"kj" <email@example.com> wrote in message news:firstname.lastname@example.org... > > > > Let me start with a hypothetical (but representative) use-case. > Suppose I have data stratified over 5 brands of beer, 8 yearly > quarters, 4 age groups, and 50 states. Furthermore, let's say that > for each possible combination of beer brand, yearly quarter, age > group, and state, I have computed a heterogenous k-vector of > statistics (e.g. total consumption, consumption per capita, etc.). > Therefore, all told, I'm talking about a four-dimensional > (5 x 8 x 4 x 50) array of k-vectors. > > I would like to store all this data in an object that would allow > me to address subsets of it using *labels* instead of numeric > indices. By "labels" I mean the names of the "dimensions" (in this > case "brand", "quarter", "age", "state"), the names of the possible > values for each dimension, (e.g. for state, I'd have "AK", "AL", > "AR", ..., "WI", "WY"), and the components of the vector of data > associated with each combination of factors, (in this case these > would include "total consumption", "consumption per capita", etc.). > > For example, supposing that the variable D held such a data structure, > label-based addressing would allow me to use something like > > E = D.extract(state="AK", age="30-45") > > to store in E the subset of the data in D corresponding to the > specified values. (The value in E, by the way, would be a similar > data structure, but it would have different shape, since two of > its dimensions now have the minimum depth of 1.) > > One can imagine many elaborations of this theme, but I think the > above gives a flavor of what I have in mind. > > It is my understanding that MATLAB does not have this functionality. > (But please correct me if I'm wrong!) Therefore I'd have to > implement it myself. > > My naive idea is to define an object (class, that is) that internally > stores one or more n-dimensional "boxes" for the data (as standard > MATLAB arrays), as well as hash tables to map between labels and > numeric indices. Methods like "extract" above would convert its > arguments to numeric addresses, and would use these numeric addresses > to fetch the data from the internal data boxes. > > I am fairly new to MATLAB, so I'd appreciate your comments on the > above, and any words of wisdom you may give me on how best to do > this. > > In particular, are there any existing packages I could use as > *models* for this sort of project? > > Thanks in advance! > > kj > >
If you have access to the Statistics Toolbox, you might check out the dataset array. You can "index" with labels if you set things up appropriately. I am not sure your data fit that scenario though.