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[Caml-list] Gripes with array
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Date: 2004-09-09 (19:10)
From: Jon Harrop <jon@j...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Gripes with array
On Thursday 09 September 2004 10:37, Damien wrote:
> ...
> > Am I right in thinking that the maximum
> > non-float array size on a 64-bit machine is 18,014,398,509,481,983?
> That's correct.  It's a good thing that 32-bitters are on their way out.

If I upgrade I'll surely end up playing Doom 3 and not get any work 
done... :-)

> > Also, can Array.init be made to fill the elements only once?
> No, that's impossible without breaking the GC invariants.

Could it not even be done by dragging Array.init inside the compiler, giving 
it the same status as Array.make?

> >  This would make quite a few things twice as fast
> Twice?  I doubt it very much.

That was an estimate based upon the assumption that, on large arrays (well, 
~4M elements ;-), the time taken is limited by the filling of elements which 
is currently done twice but which only needs to be done once. I believe this 
is justified because of the high-cost of memory writes (to main memory for 
out-of-cache sized arrays), even sequential ones, compared to (trivial, 
inlineable) function calls, a single heap allocation etc.

What is the bottleneck in the asymptotic limit?

For measurements on 4,000,000 element int arrays (using the code at the end of 
this mail) I get:

Array.make took 0.131528823272 secs.
Array.init took 0.311059344899 secs.
array_init took 0.179279577732 secs.

Measuring memset from C gives me 0.0311secs. So element-setting must be at 
least 10% of Array.init. Also, the array_init function is surprisingly fast, 
presumably due to "f" not being inlined into Array.init but being inlined 
into array_init.

This came up because my wavelet transform code in OCaml is within 15% of the 
performance of my equivalent C version excluding the cost of creating the 
array. Including that cost (even with calloc), the C version is twice as 
fast. Admittedly calloc will use memset, and not set the elements "properly", 
but even so...

> > let copy a = init (length a) (fun i -> a.(i))
> Exactly how it's written now, except that it's inlined by hand for
> performance reasons.

Array.copy took 0.298557505888 secs.
array_copy took 0.315200943696 secs.

This optimisation gives a <6% performance improvement (and this is really 
best-case for large arrays because the filling-function is trivial in this 
case). I'd have gone for five times less code in the array module and more 
code in the compiler... ;-)

Perhaps the current versions are significantly faster on smaller data 



let f i = 1+i

let array_init l =
  if l = 0 then [||] else
  let res = Array.make l (f 0) in
  for i = 1 to pred l do
    Array.unsafe_set res i (f i)

let array_copy a = Array.init (Array.length a) (fun i -> Array.unsafe_get a i)

let time f =
  let time = Unix.gettimeofday in
  let t = time () in
  ignore (f ());
  (time ()) -. t

let _ =
  let timings = Array.make 5 (0., 0) in
  let l = 4000000 in
  let a = Array.make l 0 in
  for i=0 to 100 do
    let entry = Random.int 5 in
    let t =
      time (match entry with
	0 -> fun () -> Array.make l 0
      | 1 -> fun () -> Array.init l f
      | 2 -> fun () -> array_init l
      | 3 -> fun () -> Array.copy a
      | 4 -> fun () -> array_copy a)
    timings.(entry) <-
      let (ot, n) = timings.(entry) in
      (ot +. t, n+1);
  let entry = [| "Array.make";
		 "array_copy" |] in
  for i=0 to 4 do
    print_endline (entry.(i)^": "^(string_of_int (snd timings.(i))))
  let timings =
    Array.map (fun (t, n) -> string_of_float (t /. float_of_int n)) timings in
  for i=0 to 4 do
    print_endline (entry.(i)^" took "^timings.(i)^" secs.")


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