Refactor a buffered class...

George Sakkis george.sakkis at
Thu Sep 7 16:08:56 CEST 2006

Michael Spencer wrote:
> George Sakkis wrote:
> > Michael Spencer wrote:
> >
> >> Here's a small update to the generator that allows optional handling of the head
> >> and the tail:
> >>
> >> def chunker(s, chunk_size=3, sentry=".", keep_first = False, keep_last = False):
> >>      buffer=[]
> ...
> >
> > And here's a (probably) more efficient version, using a deque as a
> > buffer:
> >
> Perhaps the deque-based solution is more efficient under some conditions, but
> it's significantly slower for all the cases I tested:

First off, if you're going to profile something, better use the
standard timeit module rather than a quick, dirty and most likely buggy
handmade function. From "Dive into python": "The most important thing
you need to know about optimizing Python code is that you shouldn't
write your own timing function.". As it turns out, none of chunk_size,
words_per_group and word_length are taken into account in your tests;
they all have their default values. By the way, word_length is
irrelevant since the input is already a sequence, not a big string to
be split.

Second, the output of the two functions is different, so you're not
comparing apples to apples:
>>> s = " this .  is a . test to . check if it . works . well . it looks . like ."
>>> for c in chunkerMS(s.split(), keep_last=True, keep_first=True): print c
['this', '.']
['this', '.', 'is', 'a', '.']
['this', '.', 'is', 'a', '.', 'test', 'to', '.']
['is', 'a', '.', 'test', 'to', '.', 'check', 'if', 'it', '.']
['test', 'to', '.', 'check', 'if', 'it', '.', 'works', '.']
['check', 'if', 'it', '.', 'works', '.', 'well', '.']
['works', '.', 'well', '.', 'it', 'looks', '.']
['well', '.', 'it', 'looks', '.', 'like', '.']
['it', 'looks', '.', 'like', '.']
['like', '.']
>>> for c in chunkerGS(s.split(), keep_last=True, keep_first=True): print c
['this', 'is a']
['this', 'is a', 'test to']
['is a', 'test to', 'check if it']
['test to', 'check if it', 'works']
['check if it', 'works', 'well']
['works', 'well', 'it looks']
['well', 'it looks', 'like']
['it looks', 'like']

Third, and most important for the measured difference, is that the
performance hit in my function came from joining the words of each
group (['check', 'if', 'it'] -> 'check if it') every time it is
yielded. If the groups are left unjoined as in Michael's version, the
results are quite different:

* chunk_size=3
chunkerGS: 0.98 seconds
chunkerMS: 1.04 seconds
* chunk_size=30
chunkerGS: 0.98 seconds
chunkerMS: 1.17 seconds
* chunk_size=300
chunkerGS: 0.98 seconds
chunkerMS: 2.44 seconds

As expected, the deque solution is not affected by chunk_size. Here is
the full test:

from itertools import islice
from collections import deque

def chunkerMS(s, chunk_size=3, sentry=".", keep_first = False,
keep_last = False):
     sentry_count = 0
     for item in s:
         if item == sentry:
             sentry_count += 1
             if sentry_count < chunk_size:
                 if keep_first:
                     yield buffer
                 yield buffer
                 del buffer[:buffer.index(sentry)+1]
     if keep_last:
         while buffer:
             yield buffer
             del buffer[:buffer.index(sentry)+1]

def chunkerGS(seq, sentry='.', chunk_size=3, keep_first=False,
    buf = deque()
    iterchunks = itersplit(seq,sentry)
    for chunk in islice(iterchunks, chunk_size-1):
        if keep_first:
            yield buf
    for chunk in iterchunks:
        yield buf
    if keep_last:
        while buf:
            yield buf

def itersplit(seq, sentry='.'):
    # split the iterable `seq` on each `sentry`
    buf = []
    for x in seq:
        if x != sentry:
            yield buf
            buf = []
    if buf:
        yield buf

def make_seq(groups=1000, words_per_group=3, sentry='.'):
     group = ['w']*words_per_group
     return group*groups

if __name__ == '__main__':
    import timeit
    for chunk_size in 3,30,300:
        print "* chunk_size=%d" % chunk_size
        for func in chunkerGS,chunkerMS:
            name = func.__name__
            t = timeit.Timer(
                "for p in %s(s, chunk_size=%d, keep_last=True,"
                            "keep_first=True):pass" %
                "from chunkers import make_seq,chunkerGS,chunkerMS;"
                "s=make_seq(groups=5000, words_per_group=500)")
            print "%s: %.2f seconds" % (name, min(t.repeat(3,1)))

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