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What is the use of the "tee" function in Python?

In Python, the tee() function is part of the itertools module and is used to create multiple independent iterators from a single iterable. It returns a tuple of iterators that each yield the same elements as the original iterable.

The tee() function takes two arguments:

  • iterable: The input iterable to be duplicated.
  • n (optional): The number of independent iterators to create. If not provided, the default value is 2.

Here's an example to demonstrate the usage of the tee() function:

import itertools

my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
iter1, iter2 = itertools.tee(my_list)

print(list(iter1))  # [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
print(list(iter2))  # [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

In this example, the tee() function creates two independent iterators, iter1 and iter2, from the my_list iterable. Both iterators yield the same elements as the original iterable.

The tee() function is useful when you need to create multiple iterators from a single iterable and process each iterator independently. It can be handy when you want to iterate over the same elements multiple times or when you want to apply different operations to different copies of the same iterable.

It's important to note that the tee() function does not make copies of the original elements. Instead, it creates new iterators that share the same underlying elements. Therefore, changes made to the original iterable or one of the independent iterators will be reflected in the other iterators as well.

The memory usage of tee() depends on the length of the iterable and the number of iterators created. If you are working with large or infinite iterables, consider using tee() with caution, as it may consume significant memory.

Also, note that the independent iterators returned by tee() should be consumed in a synchronized manner. Consuming elements from one iterator before consuming from another can lead to unexpected results.

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