# Masking#

The purpose of masks in Scipp is to *exclude* regions of data from analysis, or to *select* regions of interest (ROIs). For example, we may mask data from sensors we know to be broken, or we may mask everything outside our ROI in an image.

In some cases direct *removal* of the bad data or data outside the ROI may be preferred. Masking provides an alternative solution, which lets us, e.g., modify the mask or remove it later.

NumPy provides support for masked arrays in the numpy.ma module. Scipp’s masking feature is conceptually similar, but is based on a *dictionary* of masks. Each mask is a `Variable`

, i.e., comes with explicit dimensions. Scipp can therefore store masks in a very space-efficient manner. For example, given an image stack with dimensions `('image', 'pixel_y', 'pixel_x')`

we may have a mask for “images” with dimensions `('image', )`

and a second mask defining the ROI with dimensions `('pixel_y', 'pixel_x')`

. The support for multiple masks also enables Scipp to selectively apply or preserve masks. For example, a sum over the ‘image’ dimension can preserve the ROI mask.

```
[1]:
```

```
import numpy as np
import scipp as sc
```

## Creating and manipulating masks#

Masks are simply variables with `dtype=bool`

:

```
[2]:
```

```
mask = sc.array(dims=['x'], values=[False, False, True])
mask
```

```
[2]:
```

- (x: 3)boolFalse, False, True
Values:

array([False, False, True])

Boolean operators can be used to manipulate such variables:

```
[3]:
```

```
print(~mask)
print(mask ^ mask)
print(mask & ~mask)
print(mask | ~mask)
```

```
<scipp.Variable> (x: 3) bool <no unit> [True, True, False]
<scipp.Variable> (x: 3) bool <no unit> [False, False, False]
<scipp.Variable> (x: 3) bool <no unit> [False, False, False]
<scipp.Variable> (x: 3) bool <no unit> [True, True, True]
```

Comparison operators such as `==`

, `!=`

, `<`

, or `>=`

(see also the list of comparison functions) are a common method of defining masks:

```
[4]:
```

```
var = sc.array(dims=['x'], values=np.random.random(5), unit='m')
mask2 = var < 0.5 * sc.Unit('m')
mask2
```

```
[4]:
```

- (x: 5)boolFalse, True, False, False, True
Values:

array([False, True, False, False, True])

## Masks in data arrays and items of dataset#

Data arrays and equivalently items of dataset can store arbitrary masks. Datasets themselves do not support masks. Masks are accessible using the `masks`

keyword-argument and property, which behaves in the same way as `coords`

:

```
[5]:
```

```
a = sc.DataArray(
data=sc.array(dims=['y', 'x'], values=np.arange(1.0, 7.0).reshape((2, 3))),
coords={'y': sc.arange('y', 2.0, unit='m'), 'x': sc.arange('x', 3.0, unit='m')},
masks={'x': sc.array(dims=['x'], values=[False, False, True])},
)
sc.show(a)
```

```
[6]:
```

```
b = a.copy()
b.masks['x'].values[1] = True
b.masks['y'] = sc.array(dims=['y'], values=[False, True])
```

Note that setting a mask does *not* affect the data.

Masks of dataset items are accessed using the `masks`

property of the item:

```
[7]:
```

```
ds = sc.Dataset(data={'a': a})
ds['a'].masks['x']
```

```
[7]:
```

- (x: 3)boolFalse, False, True
Values:

array([False, False, True])

## Operations with masked objects#

### Element-wise binary operations#

The result of operations between data arrays or dataset with masks contains the masks of both inputs. If both inputs contain a mask with the same name, the output mask is the combination of the input masks with an **OR** operation:

```
[8]:
```

```
a + b
```

```
[8]:
```

- y: 2
- x: 3

- x(x)float64m0.0, 1.0, 2.0
Values:

array([0., 1., 2.]) - y(y)float64m0.0, 1.0
Values:

array([0., 1.])

- (y, x)float64𝟙2.0, 4.0, ..., 10.0, 12.0
Values:

array([[ 2., 4., 6.], [ 8., 10., 12.]])

- x(x)boolFalse, True, True
Values:

array([False, True, True]) - y(y)boolFalse, True
Values:

array([False, True])

### Reduction operations#

Operations like `sum`

and `mean`

over a particular dimension cannot preserve masks that depend on this dimension. If this is the case, the mask is applied during the operation and is not present in the output:

```
[9]:
```

```
a.sum('x')
```

```
[9]:
```

- y: 2

- y(y)float64m0.0, 1.0
Values:

array([0., 1.])

- (y)float64𝟙3.0, 9.0
Values:

array([3., 9.])

The `mean`

operation takes into account that masking is reducing the number of points in the mean, i.e., masked elements are not counted (in contrast to, e.g., treating them as 0):

```
[10]:
```

```
a.mean('x')
```

```
[10]:
```

- y: 2

- y(y)float64m0.0, 1.0
Values:

array([0., 1.])

- (y)float64𝟙1.5, 4.5
Values:

array([1.5, 4.5])

If a mask does not depend on the dimension used for the `sum`

or `mean`

operation, it is preserved. Here `b`

has two masks, one that is applied and one that is preserved:

```
[11]:
```

```
b.sum('x')
```

```
[11]:
```

- y: 2

- y(y)float64m0.0, 1.0
Values:

array([0., 1.])

- (y)float64𝟙1.0, 4.0
Values:

array([1., 4.])

- y(y)boolFalse, True
Values:

array([False, True])

### Binning and resampling operations#

Operations like `bin`

and `rebin`

over a particular dimension cannot preserve masks that depend on this dimension. In those cases, just like for reduction operations, masks are applied before the operation:

`bin`

treats masked bins as empty.`rebin`

treats masked bins as zero.

In both cases the masks that are applied during the operation are not included in the masks of the output. Masks that are independent of the binning dimension(s) are unaffected and included in the output.