# [R] bigest part of vector

Stavros Macrakis macrakis at alum.mit.edu
Tue Feb 24 23:12:24 CET 2009

```On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 3:01 PM, Bert Gunter <gunter.berton at gene.com> wrote:
> Nothing wrong with prior suggestions, but strictly speaking, (fully) sorting
> the vector is unnecessary.
>
> y[y > quantile(y, 1- p/length(y))]
>
> will do it without the (complete) sort. (But sorting is so efficient anyway,
> I don't think you could notice any difference).

R uses an efficient quantile calculation, so it is significantly
faster for large data sets:

> big <- rnorm(1e7)
> system.time(res<-big[big>=quantile(big,(length(big)-1)/length(big))])
user  system elapsed
0.56    0.14    0.70
> system.time(res<-big[big>=quantile(big,(length(big)-100)/length(big))])
user  system elapsed
0.75    0.10    0.84
> system.time(res<-big[big>=quantile(big,(length(big)-10000)/length(big))])
user  system elapsed
0.61    0.08    0.68
> system.time(res<-big[big>=quantile(big,1/2)])
user  system elapsed
1.08    0.08    1.17

> system.time(res<-sort(big))
user  system elapsed
4.67    0.03    4.72
> system.time(res<-sort(big)[round(length(big)/2):length(big)])
user  system elapsed
4.71    0.10    4.82

Surprisingly, perhaps, "order" is much slower than "sort":

> big <- rnorm(1e7)
> system.time(res<-order(big))
user  system elapsed
21.07    0.05   21.14

And you do need to be careful about your handling of ties:

> test <- c(1,2,3,4,4,4)
> test[test>=quantile(test,5/6)]
 4 4 4
> test[test>=quantile(test,6/6)]
 4 4 4

Hope this helps.

-s

```