Frequently asked questions

Does Quilt support numpy arrays?

How much data can I put into Quilt?

There no limit on public data, as shown in our Pricing grid.
In practice, users have been successful with packages at 2TB of total size with up to 40,000 individual files.
We are constantly upping the amount of data users can put into Quilt. Contact us if you have questions about large data.

Where are my data stored?

  • Local builds (without quilt push) - on your machine
  • qultdata.com user - in S3; if your package is private only you can read the data
  • Teams user - in a dedicated S3 bucket
  • Running your own registry - up to you :-)

How do I convert a package into files?

You can use quilt export.

How do install the latest quilt (compiler) directly from GitHub?

For developers only:
pip install git+https://github.com/quiltdata/quilt.git#subdirectory=compiler
See also this SO post for further install options.

How do I use Quilt with Google Cloud Datalab?

  • Installation: pip install quilt --user, the User icon (upper right) > About > Restart server
  • Prefer Python 3 kernels

quilt login doesn't present a textbox for my login code in Jupyter

  • Try a Python 3 kernel

ImportError on import of data package

Ensure that that the package has been installed via quilt install.

(Windows) ImportError when accessing package contents

pyarrow module, used by quilt, may fail to import because of missing DLLs:
File "C:\Program Files\Python36\lib\site-packages\pyarrow\__init__.py", line 32, in <module>
from pyarrow.lib import cpu_count, set_cpu_count
ImportError: DLL load failed: The specified module could not be found.

!pip install quilt in Jupyter doesn't work

Installing packages inside of Python kernels can be flaky. The reason? Jupyter's Python kernels are disconnected from virtual environments.
To work around this issue, Install Quilt from Jupyter Terminal, or from your operating system terminal.
For details, including how to make !pip install quilt work, see Installing Python Packages from a Jupyter Notebook.

Jupyter, virtual environments, quilt not found

When working with virtual environments like conda create, jupyter can be installed in the root environment. If you then install and run quilt in another environment, foo, Jupyter will not be able to find quilt.


Install quilt in the root environment, or install Jupyter in foo (run which jupyter in Jupyter's Terminal to ensure that you're using the environment local Jupyter).
Alternatively, pip install quilt from Jupyter's Terminal.

Avoid pandas index_col

This keyword argument should be temporarily avoided in build.yml as it causes pyarrow to hiccup on serialization.

Packages missing after upgrade to Quilt 2.8

Quilt 2.8 changes where data packages are stored on your local machine.
As a result, Quilt will no longer look for packages in quilt_packages directories. You will need to reinstall any previously installed packages. Locally built packages can be rebuilt. Or, to migrate existing packages to the new store without rebuilding, first revert to an earlier version of Quilt, then push your packages to the Quilt registry.
pip install quilt==2.7.1
quilt push <your_username>/<your_package>
Once your packages are stored at the registry, you can upgrade to quilt 2.8.0 (or later) and re-install them.
pip install --upgrade quilt
quilt install <your_username>/<your_package>

ArrowNotImplementedError when saving a large dataframe

Unfortunately, this is caused by a bug in pyarrow.
There does not appear to be a way to save a dataframe with a string column whose size is over 2GB. It is possible, however, to split it up into multiple dataframes (which will then get merged into one when accessed).


Suppose the problematic dataframe is called big_data, it comes from big_data.csv, and the root of your package is in my_dir.
First, delete the dataframe from the build file, my_dir/build.yml. (If you were building directly from a directory, then run quilt generate my_dir first.)
Build a temporary package that contains the rest of the data:
quilt build user/pkg_partial my_dir/build.yml
Open a Python shell or write a script, and manually build the final package:
import quilt
import pandas as pd
from quilt.data.user import pkg_partial
# Read the dataframe.
data = pd.read_csv('my_dir/big_data.csv')
# Add it to the partial package.
# You will need to adjust the number of pieces and number of rows per piece
pkg_partial._set(['big_data', 'part1'], data[0:1500000])
pkg_partial._set(['big_data', 'part2'], data[1500000:])
# Build the final package.
quilt.build('user/pkg', pkg_partial)
# Import the new package.
from quilt.data.user import pkg
# Get a merged dataframe. You can also access pkg.big_data.part1(), etc. if needed.
new_data = pkg.big_data()
# Make sure the dataframe in the package is in fact the same as the original.
assert new_data.equals(data)
Symbolic links on Windows have a few quirks to be aware of.
  • Ensure Windows is fully updated (known related bugs exist)
  • Escalate administrator privileges ("run as admin"), or validate user privileges
    • See this SuperUser article for relevant instructions
    • If UAC is on
      • If user is not an administrator, they must have the Create Symbolic Links privilege
      • If user is an administrator, they must escalate privileges, even if they have the Create Symbolic Links privilege
        • This means if you want a user to create symlinks without requiring escalation, they may not be an administrator.
    • If UAC is off
      • Any user with the Create Symbolic Links privilege may do so
  • Folder-level privileges may interfere with symlinking
    • Verify there are no folder-specific restrictions on privileges
  • Symlink type may be disabled, as it is by default for remote->remote symlinks

Segmentation fault (core dumped)

Seen on Ubuntu 18.04, Google Cloud Platform.


sudo pip install quilt # ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

TypeError: data type "mixed-integer" not understood when reading a DataFrame from a package

This error occurs when trying to round-trip Pandas DataFrames that have a column name that is a number to Parquet using Arrow 0.9. This can occur during quilt build for package nodes built using the Pandas "skiprows" parameter in read_csv or read_excel to skip a source file's header row (usually row 0). For example, this build.yml file, skips the header row in source.xlsx:
file: source.xlsx
skiprows: [0,...]
names: ['column0',...]


How to access private packages from a remote machine, without quilt.login

You can copy your login session to a remote machine. Your session is stored in a file called auth.json in your local settings directory. If you copy it to the proper location on your remote machine, it will be as if you had logged in from that machine.
You can find your local settings directory on any machine that has quilt installed by running this Python snippet:
from quilt.tools.util import BASE_DIR
Please note that this secret token confers full access to your Quilt account, so proceed with caution and keep your secrets safe.
Tokens do expire, so you may have to load a new token on your remote machines every 90 days or so. If you're having authentication issues on your remote machines, please try performing a fresh login on your local machine, and uploading your new token to your remote machines.
Last modified 2yr ago