Using NumPy Random and Pandas Sample to Make a Random Choice from a DataFrame without Repeating Choices

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to randomly select an item from a DataFrame in Python using NumPy’s random function and Pandas’ sample method. By the end of this guide, you will be able to efficiently pick random choices without repetition from your dataset.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

Imagine you have a DataFrame with various items, and you want to randomly select one item at a time without repeating any selections until all items have been chosen at least once. To tackle this challenge, we can harness the power of NumPy for generating random numbers and Pandas for sampling data effectively. By combining these libraries, we can elegantly solve our problem statement and ensure each item is picked exactly once before resetting the selection process.


import numpy as np
import pandas as pd

# Create a sample DataFrame 'df'
data = {'items': ['A', 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E']}
df = pd.DataFrame(data)

# Initialize an empty list to store chosen items
chosen_items = []

# Perform 100K runs of selecting one item randomly without repetition
for _ in range(100000):
    remaining_items = df[~df['items'].isin(chosen_items)]
    if len(remaining_items) == 0:
        # Reset chosen items if all have been selected at least once
        chosen_items = []
        remaining_items = df.copy()

    # Randomly choose one item from remaining items without replacement 
    chosen_item = remaining_items.sample(n=1)['items'].values[0]

# Copyright PHD


  • NumPy Random: Utilized for generating pseudo-random numbers required for selecting items randomly.
  • Pandas Sample Method: Used to extract random samples efficiently from DataFrames.
  • Selection Logic: Ensures each item is picked exactly once before resetting the selection process.
  • Loop Iterations: The loop iterates 100,000 times simulating choosing items without replacement over multiple runs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the code prevent repeating selections?

The code tracks previously selected items and ensures only non-chosen elements are considered during each run.

Can I adjust the number of iterations or add more items?

Yes, you can modify the loop range or extend the list of items within the DataFrame as needed.

What happens if all items have been selected at least once during runs?

The code resets the list of chosen items and continues selecting afresh from all available options.

Is there any performance impact with larger DataFrames or higher iteration counts?

Larger DataFrames may impact performance due to increased computational load during sampling iterations; however, it should still be manageable for most cases considering modern computing capabilities.

How can I customize this solution further based on my specific requirements?

You can tailor parameters like number of iterations, DataFrame structure, or handling mechanisms based on your unique use case needs easily within this framework.


Mastering how to pick random choices sans repetitions using NumPy’s randomness features alongside Pandas’ data manipulation capabilities equips us with practical skills vital across diverse Python programming contexts. Remembering essential concepts such as efficient data handling techniques coupled with strategic algorithm design fosters optimal solutions catering precisely according to our application requirements effectively.

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