Looking for a pattern in a list

I've created this function that looks for sequences in a list. If [1,2,3] exists, it will print True. I've tested the code and it works fine.

def looking_patt(pattern,cursor,found):
big_s = []
for i in range(1,101):
if i % 10 == 0:
big_s.extend([1,2,3])
else:
big_s.append(i)
# check control
print(big_s)

for i in big_s:
if i == pattern[cursor]:
cursor += 1
if cursor == len(pattern):
found.append(pattern)
print(found)
cursor = 0
else:
cursor = 0

print(len(found) > 0)


Part of the script (the for i in big_s:) has been taken from an answer in this SO question.

How can it be improved?

I guess that the first part of your code is just to initialize the sample data.

Then here are a few things:

• Separate initialization and main loop. I know this is just an exercise, but always doing it will help you keep the mindset.
• If you only need to count something, just count it. Don't keep track of everything.
• If you only need to check the existence of something, use a boolean value and return as soon as you've found it. Adding elements to a list so that at the end you can count them and return a boolean based on the count is definitely not an efficient way to do it.
• What you call cursor is actually an integer, not an object, so the name index may be more appropriate
• If you want to give the chance to start searching from a specific index, you may also want to have a default value for that parameter (0 looks like a good choice)
• You don't need the third parameter, that's what you are going to return

This is my attempt at it:

big_s = []

def init_big_s():
for i in range(1,101):
if i % 10 == 0:
big_s.extend([1,2,3])
else:
big_s.append(i)

def looking_patt(pattern, index=0):
for i in big_s:
if i == pattern[index]:
index += 1
if index == len(pattern):
return True
else:
index = 0
return False

init_big_s()
print looking_patt([1, 2, 3])

• Hi @chatterone, thanks for your feedback. ok for separating the functionS, this is what I did initially but I said to myself Hey why not put everything into one umbrella? Can you explain a bit more If you only need to check the existence of something, use a boolean value and return as soon as you've found it. Adding elements to a list so that at the end you can count them and return a boolean based on the count is definitely not an efficient way to do it. this part? Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 9:35
• @AndyK if you don't need to compute something, just don't do it :-) If the purpose of the function was to return the patterns that you found, you may have had a point. But if all you need is a check that the pattern exists, just return True as soon as the first pattern is found, no need to save the elements. Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 10:50