Crate polars[][src]

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Polars: DataFrames in Rust

Polars is a DataFrame library for Rust. It is based on Apache Arrow’s memory model. Apache arrow provides very cache efficient columnar data structures and is becoming the defacto standard for columnar data.

This means that Polars data structures can be shared zero copy with processes in many different languages.

Tree Of Contents


See examples in the cookbooks:

Data Structures

The base data structures provided by polars are DataFrame, Series, and ChunkedArray<T>. We will provide a short, top-down view of these data structures.


A DataFrame is a 2 dimensional data structure that is backed by a Series, and it could be seen as an abstraction on Vec<Series>. Operations that can be executed on DataFrames are very similar to what is done in a SQL like query. You can GROUP, JOIN, PIVOT etc. The closest arrow equivalent to a DataFrame is a RecordBatch, and Polars provides zero copy coercion.


Series are the type agnostic columnar data representation of Polars. They provide many operations out of the box, many via the Series struct and SeriesTrait trait. Whether or not an operation is provided by a Series is determined by the operation. If the operation can be done without knowing the underlying columnar type, this operation probably is provided by the Series. If not, you must downcast to the typed data structure that is wrapped by the Series. That is the ChunkedArray<T>.


ChunkedArray<T> are wrappers around an arrow array, that can contain multiples chunks, e.g. Vec<dyn ArrowArray>. These are the root data structures of Polars, and implement many operations. Most operations are implemented by traits defined in chunked_array::ops, or on the ChunkedArray struct.


Polars / Arrow uses packed_simd to speed up kernels with SIMD operations. SIMD is an optional feature = "simd", and requires a nightly compiler. If you don’t need SIMD, Polars runs on stable!


Polars supports an eager and a lazy API, and strives to make them both equally capable. The eager API is similar to pandas and is easy to get started. The lazy API is similar to Spark and builds a query plan that will be optimized. This may be less intuitive but could improve performance.


Read more in the pages of the following data structures /traits.


Unlock full potential with lazy computation. This allows query optimizations and provides Polars the full query context so that the fastest algorithm can be chosen.

Read more in the lazy module.

Compile times

A DataFrame library typically consists of

  • Tons of features
  • A lot of datatypes

Both of these really put strain on compile times. To keep Polars lean, we make both opt-in, meaning that you only pay the compilation cost, if you need it.

Compile times and opt-in features

The opt-in features are (not including dtype features):

  • lazy - Lazy API

    • lazy_regex - Use regexes in column selection
    • dot_diagram - Create dot diagrams from lazy logical plans.
  • random - Generate arrays with randomly sampled values

  • ndarray- Convert from DataFrame to ndarray

  • temporal - Conversions between Chrono and Polars for temporal data types

  • strings - Extra string utilities for Utf8Chunked

  • object - Support for generic ChunkedArrays called ObjectChunked<T> (generic over T). These are downcastable from Series through the Any trait.

  • Performance related:

    • simd - SIMD operations (nightly only)
    • performant - ~40% faster chunkedarray creation but may lead to unexpected panic if iterator incorrectly sets a size_hint
  • IO related:

    • serde - Support for serde serialization and deserialization. Can be used for JSON and more serde supported serialization formats.
    • parquet - Read Apache Parquet format
    • json - JSON serialization
    • ipc - Arrow’s IPC format serialization
    • decompress - Automatically infer compression of csv-files and decompress them. Supported compressions: * zip * gzip
  • DataFrame operations:

    • dynamic_groupby - Groupby based on a time window instead of predefined keys.
    • pivot - pivot operation on DataFrames
    • sort_multiple - Allow sorting a DataFrame on multiple columns
    • rows - Create DataFrame from rows and extract rows from DataFrames. And activates pivot and transpose operations
    • asof_join - Join as of, to join on nearest keys instead of exact equality match.
    • cross_join - Create the cartesian product of two DataFrames.
    • groupby_list - Allow groupby operation on keys of type List.
    • row_hash - Utility to hash DataFrame rows to UInt64Chunked
    • diagonal_concat - Concat diagonally thereby combining different schemas.
    • horizontal_concat - Concat horizontally and extend with null values if lengths don’t match
    • dataframe_arithmetic - Arithmetic on (Dataframe and DataFrames) and (DataFrame on Series)
  • Series operations:

    • is_in - Check for membership in Series
    • zip_with - Zip two Series/ ChunkedArrays
    • round_series - round underlying float types of Series.
    • repeat_by - [Repeat element in an Array N times, where N is given by another array.
    • is_first - Check if element is first unique value.
    • is_last - Check if element is last unique value.
    • checked_arithmetic - checked arithmetic/ returning None on invalid operations.
    • dot_product - Dot/inner product on Series and Expressions.
    • concat_str - Concat string data in linear time.
    • reinterpret - Utility to reinterpret bits to signed/unsigned
    • take_opt_iter - Take from a Series with Iterator<Item=Option<usize>>
    • mode - Return the most occurring value(s)
    • cum_agg - cumsum, cummin, cummax aggregation.
    • rolling_window - rolling window functions, like rolling_mean
    • interpolate interpolate None values
    • extract_jsonpath - Run jsonpath queries on Utf8Chunked
    • list - List utils.
    • rank - Ranking algorithms.
    • moment - kurtosis and skew statistics
    • ewma - Exponential moving average windows
    • abs - Get absolute values of Series
    • arange - Range operation on Series
    • product - Compute the product of a Series.
  • DataFrame pretty printing (Choose one or none, but not both):

    • plain_fmt - no overflowing (less compilation times)
    • pretty_fmt - cell overflow (increased compilation times)

Compile times and opt-in data types

As mentioned above, Polars Series are wrappers around ChunkedArray<T> without the generic parameter T. To get rid of the generic parameter, all the possible value of T are compiled for Series. This gets more expensive the more types you want for a Series. In order to reduce the compile times, we have decided to default to a minimal set of types and make more Series types opt-in.

Note that if you get strange compile time errors, you probably need to opt-in for that Series dtype. The opt-in dtypes are:

data typefeature flag

Or you can choose on of the preconfigured pre-sets.

  • dtype-full - all opt-in dtypes.
  • dtype-slim - slim preset of opt-in dtypes.

Performance and string data

Large string data can really slow down your queries. Read more in the performance section

Custom allocator

A DataFrame library naturally does a lot of heap allocations. It is recommended to use a custom allocator. Mimalloc for instance, shows a significant performance gain in runtime as well as memory usage.

use mimalloc::MiMalloc;

static GLOBAL: MiMalloc = MiMalloc;
mimalloc = { version = "*", default-features = false }

Config with ENV vars

  • POLARS_FMT_NO_UTF8 -> use ascii tables in favor of utf8.
  • POLARS_FMT_MAX_COLS -> maximum number of columns shown when formatting DataFrames.
  • POLARS_FMT_MAX_ROWS -> maximum number of rows shown when formatting DataFrames.
  • POLARS_TABLE_WIDTH -> width of the tables used during DataFrame formatting.
  • POLARS_MAX_THREADS -> maximum number of threads used to initialize thread pool (on startup).
  • POLARS_VERBOSE -> print logging info to stderr
  • POLARS_NO_PARTITION -> Polars may choose to partition the groupby operaiton, based on data cardinality. Setting this env var will turn partitioned groupby’s off
  • POLARS_PARTITION_SAMPLE_FRAC -> how large chunk of the dataset to sample to determine cardinality, defaults to 0.001
  • POLARS_PARTITION_CARDINALITY_FRAC -> at which (estimated) cardinality a partitioned groupby should run. defaults to 0.005, any higher cardinality will run default groupby.
  • POLARS_ALLOW_EXTENSION -> allows for [ObjectChunked<T>] to be used in arrow, opening up possibilities like using T in complex lazy expressions. However this does require unsafe code allow this.
  • POLARS_NO_PARQUET_STATISTICS -> if set, statistics in parquet files are ignored.

Compile for WASM

To be able to pretty print a DataFrame in wasm32-wasi you need to patch the prettytable-rs dependency. If you add this snippet to your Cargo.toml you can compile and pretty print when compiling to wasm32-wasi target.

prettytable-rs = { git = "", branch = "master"}

User Guide

If you want to read more, check the User Guide.


pub use polars_io as io;
pub use polars_lazy as lazy;


The typed heart of every Series column.

Data types supported by Polars.

Other documentation

DataFrame module.


Type agnostic columnar data structure.

Testing utilities.



Use a global string cache for the Categorical Types.