[python-uk] A stack with better performance than using a list
stestagg at gmail.com
Thu Jun 8 04:54:14 EDT 2017
I honestly can't see a way to improve this in python. My best solution is:
stack = 
sa = stack.append
sp = stack.pop
si = stack.__getitem__
for line in lines:
meth = line[:3]
if meth == b'pus':
elif meth == b'pop':
parts = line[15:].split()
end = len(stack)-1
amount = int(parts)
for x in range(int(parts)):
index = end - x
stack[index] += amount
print(stack[-1] if stack else None)
which comes out about 25% faster than your solution.
One tool that's interesting to use here is: line_profiler:
putting a @profile decorator on the above main() call, and running with
kernprof produces the following output:
Line # Hits Time Per Hit % Time Line Contents
13 def main(lines):
14 1 4 4.0 0.0 stack = 
15 2000001 949599 0.5 11.5 for line in lines:
16 2000000 1126944 0.6 13.7 meth = line[:3]
17 2000000 974635 0.5 11.8 if meth == b'pus':
18 1000000 1002733 1.0 12.2
19 1000000 478756 0.5 5.8 elif meth ==
20 999999 597114 0.6 7.2 stack.pop()
22 1 6 6.0 0.0 parts =
23 1 2 2.0 0.0 end =
24 1 1 1.0 0.0 amount =
25 500001 241227 0.5 2.9 for x in
26 500000 273477 0.5 3.3 index =
end - x
27 500000 309033 0.6 3.7 stack[index]
28 2000000 2295803 1.1 27.8 print(stack[-1])
which shows that there's no obvious bottleneck (line by line) here (for my
Note the print() overhead dominates the runtime, and that's with me piping
the output to /dev/null directly.
I had a go at using arrays, deques, and numpy arrays in various ways
without luck, but we're getting fairly close to the native python statement
execution overhead here (hence folding it all into one function).
My only thoughts would be to see if there were some magic that could be
done by offloading the work onto a non-python library somehow.
Another thing that might help some situations (hence my previous questions)
would be to implement the add_to_first_n as a lazy operator (i.e. have a
stack of the add_to_first_n values and dynamically add to the results of
pop() but that would proabably be much slow in the average case.
On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 7:34 PM Jonathan Hartley <tartley at tartley.com> wrote:
> Thanks for engaging, but I can't help with the most important of those
> questions - the large data sets on which my solution failed due to timeout
> are hidden from candidates. Not unreasonable to assume that they do
> exercise deep stacks, and large args to add_to_first_n, etc.
> Yes, the input looks exactly like your example. All args are integers. The
> question asked for output corresponding to the top of the stack after every
> operation. I omitted this print from inside the 'for' loop in 'main',
> thinking it irrelevant.
> I converted to integers inside 'dispatch'. 'args' must have actually been
> created with:
> args = [int(i) for i in tokens[1:]]
> Where len(tokens) is never going to be bigger than 3.
> Return values (from 'pop') were unused.
> On 6/7/2017 13:25, Stestagg wrote:
> Do you have any more context?
> For example, is the add_to_first_n likely to be called with very large
> numbers, or very often? Does the stack get very deep, or stay shallow?
> I'm assuming that lines look like this:
> push 1
> push 2
> add_to_first_n 2 10
> with all arguments as integers, and the final value being returned from
> How did you convert from string inputs to numeric values?
> How did you manage return values?
> On Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 6:51 PM Jonathan Hartley <tartley at tartley.com>
>> I recently submitted a solution to a coding challenge, in an employment
>> context. One of the questions was to model a simple stack. I wrote a
>> solution which appended and popped from the end of a list. This worked, but
>> failed with timeouts on their last few automated tests with large (hidden)
>> data sets.
>> From memory, I think I had something pretty standard:
>> class Stack:
>> def __init__(self):
>> self.storage = 
>> def push(arg):
>> def pop():
>> return self.storage.pop() if self.storage else None
>> def add_to_first_n(n, amount):
>> for n in range(n):
>> self.storage[n] += amount
>> def dispatch(self, line)
>> tokens = line.split()
>> method = getattr(self, tokens)
>> args = tokens[1:]
>> def main(lines):
>> stack = Stack()
>> for line in lines:
>> (will that formatting survive? Apologies if not)
>> Subsequent experiments have confirmed that appending to and popping from
>> the end of lists are O(1), amortized.
>> So why is my solution too slow?
>> This question was against the clock, 4th question of 4 in an hour. So I
>> wasn't expecting to produce Cython or C optimised code in that timeframe
>> (Besides, my submitted .py file runs on their servers, so the environment
>> is limited.)
>> So what am I missing, from a performance perspective? Are there other
>> data structures in stdlib which are also O(1) but with a better constant?
>> Ah. In writing this out, I have begun to suspect that my slicing of
>> 'tokens' to produce 'args' in the dispatch is needlessly wasting time. Not
>> much, but some.
>> Thoughts welcome,
>> Jonathan Hartley tartley at tartley.com http://tartley.com
>> Made out of meat. +1 507-513-1101 <%28507%29%20513-1101> twitter/skype: tartley
>> python-uk mailing list
>> python-uk at python.org
> python-uk mailing listpython-uk at python.orghttps://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-uk
> Jonathan Hartley tartley at tartley.com http://tartley.com
> Made out of meat. +1 507-513-1101 <(507)%20513-1101> twitter/skype: tartley
> python-uk mailing list
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