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Table Toolbox

Definition A tabular struct is a matlab struct where every field has the same number of rows

Definition A table is either

  1. a matlab dataset, or
  2. a tabular struct

Definition A table field or simply field refers to a field in a table, whether or not it takes the form of a dataset or a struct.

The Table Toolbox provides functionality that is agnostic to choice of 1 or 2. Both forms of table imply a list of field names TABLE.FIELDNAMES(ds) and a collection of records analogous to a database table.

Thus this toolbox does not impose a new table class, prefering home-spun polymorphism in TABLE.FIELDNAMES, TABLE.SIZE, TABLE.SELECT.ROWS and TABLE.RMFIELD. But the toolbox might be used with user supplied table classes as well, provided these are modified and other dataset/struct methods are also supported (such as indexing a field, subreferencing a field and so forth).

The Table Toolbox explores a paradigm for organizing multiple calculations involving potentially large tables, and exploiting the parallel toolbox in a moderately efficient way. To this end:

Definition A table operator, or simply operator is a function that modifies a table without altering the number of rows.

Definition A field immutability respecting operator or simply immutable operator is an operator that does not alter entries in existing fields, unless it deletes the entire field outright.

Definition A partition respecting operator is one that permits simple parallelization on groups of rows. That is, the computations for one group of rows do not require information about another groups of rows, nor modify them.

Given a partition, generated by TABLE.FEVAL.EQUALPARTITION or otherwise, any collection of partition respecting operators can be passed to TABLE.FEVAL.SEQUENTIAL, which parallelizes the computation using parfor. Additionally, any collection of operators that all respect both field immutability and the partition can be passed to TABLE.FEVAL.IMMUTABLE, whether or not the user is aware of the order in which the operators can or should be applied (since input, new and removed fields can be inferred by TABLE.FEVAL.DEPENDENCYDAG, so can a suitable topological ordering). This may be used to minimise communication overhead in the parfor call.