[Python-Dev] Retrieve an arbitrary element from a set without removing it
w.richert at gmx.net
Fri Oct 23 22:53:24 CEST 2009
surprised about the performance of for/break provided by Vitor, I did some
more testing. It revealed that indeed we can forget the get() (which was
implemented as a stripped down pop()):
from timeit import *
stats = ["for i in xrange(1000): iter(s).next() ",
"for i in xrange(1000): \n\tfor x in s: \n\t\tbreak ",
"for i in xrange(1000): s.add(s.pop()) ",
"for i in xrange(1000): s.get() "]
for stat in stats:
t = Timer(stat, setup="s=set(range(100))")
print "Time for %s:\t %f"%(stat, t.timeit(number=1000))
Time for for i in xrange(1000): iter(s).next() : 0.433080
Time for for i in xrange(1000):
for x in s:
break : 0.148695
Time for for i in xrange(1000): s.add(s.pop()) : 0.317418
Time for for i in xrange(1000): s.get() : 0.146673
In some tests, for/break was even slightly faster then get().
As always, intuition regarding performance bottlenecks is flawed ;-)
Anyway, thanks for all the helpful comments, especially to Stefan for the
Am Freitag, 23. Oktober 2009 19:25:48 schrieb John Arbash Meinel:
> Vitor Bosshard wrote:
> > 2009/10/23 Willi Richert <w.richert at gmx.net>:
> >> Hi,
> >> recently I wrote an algorithm, in which very often I had to get an
> >> arbitrary element from a set without removing it.
> >> Three possibilities came to mind:
> >> 1.
> >> x = some_set.pop()
> >> some_set.add(x)
> >> 2.
> >> for x in some_set:
> >> break
> >> 3.
> >> x = iter(some_set).next()
> >> Of course, the third should be the fastest. It nevertheless goes through
> >> all the iterator creation stuff, which costs some time. I wondered, why
> >> the builtin set does not provide a more direct and efficient way for
> >> retrieving some element without removing it. Is there any reason for
> >> this?
> >> I imagine something like
> >> x = some_set.get()
> > I see this as being useful for frozensets as well, where you can't get
> > an arbitrary element easily due to the obvious lack of .pop(). I ran
> > into this recently, when I had a frozenset that I knew had 1 element
> > (it was the difference between 2 other sets), but couldn't get to that
> > element easily (get the pun?)
> So in my testing (2) was actually the fastest. I assumed because .next()
> was a function call overhead, while:
> for x in some_set:
> Was evaluated inline. It probably still has to call PyObject_GetIter,
> however it doesn't have to create a stack frame for it.
> This is what "timeit" tells me. All runs are of the form:
> python -m timeit -s "s = set()" ...
> 0.101us "for x in s: break; x"
> 0.130us "for x in s: pass; x"
> 0.234us -s "n = next; i = iter" "x = n(i(s)); x"
> 0.248us "x = next(iter(s)); x"
> 0.341us "x = iter(s).next(); x"
> So 'for x in s: break' is about 2x faster than next(iter(s)) and 3x
> faster than (iter(s).next()).
> I was pretty surprised that it was 30% faster than "for x in s: pass". I
> assume it has something to do with a potential "else:" statement?
> Note that all of these are significantly < 1us. So this only matters if
> it is something you are doing often.
> I don't know your specific timings, but I would guess that:
> for x in s: break
> Is actually going to be faster than your
> Primarily because s.get() requires an attribute lookup. I would think
> your version might be faster for:
> stat2 = "g = s.get; for i in xrange(100): g()"
> However, that is still a function call, which may be treated differently
> by the interpreter than the for:break loop. I certainly suggest you try
> it and compare.
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