Python garbage collector/memory manager behaving strangely

Dave Angel d at davea.name
Mon Sep 17 04:12:46 CEST 2012


On 09/16/2012 09:07 PM, Jadhav, Alok wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
>
>  
>
> I have a simple program which reads a large file containing few million
> rows, parses each row (`numpy array`) and converts into an array of
> doubles (`python array`) and later writes into an `hdf5 file`. I repeat
> this loop for multiple days. After reading each file, i delete all the
> objects and call garbage collector.  When I run the program, First day
> is parsed without any error but on the second day i get `MemoryError`. I
> monitored the memory usage of my program, during first day of parsing,
> memory usage is around **1.5 GB**. When the first day parsing is
> finished, memory usage goes down to **50 MB**. Now when 2nd day starts
> and i try to read the lines from the file I get `MemoryError`. Following
> is the output of the program.
>
>  
>
>  
>
>     source file extracted at C:\rfadump\au\2012.08.07.txt
>
>     parsing started
>
>     current time: 2012-09-16 22:40:16.829000
>
>     500000 lines parsed
>
>     1000000 lines parsed
>
>     1500000 lines parsed
>
>     2000000 lines parsed
>
>     2500000 lines parsed
>
>     3000000 lines parsed
>
>     3500000 lines parsed
>
>     4000000 lines parsed
>
>     4500000 lines parsed
>
>     5000000 lines parsed
>
>     parsing done.
>
>     end time is 2012-09-16 23:34:19.931000
>
>     total time elapsed 0:54:03.102000
>
>     repacking file
>
>     done
>
>     > s:\users\aaj\projects\pythonhf\rfadumptohdf.py(132)generateFiles()
>
>     -> while single_date <= self.end_date:
>
>     (Pdb) c
>
>     *** 2012-08-08 ***
>
>     source file extracted at C:\rfadump\au\2012.08.08.txt
>
>     cought an exception while generating file for day 2012-08-08.
>
>     Traceback (most recent call last):
>
>       File "rfaDumpToHDF.py", line 175, in generateFile
>
>         lines = self.rawfile.read().split('|\n')
>
>     MemoryError
>
>  
>
> I am very sure that windows system task manager shows the memory usage
> as **50 MB** for this process. It looks like the garbage collector or
> memory manager for Python is not calculating the free memory correctly.
> There should be lot of free memory but it thinks there is not enough. 
>
>  
>
> Any idea?
>
>  
>
> Thanks.
>
>  
>
>  
>
> Alok Jadhav
>
> CREDIT SUISSE AG
>
> GAT IT Hong Kong, KVAG 67
>
> International Commerce Centre | Hong Kong | Hong Kong
>
> Phone +852 2101 6274 | Mobile +852 9169 7172
>
> alok.jadhav at credit-suisse.com | www.credit-suisse.com
> <http://www.credit-suisse.com/> 
>
>  
>

Don't blame CPython.  You're trying to do a read() of a large file,
which will result in a single large string.  Then you split it into
lines.  Why not just read it in as lines, in which case the large string
isn't necessary.   Take a look at the readlines() function.  Chances are
that even that is unnecessary, but i can't tell without seeing more of
the code.

  lines = self.rawfile.read().split('|\n')

   lines = self.rawfile.readlines()

When a single large item is being allocated, it's not enough to have
sufficient free space, the space also has to be contiguous.  After a
program runs for a while, its space naturally gets fragmented more and
more.  it's the nature of the C runtime, and CPython is stuck with it.



-- 

DaveA



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