NetLogo Table Extension


The table extension is pre-installed in NetLogo.

To use the table extension in your model, add a line to the top of your Code tab:

extensions [table]

If your model already uses other extensions, then it already has an extensions line in it, so just add table to the list.

For more information on using NetLogo extensions, see the Extensions Guide

When to Use

In general, anything you can do with an table in NetLogo, you could also just use a list for. But you may want to consider using an table instead for speed reasons. Lists and tables have different performance characteristics, so you may be able to make your model run faster by selecting the appropriate data structure.

Tables are useful when you need to do associate values with other values. For example, you might make a table of words and their definitions. Then you can look up the definition of any word. Here, the words are the "keys". You can easily retrieve the value for any key in the table, but not vice versa.

Unlike NetLogo’s lists and strings, tables are “mutable”. That means that you can actually modify them directly, rather than constructing an altered copy as with lists. If the table is used in more than one place in your code, any changes you make will show up everywhere. It’s tricky to write code involving mutable structures and it’s easy to make subtle errors or get surprising results, so we suggest sticking with lists and strings unless you’re certain you want and need mutability.


Manipulating Tables

If the same key is used with table:put more than once for the same table, the value provided to last call of table:put will be the value shown when table:get is used. Here is an example:

Because tables are mutable, manipulating existing values should be done by calling table:get or table:get-or-default on a key, transforming the returned value, and then calling table:put to update the transformed value in the table. Here is an example procedure which increments a value in a table at a given key. If the key doesn’t exist, it puts a 1 at that key instead.

As increment-table-value shows, when a table is given as an input for a procedure, modifications made to it with table:put, table:remove, or table:clear are reflected in the original value outside of the procedure. This is different behavior than with list values, which are immutable and so cannot be changed when given as inputs. Caution needs to be exercised when using let or set, as they can give a different variable name to the same table. If you change the value for a key in the table using one variable, any other variables assigned that same table will also reflect the change.

If you want to create a copy of a table instead of assigning the same table to multiple variable names, here is a simple reporter for creating a duplicate table from an existing one:

And here is a sample usage of the copy-table reporter:

Key Restrictions

Table keys are limited to the following NetLogo types:

If you attempt to use an illegal value, the table extension will raise an exception, as shown in the following example.


table:clear table:counts table:group-agents table:group-items table:from-list table:from-json-file table:get table:get-or-default table:has-key? table:keys table:length table:make table:put table:remove table:to-list table:values


table:clear table

Removes all key-value pairs from table.


table:counts list

Counts the occurrences of each element of the given list and reports the counts in a table.


table:group-agents agentset anonymous reporter

Groups the agents in the agentset based on the given reporter. Agents that report the same thing for reporter will be grouped together. The results of the reporter will be used as the keys in the resulting table and the groups will be agentsets.

For example:

observer> create-turtles 100 [ set color one-of [ red green blue ] ]
observer> show table:group-agents turtles [ color ]
observer: {{table: [[105 (agentset, 38 turtles)] [55 (agentset, 32 turtles)] [15 (agentset, 30 turtles)]]}}


table:group-items list anonymous-reporter

Groups the items of the list based on the given reporter. The reporter should take a single argument, which will be the items of the list. Items that report the same thing when passed to the reporter will be grouped together. The results of the reporter will be used as the keys in the resulting table and the groups will be lists.

For example:

observer> show table:group-items range 10 [ num -> num mod 3 ]
observer: {{table: [[0 [0 3 6 9]] [1 [1 4 7]] [2 [2 5 8]]]}}


table:from-list list

Reports a new table with the contents of list. list must be a list of two element lists, or pairs. The first element in the pair is the key and the second element is the value.


table:from-json-file filename

Reads in the JSON object from *filename.json*, converts it to a table and reports the table.
The JSON object in *filename.json* must be an object, not an array (i.e. the outmost characters of the file must be `{` and `}`, not `[` and `]`),
but there can be arrays inside the JSON object which will be converted to NetLogo lists.


table:get table key

Reports the value that key is mapped to in the table. Causes an error if there is no entry for the key.


table:get-or-default table key default-value

Reports the value that key is mapped to in the table. Reports the default-value if there is no entry for the key.


table:has-key? table key

Reports true if key has an entry in table.


table:keys table

Reports a list of all the keys in table, in the same order the keys were inserted.


table:length table

Reports the number of entries in table.



Reports a new, empty table.


table:put table key value

Maps key to value in table. If an entry already exists in the table for the given key, it is replaced.


table:remove table key

Removes the mapping in table for key.


table:to-list table

Reports a list with the content of table. The list will be a list of two element lists, or pairs. The first element in the pair is the key and the second element is the value. The keys appear in the same order they were inserted.


table:values table

Reports a list with the entries of table. The entries will appear in the same order they were inserted, with duplicates included.