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R: how to sort a vector according to another

As usual, it’s always what seems to be the simplest operations which turn out the hardest to implement in R (although usually once you’ve figured it out it’s a one-liner or something ;)). Sorting a vector based on the values of another vector is no exception to this.
There is a nice post on stackoverflow on how sort a vector so that values are reorganized in a specified order (that order being specified via another vector), here I just wanted to sort vector x according to the order of values in vector y. It took a bit of thinking, but once it’s been sorted out I think the code is pretty self-explanatory (and if it’s not, just run it step by step to make it easier):

> set.seed(1);
> x=runif(10);
> x;
[1] 0.26550866 0.37212390 0.57285336 0.90820779 0.20168193 0.89838968 0.94467527 0.66079779 0.62911404 0.06178627
> y=(10:1)*2;
> y;
[1] 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2
> x[order(y)]
[1] 0.06178627 0.62911404 0.66079779 0.94467527 0.89838968 0.20168193 0.90820779 0.57285336 0.37212390 0.26550866

As a bonus, not that sort(x) and x[order(x)] give equivalent results.

Posted in R (R-project).


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