The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Yet even more stupid benchmarks

Yet another silly optimization problem. This time, from a silly coding challenge to find the number of integers expressible with unique digits (that is, no single digit repeats) in a base-10 representation up to the value 10,000,000,000 (there are 8,877,690 such numbers, by the way).

The neatest and fastest solution was final program on this page, written in C#. It generates only such numbers; it doesn't try to test each number. Since I don't use C#, I decided to translate the code in C to play around with it. Wasn't all that hard:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

int total = 0;
const int pre[(1 << 10) + 1] /* = { ... } */ ;

void generate2(
        int maxlen,
        int currentlen,
        int availabledigits,
        int currentvalue
  int last = (currentlen == maxlen - 1);
  int x    = availabledigits;
  while(x != 0)
    int digit = pre[x ^ (x & (x - 1))];
    x &= (x - 1);
    if (digit == 0 && currentvalue == 0)
    if (last)
        currentlen + 1,
        availabledigits & ~(1 << digit),
        (currentvalue * 10) + digit

int main(int argc,char *argv[])
  int len;
  for (len = 1 ; len <= 10 ; len++)
    generate2(len,0,0xFFF >> 2,0);

  printf("total: %d\n",total);
  return EXIT_SUCCESS;

I pregenerated the pre[] array since I wanted this to run as fast as possible. The code used to generate the array:

for (i = 0 ; i <= 10 ; i++)
  pre[1 << i] = i;

Anyway, once written and compiled (gcc -O4 -fomit-frame-pointer f.c) it ran in about 0.2 seconds (average run) on a 2.6GHz machine. Fast, but I could go faster by running it across the two CPUs in the box. I was expecting about half the runtime, since this is easily parallelizable.

It ran in about 0.16 seconds, a rather disappointing ¾ time. I commented out the code in generate2() just to test the overhead of threading and syncronization and that isn't a factor (program ran in 0.001 seconds).

Undaunted, I decided to try one of the quad-core boxes at The Office. Reworked the code a bit to split the load between four CPUs as evenly as possible, and ran some tests.

0.13 seconds on average. Still not quite half the speed.

Hmmm …

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