]`$raze each string raze P[;0],'/:v,/:\:P[;1]}
q)g:{[k;P;c]k,(raze/)flip flip each 5 cut'10 cut raze reverse 10 cut asc c}
      / `Bpricei`Bsizei`Apricei`Asizei for levels i

Use a small subset for testing

q)q:select from quote where sym=first sym
q)![`book;();`date`sym!`date`sym;{x!fills,'x}cols get book];

One user reports:

This is able to pivot a whole day of real quote data, about 25 million quotes over about 4000 syms and an average of 5 levels per sym, in a little over four minutes.