How do I split a list?

If you want to split the list into lists of equal size, see this related faq on the # (take) operator.

If you want to split a string on a delimiter, use the vs (vector from scalar) function:

q)” ” vs “The quick brown fox”
q)”, ” vs “Hello, world!”

When its left argument is the null symbol, `, the vs function breaks apart a symbol on dots:

q)` vs `

Those are the most common cases. We can also split a list into lists of varying length by passing a list of indexes as the left argument to the _ (cut) operator:

q)0 1 4 9 _ til 10
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8

To split a list of some type other than char using a delimiter is a little more complicated. We start by finding the indexes in the list that match the delimiter:

q)list: 1 2 0 3 4 0 5 6
q)delimiter: 0
q)indexes: where delimiter = list
2 5

Now we can break list into pieces using the _ (cut) operator as above:

q)indexes _ list
0 3 4
0 5 6

This is almost what we want. We’ll use _/: (drop-each-right) to get rid of the delimiters:

q)1 _/: indexes _ list
3 4
5 6

We can grab the first element of the result with # (take):

q)first[indexes] # list
1 2

Then we can just join (using ,) the two together:

q)(enlist first[indexes] # list), 1 _/: indexes _ list
1 2
3 4
5 6

Note that we must call enlist on the front of the list or else we’ll get something a little different from what we intended:

q)(first[indexes] # list), 1 _/: indexes _ list
3 4
5 6

Lastly, we can generalize to non-atomic types by replacing = with ~/: (match-each-right):

split: {[list; delimiter]
indexes: where delimiter ~/: list;
front: first[indexes] # list;
rest: 1 _/: indexes _ list;
: (enlist front), rest;

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