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Formerly clojure.contrib.priority-map.

A priority map is very similar to a sorted map, but whereas a sorted map produces a sequence of the entries sorted by key, a priority map produces the entries sorted by value.

In addition to supporting all the functions a sorted map supports, a priority map can also be thought of as a queue of [item priority] pairs. To support usage as a versatile priority queue, priority maps also support conj/peek/pop operations.

Releases and Dependency Information

Latest stable release is [0.0.10]

Leiningen dependency information:

[org.clojure/data.priority-map "0.0.10"]

Maven dependency information:



The standard way to construct a priority map is with priority-map:

user=> (def p (priority-map :a 2 :b 1 :c 3 :d 5 :e 4 :f 3))

user=> p
{:b 1, :a 2, :c 3, :f 3, :e 4, :d 5}

So :b has priority 1, :a has priority 2, and so on. Notice how the priority map prints in an order sorted by its priorities (i.e., the map's values)

We can use assoc to assign a priority to a new item:

user=> (assoc p :g 1)
{:b 1, :g 1, :a 2, :c 3, :f 3, :e 4, :d 5}

or to assign a new priority to an extant item:

user=> (assoc p :c 4)
{:b 1, :a 2, :f 3, :c 4, :e 4, :d 5}

We can remove an item from the priority map:

user=> (dissoc p :e)
{:b 1, :a 2, :c 3, :f 3, :d 5}

An alternative way to add to the priority map is to conj a [item priority] pair:

user=> (conj p [:g 0])
{:g 0, :b 1, :a 2, :c 3, :f 3, :e 4, :d 5}

or use into:

user=> (into p [[:g 0] [:h 1] [:i 2]])
{:g 0, :b 1, :h 1, :a 2, :i 2, :c 3, :f 3, :e 4, :d 5}

Priority maps are countable:

user=> (count p)

Like other maps, equivalence is based not on type, but on contents. In other words, just as a sorted-map can be equal to a hash-map, so can a priority-map.

user=> (= p {:b 1, :a 2, :c 3, :f 3, :e 4, :d 5})

You can test them for emptiness:

user=> (empty? (priority-map))

user=> (empty? p)

You can test whether an item is in the priority map:

user=> (contains? p :a)

user=> (contains? p :g)

It is easy to look up the priority of a given item, using any of the standard map mechanisms:

user=> (get p :a)

user=> (get p :g 10)

user=> (p :a)

user=> (:a p)

Priority maps derive much of their utility by providing priority-based seq. Note that no guarantees are made about the order in which items of the same priority appear.

user=> (seq p)
([:b 1] [:a 2] [:c 3] [:f 3] [:e 4] [:d 5])

Because no guarantees are made about the order of same-priority items, note that rseq might not be an exact reverse of the seq. It is only guaranteed to be in descending order.

user=> (rseq p)
([:d 5] [:e 4] [:c 3] [:f 3] [:a 2] [:b 1])

This means first/rest/next/for/map/etc. all operate in priority order.

user=> (first p)
[:b 1]

user=> (rest p)
([:a 2] [:c 3] [:f 3] [:e 4] [:d 5])

Priority maps also support subseq and rsubseq, however, you must use the subseq and rsubseq defined in the namespace, which patches longstanding JIRA issue CLJ-428. These patched versions of subseq and rsubseq will work on Clojure's other sorted collections as well, so you can use them as a drop-in replacement for the subseq and rsubseq found in core.

user=> (subseq p < 3)
([:b 1] [:a 2])

user=> (subseq p >= 3)
([:c 3] [:f 3] [:e 4] [:d 5])

user=> (subseq p >= 2 < 4)
([:a 2] [:c 3] [:f 3])

user=> (rsubseq p < 4)
([:c 3] [:f 3] [:a 2] [:b 1])

user=> (rsubseq p >= 4)
([:d 5] [:e 4])

Priority maps support metadata:

user=> (meta (with-meta p {:extra :info}))
{:extra :info}

But perhaps most importantly, priority maps can also function as priority queues. peek, like first, gives you the first [item priority] pair in the collection. pop removes the first [item priority] from the collection. (Note that unlike rest, which returns a seq, pop returns a priority map).

user=> (peek p)
[:b 1]

user=> (pop p)
{:a 2, :c 3, :f 3, :e 4, :d 5}

Internally, priority maps maintain a sorted map from each priority to the set of items with that priority. You can access that sorted map with the function priority→set-of-items.

user=> (priority->set-of-items p)
{1 #{:b}, 2 #{:a}, 3 #{:c :f}, 4 #{:e}, 5 #{:d}}

It is possible to build a priority map with a custom comparator:

user=> (priority-map-by > :a 1 :b 2 :c 3)
{:c 3, :b 2, :a 1}

Sometimes, it is desirable to have a map where the values contain more information than just the priority. For example, let's say you want a map like:

{:a [2 :apple], :b [1 :banana], :c [3 :carrot]}

and you want to sort the map by the numeric priority found in the pair.

A common mistake is to try to solve this with a custom comparator:

  (fn [[priority1 _] [priority2 _]] (< priority1 priority2))
  :a [2 :apple], :b [1 :banana], :c [3 :carrot])

This will not work! Although it may appear to work with these particular values, it is not safe. In Clojure, like Java, all comparators must be total orders, meaning that you can't have a “tie” unless the objects you are comparing are in fact equal. The above comparator breaks that rule because objects such as [2 :apple] and [2 :apricot] would tie, but are not equal.

The correct way to construct such a priority map is by specifying a keyfn, which is used to compute or extract the true priority from the priority map's vals. (Note: It might seem a little odd that the priority-extraction function is called a keyfn, even though it is applied to the map's values. This terminology is based on the docstring of clojure.core/sort-by, which uses keyfn for the function which computes the sort keys.)

In the above example,

user=> (priority-map-keyfn first :a [2 :apple], :b [1 :banana], :c [3 :carrot])
{:b [1 :banana], :a [2 :apple], :c [3 :carrot]}

You can also combine a keyfn with a comparator that operates on the extracted priorities:

user=> (priority-map-keyfn-by first > :a [2 :apple], :b [1 :banana], :c [3 :carrot])
{:c [3 :carrot], :a [2 :apple], :b [1 :banana]}

subseq and rsubseq respect the keyfn and/or comparator:

user=> (subseq (priority-map-keyfn first :a [2 :apple], :b [1 :banana], :c [3 :carrot]) <= 2)
([:b [1 :banana]] [:a [2 :apple]])


Copyright (C) 2013 Mark Engelberg

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License, the same as Clojure.