Execution speed question

Fredrik Lundh fredrik at pythonware.com
Fri Jul 25 16:51:42 CEST 2008

Iain King wrote:

> I think (2)'s poor performance is being amplified by how python
> handles lists and list deletions; the effect may be stymied in other
> languages

Delete is O(n) (or "O(n/2) on average", if you prefer), while append is 
amortized O(1).

Unless I'm missing something, your example keeps going until it's 
flagged *all* nodes as "on", which, obviously, kills performance for the 
first version as the probability goes down.  The OP's question was about 
a single pass (but he did mention "as the simulation progresses", so I 
guess it's fair to test a complete simulation.)

Btw, if the nodes can be enumerated, I'd probably do something like:

     node_list = ... get list of nodes ...

     start = 0
     end = len(node_list)
     step = end / MAX

     while start < end:

         for i in xrange(start, start + step):
             ... switch on node_list[i] ...

         ... do whatever you want to do after a step ...

         # prepare for next simulation step
         start += step
         step = max((len(node_list) - start) / MAX, 1)

which is near O(n) overall, and mostly constant wrt. the probability for 
each pass (where the probability is 1:MAX).

Might need some tuning; tweak as necessary.


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