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Sets in Python - collection of unique elements

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Sets in Python


A set in Python is a collection of objects. Sets are available in Python 2.4 and newer versions. They are different from lists or tuples in that they are modeled after sets in mathematics.

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Set example
To create a set, we use the set() function.

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["Postcard", "Radio", "Telegram"])
print(x)

If we add the same item element multiple times, they are removed. A set may not contain the same element multiple times.

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["Postcard", "Radio", "Telegram", "Postcard"])
print(x)

Simple notation


If you use Python version 2.6 or a later version, you can use a simplified notation:

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["Postcard", "Radio", "Telegram"])
print(x)

y = {"Postcard","Radio","Telegram"}
print(y)

Set Methods


Clear elements from set
To remove all elements from sets:

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["Postcard", "Radio", "Telegram"])
x.clear()
print(x)

Add elements to a set
To add elements to a set:

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["Postcard", "Radio", "Telegram"])
x.add("Telephone")
print(x)

Remove elements to a set
To remove elements to a set:

!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["Postcard", "Radio", "Telegram"])
x.remove("Radio")
print(x)

Difference between two sets
To find the difference between two sets use:

#!/usr/bin/env python
x = set(["Postcard", "Radio", "Telegram"])
y = set(["Radio","Television"])
print( x.difference(y) )
print( y.difference(x) )

Be aware that x.difference(y) is different from y.difference(x).

Subset
To test if a set is a subset use:

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["a","b","c","d"])
y = set(["c","d"])
print( x.issubset(y) )<b>
</b>

Super-set
To test if a set is a super-set:

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["a","b","c","d"])
y = set(["c","d"])
print( x.issuperset(y) )

Intersection
To test for intersection, use:

#!/usr/bin/env python

x = set(["a","b","c","d"])
y = set(["c","d"])
print( x.intersection(y) )

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