Reading a huge .csv file

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Question :

Reading a huge .csv file

I’m currently trying to read data from .csv files in Python 2.7 with up to 1 million rows, and 200 columns (files range from 100mb to 1.6gb). I can do this (very slowly) for the files with under 300,000 rows, but once I go above that I get memory errors. My code looks like this:

def getdata(filename, criteria):
    for criterion in criteria:
        data.append(getstuff(filename, criteron))
    return data

def getstuff(filename, criterion):
    import csv
    with open(filename, "rb") as csvfile:
        for row in datareader: 
            if row[3]=="column header":
            elif len(data)<2 and row[3]!=criterion:
            elif row[3]==criterion:
                return data

The reason for the else clause in the getstuff function is that all the elements which fit the criterion will be listed together in the csv file, so I leave the loop when I get past them to save time.

My questions are:

  1. How can I manage to get this to work with the bigger files?

  2. Is there any way I can make it faster?

My computer has 8gb RAM, running 64bit Windows 7, and the processor is 3.40 GHz (not certain what information you need).

Answer #1:

You are reading all rows into a list, then processing that list. Don’t do that.

Process your rows as you produce them. If you need to filter the data first, use a generator function:

import csv

def getstuff(filename, criterion):
    with open(filename, "rb") as csvfile:
        datareader = csv.reader(csvfile)
        yield next(datareader)  # yield the header row
        count = 0
        for row in datareader:
            if row[3] == criterion:
                yield row
                count += 1
            elif count:
                # done when having read a consecutive series of rows 

I also simplified your filter test; the logic is the same but more concise.

Because you are only matching a single sequence of rows matching the criterion, you could also use:

import csv
from itertools import dropwhile, takewhile

def getstuff(filename, criterion):
    with open(filename, "rb") as csvfile:
        datareader = csv.reader(csvfile)
        yield next(datareader)  # yield the header row
        # first row, plus any subsequent rows that match, then stop
        # reading altogether
        # Python 2: use `for row in takewhile(...): yield row` instead
        # instead of `yield from takewhile(...)`.
        yield from takewhile(
            lambda r: r[3] == criterion,
            dropwhile(lambda r: r[3] != criterion, datareader))

You can now loop over getstuff() directly. Do the same in getdata():

def getdata(filename, criteria):
    for criterion in criteria:
        for row in getstuff(filename, criterion):
            yield row

Now loop directly over getdata() in your code:

for row in getdata(somefilename, sequence_of_criteria):
    # process row

You now only hold one row in memory, instead of your thousands of lines per criterion.

yield makes a function a generator function, which means it won’t do any work until you start looping over it.

Answered By: Martijn Pieters

Answer #2:

Although Martijin’s answer is prob best. Here is a more intuitive way to process large csv files for beginners. This allows you to process groups of rows, or chunks, at a time.

import pandas as pd
chunksize = 10 ** 8
for chunk in pd.read_csv(filename, chunksize=chunksize):
Answered By: mmann1123

Answer #3:

I do a fair amount of vibration analysis and look at large data sets (tens and hundreds of millions of points). My testing showed the pandas.read_csv() function to be 20 times faster than numpy.genfromtxt(). And the genfromtxt() function is 3 times faster than the numpy.loadtxt(). It seems that you need pandas for large data sets.

I posted the code and data sets I used in this testing on a blog discussing MATLAB vs Python for vibration analysis.

Answered By: Steve

Answer #4:

what worked for me was and is superfast is

import pandas as pd
import dask.dataframe as dd
import time
df_train = dd.read_csv('../data/train.csv', usecols=[col1, col2])
print("load train: " , time.clock()-t)

Another working solution is:

import pandas as pd 
from tqdm import tqdm

PATH = '../data/train.csv'
chunksize = 500000 
traintypes = {

cols = list(traintypes.keys())

df_list = [] # list to hold the batch dataframe

for df_chunk in tqdm(pd.read_csv(PATH, usecols=cols, dtype=traintypes, chunksize=chunksize)):
    # Can process each chunk of dataframe here
    # clean_data(), feature_engineer(),fit()

    # Alternatively, append the chunk to list and merge all

# Merge all dataframes into one dataframe
X = pd.concat(df_list)

# Delete the dataframe list to release memory
del df_list
del df_chunk
Answered By: Yury Wallet

Answer #5:

For someone who lands to this question. Using pandas with ‘chunksize’ and ‘usecols’ helped me to read a huge zip file faster than the other proposed options.

import pandas as pd

sample_cols_to_keep =['col_1', 'col_2', 'col_3', 'col_4','col_5']

# First setup dataframe iterator, ‘usecols’ parameter filters the columns, and 'chunksize' sets the number of rows per chunk in the csv. (you can change these parameters as you wish)
df_iter = pd.read_csv('../data/huge_csv_file.csv.gz', compression='gzip', chunksize=20000, usecols=sample_cols_to_keep) 

# this list will store the filtered dataframes for later concatenation 
df_lst = [] 

# Iterate over the file based on the criteria and append to the list
for df_ in df_iter: 
        tmp_df = (df_.rename(columns={col: col.lower() for col in df_.columns}) # filter eg. rows where 'col_1' value grater than one
                                  .pipe(lambda x:  x[x.col_1 > 0] ))
        df_lst += [tmp_df.copy()] 

# And finally combine filtered df_lst into the final lareger output say 'df_final' dataframe 
df_final = pd.concat(df_lst)
Answered By: ewalel

Answer #6:

here’s another solution for Python3:

import csv
with open(filename, "r") as csvfile:
    datareader = csv.reader(csvfile)
    count = 0
    for row in datareader:
        if row[3] in ("column header", criterion):
            count += 1
        elif count > 2:

here datareader is a generator function.

Answered By: Rishabh Agrahari

Answer #7:

If you are using pandas and have lots of RAM (enough to read the whole file into memory) try using pd.read_csv with low_memory=False, e.g.:

import pandas as pd
data = pd.read_csv('file.csv', low_memory=False)
Answered By: Mike T

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