Python – the most “pythonic” way to iterate over a list in chunks


I have a Python script which takes as input a list of integers, which I need to work with four integers at a time. Unfortunately, I don't have control of the input, or I'd have it passed in as a list of four-element tuples. Currently, I'm iterating over it this way:

for i in range(0, len(ints), 4):
    # dummy op for example code
    foo += ints[i] * ints[i + 1] + ints[i + 2] * ints[i + 3]

It looks a lot like "C-think", though, which makes me suspect there's a more pythonic way of dealing with this situation. The list is discarded after iterating, so it needn't be preserved. Perhaps something like this would be better?

while ints:
    foo += ints[0] * ints[1] + ints[2] * ints[3]
    ints[0:4] = []

Still doesn't quite "feel" right, though. :-/

Related question: How do you split a list into evenly sized chunks in Python?

Best Solution

def chunker(seq, size):
    return (seq[pos:pos + size] for pos in range(0, len(seq), size))
# (in python 2 use xrange() instead of range() to avoid allocating a list)

Works with any sequence:

text = "I am a very, very helpful text"

for group in chunker(text, 7):
# 'I am a ' 'very, v' 'ery hel' 'pful te' 'xt'

print '|'.join(chunker(text, 10))
# I am a ver|y, very he|lpful text

animals = ['cat', 'dog', 'rabbit', 'duck', 'bird', 'cow', 'gnu', 'fish']

for group in chunker(animals, 3):
# ['cat', 'dog', 'rabbit']
# ['duck', 'bird', 'cow']
# ['gnu', 'fish']