profiling differences using an extra function call

Lie Ryan lie.1296 at
Tue Nov 24 03:08:24 CET 2009

marc magrans de abril wrote:
> Hi,
> I was a trying to profile a small script and after shrinking the code
> to the minimum I got a interesting profile difference.
> Given two test functions test1 and test2, that only differs from an
> extra level of indirection (i.e. find_substr), 

That's because there is a function call overhead.

> I wonder why I got a
> timming difference >50%? 

A very simple function body will (in terms of percentage) have larger 
function overhead. With a slightly more complex function body, the body 
will takes much more time than the function call overhead.

> What is the recommended way to factorize the
> code? Should I write a big method containing everything?

Look in the absolute numbers: 0.666 CPU seconds vs. 0.248 CPU seconds 
over 1000000 loops means if you put everything into one big method 
you'll only save 418 nanoseconds per loop. Even over 1000000 loops; you 
only save 0.418 seconds. Is it worth optimizing?

> ----Profiles test1
> Profiles results:
>         1000003 function calls in 0.666 CPU seconds
> ----Profile test2:
>          3 function calls in 0.248 CPU seconds

I got a more striking difference: 5.291 CPU seconds vs 0.589 CPU 
seconds. But knowing how the profiler works, this is to be expected. 
Function call overhead become much (and I mean much) heavier with 
profiler ON. I get a more sane result with timing manually:

import time
start = time.time()
print time.time() - start

start = time.time()
print time.time() - start

It's 1.186 vs 0.608, which is blink of an eye vs. blink of an eye.

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