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Re: The performance cost of using exceptions?
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Date: 2000-05-16 (10:37)
From: Frank Atanassow <franka@c...>
Subject: Re: The performance cost of using exceptions?
Markus Mottl writes:
 > > Are programs written to make heavy use of exceptions going to be markedly
 > > slower than programs written more traditionally with loops/ifs, etc?
 > That depends on how you use them. It is well possible to do this in such a
 > way that you actually increase performance.
 > For example, when inserting elements into a binary tree, the naive version
 > always copies the "spine" of the tree, even if the element is already a
 > member.
 > But if you use exceptions, you can "jump back" and can thus prevent the
 > spine from being copied. This normally reduces the load of the garbage
 > collector and yields some percent more performance.

I don't see how this would improve performance. If the element is in the tree,
you will be copying the spine until you descend to a point where you discover
the node exists. If you then escape via an exception, the copied nodes will be
collected. Otherwise (but it depends on your specification, I suppose) the
functional way would be to just return the subtree(s) intact, so there would
be no need to copy their spines. Either way, you're generating the same amount
of garbage.

Frank Atanassow, Dept. of Computer Science, Utrecht University
Padualaan 14, PO Box 80.089, 3508 TB Utrecht, Netherlands
Tel +31 (030) 253-1012, Fax +31 (030) 251-3791