Balanced trees

Joshua Landau joshua at
Tue Mar 18 01:08:27 CET 2014

On 17 March 2014 21:16, Daniel Stutzbach <stutzbach at> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 6:13 PM, Joshua Landau <joshua at> wrote:
>> Now, I understand there are downsides to blist. Particularly, I've
>> looked through the "benchmarks" and they seem untruthful.
> I worked hard to make those benchmarks as fair as possible.  I recognize
> that evaluating your own work always runs the risk of introducing hidden
> biases, and I welcome input on how they could be improved.

Thanks.  First, I want to state that there are two aspects to my
claim. The first is that these benchmarks to not represent typical
use-cases. I will not go too far into this, though, because it's
mostly obvious.

The second is that of the the flaws in the benchmarks themselves.

I'll go through in turn some that are apparent to me:

"Create from an iterator" gives me relatively different results when I
run it (Python 3).

"Delete a slice" is fudged from its inclusion of multiplication, which
is far faster on blists. I admit that it's not obvious how to fix

"First in, first out (FIFO)" should be "x.append(0); x.pop(0)".

"Last in, first out (LIFO)" should use "pop()" over "pop(-1)",
although I admit it shouldn't make a meaningful difference.

"Sort *" are really unfair because they put initialisation in the
timed part and all have keys. The benchmarks on Github are less bad,
but the website really should include all of them and fix the
remaining problems. I do understand that TimSort isn't the most suited
algorithm, though, so I won't read too far into these results.

Further, some of these tests don't show growth where they should, such
as in getitem. The growth is readily apparent when measured as such:

>>> python -m timeit -s "from random import choice; import blist; lst = blist.blist(range(10**0))" "choice(lst)"
1000000 loops, best of 3: 1.18 usec per loop

>>> python -m timeit -s "from random import choice; import blist; lst = blist.blist(range(10**8))" "choice(lst)"
1000000 loops, best of 3: 1.56 usec per loop

Lower size ranges are hidden by the function-call overhead.
Perhaps this effect is to do with caching, in which case the limits of
the cache should be explained more readily.

Nevertheless, my enthusiasm for blist as an alternative stdlib
implementation remains. There are obvious and large advantages to be
had, sometimes when you wouldn't even expect. The slower aspects of
blist are also rarely part of the bottlenecks of programs. So yeah, go
for it.

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