# How to allocate the content of a M*1 vector to a T*N matrix (M<T*N) ? problem with cell format

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James Grayout on 21 Apr 2016
Commented: James Grayout on 22 Apr 2016
Dear all
I am newcomer to matlab and have a question that, I believe, should be easy to solve. Yet, I have lost way too many hours on this particular detail and find myself unable to advance. I hope someone can point out the problem. Maybe the function is poorly coded to begin with. Anyways, thanks in advance!
I have a set of unbalanced monthly data for various firms.
I want to create a matrix y: dim(y) = T * N, where T is number of periods and N is number of firms
My idea is to create a function - ymatrix - that retrieves the value of interest at time t for firm n and places it in position (t,n) in the matrix y.
With this in mind, I wrote the function below:
function y = ymatrix(intersection,date,id,var)
% intersection is an argument that allows me to determine the number of columns of y. % id is the the identification
% number of the firm - in cell format % var is that variable of interest
[R C] = size(intersection);
T = [2007 - 1964 + 1]*12 + 12;
clear C
y = NaN(T,R);
clear T
sortDate = sort(date,'ascend'); % I do no sort IDs as they are already sorted in the dataset
T = length(date);
N = length(id);
past = cell(T,1);
for t = 1 : T
for n = 1 : N
if sum(ismember(past,id{n})) == 0
% This is where the problem seems to lie. Since I want to have each column of y as a firm
% and since in the dataset a given id appears many times, I must apply the current loop only for firms to which
% I haven't applied it before. Otherwise, I will have several repeated columns.
% Hence, at the end of each loop, I want to add the id of the firm I am currently looping through to a
% local variable - "past" - that I can then use - in the next loop - to decide whether to skip that particular
% loop. The problem is that id is in cell format. Either I pre-allocate memory to past in cell format and
% use past{n,1} = id{n,1}, in which case, in the next loop, I receive an error in sum(ismember(past,id{n})) ==
%"Input must be cell arrays of strings"; or I do not preallocate it to be a cell and allocate it as,
%for instance,past = NaN(10,1), and I receive an error in past{n,1} = cusip{n,1} that
%reads: "Cell contents assignment to a non-cell array object."
a = ismember(date,sortDate(t));
b = ismember(id,id{n});
a = int8(a);
b = int8(b);
d = find(a == 1);
e = find(b == 1);
index = intersect(d,e); % Note that the intersection must either be a number of empty
past{n,1} = id{n,1};
if index == zeros(0,1) % This is to account for the possibility that the intersection is empty,
% in which case I simply skip the current loop
else
y(t,n) = var(index,1);
end
else
end
end
end
end

Show 1 older comment
Guillaume on 21 Apr 2016
Can you provide a reduced example of inputs and desired output? It'll be much easier to answer your question that way rather than trying to understand what you're doing in your function, which as you say, may not be the best approach.
James Grayout on 21 Apr 2016
inputs:
intersection - 10281*1 cell
'00003210'
'00016510'
'00020910'
'00035210'
date - 1431697*1 double
198512
198601
198602
198603
id - 1431697*1 cell
'36720410'
'36720410'
'36720410'
'36720410'
var - 1431697*1 double
NaN
NaN
-0,509591836734694
-0,590000000000000
I want the output to be a matrix such that:
1) each row is a date
2) each column is a firm
Hence y(1,1) = the value of the variable for the "1st" firm in the "1st time period".
Hope this helps, Guillaume. Let me know if you need further info .
James Grayout on 21 Apr 2016
another detail about the input date:
I have monthly data for 1964 till 2007 plus data from July to December 1963 and date from January to June 2008.
Hence, the output matrix should be a (12 + 12*(2007-1964+1))*10281 matrix, where 10281 is the number of firms. Some of the entries are supposed to be NaN as I do not have data for all firms for all years.

Guillaume on 21 Apr 2016
Edited: Guillaume on 21 Apr 2016
If I understood correctly, this should work:
[udate, ~, drow] = unique(date); %udate could be replaced by ~ if you don't want a table
[uid, ~, idrow] = unique(id); %uid could be replaced by ~ if you don't want a table
y = nan(max(drow), max(idrow));
y(sub2ind(size(y), drow, idrow)) = var;
You can prettify the output with:
t = array2table(y, VariableNames, uid, RowNames, cellstr(num2str(udate)))
Note that neither date or id need to be sorted since unique does the sorting anyway.

James Grayout on 22 Apr 2016
it works! thanks loads! one question: would you recommend any specific resources to be able to learn how to code more efficiently in matlab? of course only time and experience can do the trick, but I was wondering if you could recommend some resources. I read this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Matlab-Stormy-Attaway/dp/0124058760/, which was useful to get the basics. Yet, it is quite basic...
Guillaume on 22 Apr 2016
I'm afraid I've only learned matlab from its help file but I had a lot of experience programming in other languages beforehand. I've actually never read any book about matlab.
Solving problems (the not too trivial ones) on Cody and seeing other solvers' approach may be a good way of acquiring experience with matlab functions.
James Grayout on 22 Apr 2016
Thanks!

Renato Agurto on 21 Apr 2016
If you preallocate past:
past = NaN(10,1);
then you should use
past(n,1) = id{n,1};
past{n,1} = id{n,1};

James Grayout on 21 Apr 2016
Thanks Renato! I did as you suggested but now I get
Subscripted assignment dimension mismatch.
error message associated with
past(n,1) = id{n,1};
the problem seems to be that id{n,1} is 1*8 char.
I could define past as
past = NaN(N,8)
but then
sum(ismember(past,id{n})) == 0
would no longer make sense. In principle
sum(sum(ismember(past,id{n}))) ~= 8
would work, though. But then
past(n,:) = id{n,1};
no longer works. for instance, id{1,1} = 36720410 and past(1,:) = id{1,1} yields
past = [51 54 55 50 48 52 49 48;
NaN(T-1,8)]
Any ideas?
James Grayout on 21 Apr 2016
ps: id{1,1} is only numbers by chance. quite often id's are like 652AA145. thus the need for cells
James Grayout on 21 Apr 2016
Hi again. So the loop is currently working when I write ymatrix as shown below. I am not sure whether the result will be correct though, as the loop will take a while.
function output = ymatrix(intersection,date,id,var)
R = numel(intersection);
T = [2007 - 1964 + 1]*12 + 12;
Y = NaN(T,R);
sortDate = sort(date,'ascend');
T = length(date);
N = length(id);
past = NaN(N,8);
for t = 1 : T
for n = 1 : N
if sum(sum(ismember(past,id{n}))) ~= 8
a = ismember(date,sortDate(t));
b = ismember(id,id(n));
d = find(a == 1);
e = find(b == 1);
index = intersect(d,e);
past(n,:) = string(id{n,1});
if isempty(index)
else
Y(t,n) = var(index,1);
end
else
end
end
end
output = Y(t,n);
end
Yet, in each loop, I get the message
In ymatrix at 36
Warning: string is obsolete and will be discontinued.