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# Convert cell of strings to numbers

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Óscar on 25 Feb 2015
Commented: Óscar on 26 Feb 2015
Hallo, On the one hand I have a cell of strings (with around 400 elements) and on the other hand in a loop I have another element (different each time) so I have to find the position of that element at the big array each time. Which is really slow.... so my intention is to convert the cell to numbers (the other string as well) and then just find in the array of number one number.
Is that possible?
Thanks in advance!
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Óscar on 25 Feb 2015
Thanks, yes, this is my actual code:
aux=indexDictionary(ismember(dictionary,value));
where value is the string I want to seek in the dictionary which is something like:
dictionary ={'HOUSE';'CAT';'DOG';'WARDROBE';'BED';'MATTRESS';'SHEETS';'DESK';'LIGHT';....;};
And indexDictionary is just an array with these values: [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,..] so I can get the index of the word as easy as possible.
Then that line is inside a loop, so value is different each time. When I run the code with the Profiler tool, it executes that line around 200000 times which consumes more than 300s so I want to speed it up.
I don't really know how the function 'ismember' works, but I guess is faster for numbers than for strings. That's why I'd like to change the dictionary to a cell of int.
thanks

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### Accepted Answer

Guillaume on 25 Feb 2015
Neither the ismember nor the indexDictionary indirection is necessary:
aux = find(strcmp(dictionary, value), 1);
In all likelyhood ismember dispatches to strcmp when given strings, so bypass the middleman which you don't need in your case.
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Óscar on 26 Feb 2015
Thank, This is the fastest way, with this line instead of the previous one the elapsed time is reduced from 300 to 28s.

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### More Answers (2)

Azzi Abdelmalek on 25 Feb 2015
str = {'a' 'b' 'c' 'd' 'e' 'f'}
w='c'
out=find(ismember(str,w))
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Sara on 25 Feb 2015
If your cell array includes only numbers, you can use cell2mat
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