# Functional Programming with Python: Quick Reference with Examples

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Functional programming means, among other things, using higher order functions (functions that take functions as parameters) and avoiding creating mutable state (e.g. changing a variable's value) so as to make it easier to reason about programs, use the stack more effectively and reduce complexity in concurrent/parallel programs.

Most functional operations operate on lists

The news are that you can do in most languages. Here are a few things you can do in python to have a more functional program:

### The lambda operator

The lambdaoperator in Python creates an anonymous, simplified function - a function without name.

This is useful because, in functional programming, you create a lot of functions that you only use once, so creating them in the usual way (using def, line breaks and return), while still possible, is too verbose for most cases.

# look, no def and no return()
f = lambda x,y: x + y

f(1,1) # equals 2
f(4,5) # equals 9


Suppose you want to create a simple function that adds two numbers. You can do it the usual way (using def) or using the lambda operator, as in the previous example.

### map

The map function changes all elements in a list and returns the modified list

# just a simple list
numbers = [1,2,3,4,5]

# a function that multiplies a number by 2
doubles = map(lambda x: x*2, numbers)
# doubles equals [2,4,6,8,10]


### reduce

The reduce function applies an operation on every element and accumulates the results

# the same list as before
numbers = [1,2,3,4,5]

# add every number to an accumulator
sum = reduce(lambda acc, elem: acc + elem, numbers)
# sum equals 15


The reducefunction is mostly used to obtain aggregate values from a list. For example, summing is one way to obtain a summary from a group of numbers.

The average is another such summary. Can you do it using reduce?

### filter

The last element in our triptych is the filter function:

# a list of numbers
numbers = [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]

# a function that only returns True for odd numbers
odd_numbers = filter(lambda x: x % 2 == 1, numbers) # [1,3,5,7]

# and the opposite
even_numbers = filter(lambda x: x %2 == 0, numbers) # [2,4,6,8]


The filter function evaluates a predicate (a function that returns either true of false) for every element, and keeps those that evaluate to True

### You can also

use a regular function (declared with def) instead of a lambda

If the functions you want to use in map, filter and reduce grow too large you can also use a regular function, for better readability:

# regular function
def powerof2(num):
result = num ** 2

return(result)

# use it the way you would a lambda
map(powerof2, [1, 2, 3, 4])
# returns [1, 4, 9, 16]


### Example use case

Suppose your boss has asked you to scan a document for URLs and produce a report of which domains appear how many times:

# assume functions load_document, is_url and extract_domain
# are defined elsewhere

# a document is a large string

# use method split() to get a list of words instead
words = document.split()

# function is_url returns True if the argument is a well-formed
#   URL, False otherwise
urls = filter(is_url, words)

# function extract_domain extracts the domain (like "google.com")
#   part of a URL
domains = map(extract_domain, urls)

# let's build a dictionary, where keys are domains and values
#   are the number of times it appears in our document
# the result would be something like this: {'google.com': 10, 'cnn.com': 5}

# this function will be used next
if domain in a_dict.keys():
a_dict[domain] += 1
else:
a_dict[domain] = 1

# don't forget to return the modified dict
return(a_dict)

# you can also pass an initial value to function reduce
#  in this case, we'll use an empty dictionary
report = reduce( add_domain, domains, dict() )

print(report)
# mission accomplished


• Hadoop's MapReduce has been so named for a good reason (it uses the map and reduce functions throughout).