5 Best Ways to Make Three Numbers Zero in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: This article explains how to set the value of three numbers in Python to zero. Given three variables with various integer values, we seek methods to reassign each with the value zero. For example, given a = 5, b = 13, and c = 8, the desired output would be a = 0, b = 0, and c = 0.

Method 1: Individual Assignment

The simplest method to make three numbers zero is to assign the value zero to each of them individually. This method is straightforward and very readable in Python code. It follows the exact functional specification of assigning zero to each variable separately.

Here’s an example:

a = 5
b = 13
c = 8

a = 0
b = 0
c = 0

Output:

a = 0
b = 0
c = 0

This code reassigns the variables a, b, and c to zero in three distinct statements. While verbose, this is highly clear and leaves no room for confusion.

Method 2: Chained Assignment

In Python, chained assignment allows us to set multiple variables to the same value in a single line of code. This is a concise method and makes the intent clear – all specified variables are to have the same value.

Here’s an example:

a = 5
b = 13
c = 8

a = b = c = 0

Output:

a = 0
b = 0
c = 0

The single line a = b = c = 0 effectively and simultaneously sets a, b, and c to zero, making this method neat for variables with the same target value.

Method 3: Using a Tuple

Using a tuple in Python can elegantly set multiple variables to zero in a single statement. This method communicates the collective assignment of values to variables, which can be especially useful when dealing with multiple related variables.

Here’s an example:

a = 5
b = 13
c = 8

(a, b, c) = (0, 0, 0)

Output:

a = 0
b = 0
c = 0

By using tuple unpacking, we can assign each variable in (a, b, c) to the corresponding value in (0, 0, 0) efficiently.

Method 4: Iteration and Unpacking

Iteration combined with unpacking enables setting variables to zero within the context of an iterable structure. This method is a bit more complex but showcases Python’s powerful iteration and unpacking capabilities.

Here’s an example:

a = 5
b = 13
c = 8

a, b, c = [0 for _ in range(3)]

Output:

a = 0
b = 0
c = 0

In this snippet, a list comprehension creates a list of three zeros, which are then unpacked into the variables a, b, and c.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: The Map Function

The map() function is usually used for applying a function to each item of an iterable. However, with a bit of creativity, it can also be used to set multiple variables to zero in one fell swoop.

Here’s an example:

a = 5
b = 13
c = 8

a, b, c = map(lambda x: 0, [a, b, c])

Output:

a = 0
b = 0
c = 0

This clever one-liner uses map() by applying a lambda function that returns zero to each original variable, effectively setting each to zero upon unpacking.

Summary/Discussion

  • Method 1: Individual Assignment. Strengths: Extremely clear and explicit. Weaknesses: Verbose, especially with more variables.
  • Method 2: Chained Assignment. Strengths: Concise and readable for setting multiple variables to the same value. Weaknesses: May be less clear to beginners when chaining many variables.
  • Method 3: Using a Tuple. Strengths: Elegant and capable of generalizing to patterned assignments. Weaknesses: Unnecessary for setting all variables to the same static value.
  • Method 4: Iteration and Unpacking. Strengths: Showcases Python’s iterable capabilities and great for a larger number of variables. Weaknesses: Overkill for just three variables and less intuitive.
  • Method 5: The Map Function. Strengths: Concise one-liner and makes good use of lambda functions. Weaknesses: May be confusing to those unfamiliar with functional programming concepts.