I want to overlay many line plots using alpha transparency. However, plotting
them in Matplotlib takes about O(n**2) time, and I think I may be running into
memory limitations as well.
As a simple benchmark, I used IPython to run alco.ipy (below), which runs
alco.py for an increasing number of data series. Extrapolating from this,
plotting 60000 series would take something like 200 minutes. This is similar to
my actual use case, which takes about 3 hours to finish a plot. Zooming in and
saving again is much faster, taking only about 30 seconds.
I would appreciate suggestions on how to speed this up. For instance:
Is there a memoryless "canvas" object that I could draw on, just accumulating
the alpha in each pixel: new_alpha = old_alpha + (1 - old_alpha) * this_alpha.
Failing that, I could do it manually by keeping a Numpy array of the pixels in
the image. For each series, find the x values corresponding to each column
index, then interpolate to find the row index corresponding to each y value.
Finally, use imshow() or something to add axes and annotation.
That you in advance for any help.
== Output of alco.ipy ==
The columns are "number of series" and "seconds".
In : run alco.ipy
== alco.ipy ==
n, t = , 
for i in range(1000, 10001, 1000):
ti = !python alco.py $i
print n[-1], t[-1]
plot(n, t, '.-')
== alco.py ==
"""Alpha compositing of line plots. Usage: python alco.py NSERIES ALPHA"""
from sys import argv
import numpy as np
import matplotlib as mpl
mpl.use("agg") # noninteractive plotting
from pylab import *
n = int(argv)
alpha = float(argv)
alpha = 0.02
# generate some data
x = np.arange(200)
for i in range(n):
y = np.sin(x / (2 * np.pi * x[-1] * i))
plot(x, y, 'k-', alpha=alpha)