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David Harvey: would like to experiment further with speeding up object construction
Email announcing the project from David Harvey
hi people,
Just want to float an idea for discussion and possibly a coding sprint at SD3.
Some background: Today I did some work on speeding up getting coefficients out of NTL objects, specifically polynomials in Z[x]. It's much improved now; when you request a coefficient of an NTL ZZX object, it copies the bytes directly into a new Integer object, instead of what it used to do (which went via a C string in decimal, and a python string, and a python long, etc etc).
But still what is taking a lot of time is constructing the Integer object. In fact, it's quite embarrasing: it takes us about half as long to construct 100,000 Integer objects as NTL takes to *multiply* two polynomials with 100,000 small coefficients:
sage: time for i in range(100000): pass CPU times: user 0.05 s, sys: 0.00 s, total: 0.05 s sage: time for i in range(100000): x = None CPU times: user 0.09 s, sys: 0.00 s, total: 0.09 s sage: time for i in range(100000): x = int() CPU times: user 0.16 s, sys: 0.00 s, total: 0.17 s sage: time for i in range(100000): x = Integer() CPU times: user 0.36 s, sys: 0.00 s, total: 0.36 s sage: f = PolynomialRing(ZZ, "x")([ZZ.random_element() for _ in range (100000)]) sage: time g = f*f CPU times: user 0.76 s, sys: 0.02 s, total: 0.79 s
This is despite all the work we put into this at SD2.
It would be good to be able to optimise object construction in general. Unfortunately I think the general case is a very difficult problem. Anyone who worked on this at SD2 will agree, I'm sure
On the other hand, I would wager that construction of Integer objects is by far the most important. So perhaps we should give up some beauty and unity of code to just get Integers working damn fast. So here's what I propose: at SD3, let's try writing an experimental pure C function for constructing Integers that gets inserted into whatever tp_xyz slot is appropriate. I don't care if it has to deal directly with mangled pyrex names or whatever. From memory, all it needs to do is: (1) reference counting on the integer ring (ha ha we could even skip this if we could guarantee that noone else ever resets the parent, and that there is always at least one reference to the integer ring lying around somewhere) (2) malloc some space for the actual python object (3) fill in some fields, like the TypeObject* (4) mpz_init
Let's skip all the function calls, all the crap that pyrex puts in, etc etc. Basically the only stuff left that will really suck up time is the two malloc calls. We could even try writing a buffering system for mallocing space for a whole bunch of Integers at once, if that proves to be taking up time.
Similarly we would need a destructor.
I'm sure it's not quite as simple as what I've put in the above list, but let's just see what we can do. I would like it to be as close as possible to the int() construction time. We still are a factor of > 2 away.
David
Email back from William
> (1) reference counting on the integer ring (ha ha we could even skip > this if we could guarantee that noone else ever resets the parent, > and that there is always at least one reference to the integer ring > lying around somewhere) There is my integer with the integer ring  it should be immutable and create at module load time and there should only ever be exactly one copy of it. I think we should definitely be allowed to forgot about reference counting for it. > (2) malloc some space for the actual python object > (3) fill in some fields, like the TypeObject* > (4) mpz_init You should put (0) or (5) object pool as an important step  this "object pool" idea is one of the tricks that Python uses for its ints. For example, in your benchmark: time for i in range(10^5): x = int() Python is looking up and returning exactly the same int (the 0) every time: sage: int() is int() True sage: a = 999038r; b=999038r sage: a is b True In contrast, when you do Integer(), so is creating a new integer object every time, and probably (?) also freeing one: sage: Integer() is Integer() False sage: a = 999038; b=999038 sage: a is b False > Let's skip all the function calls, all the crap that pyrex puts in, > etc etc. Basically the only stuff left that will really suck up time > is the two malloc calls. We could even try writing a buffering system > for mallocing space for a whole bunch of Integers at once, if that > proves to be taking up time. > > Similarly we would need a destructor. Or return objects to the pool  this can also speed up desctructing, since you just don't do it! > I'm sure it's not quite as simple as what I've put in the above list, > but let's just see what we can do. I would like it to be as close as > possible to the int() construction time. We still are a factor of > 2 > away. This project is very very well worth pursing.  William
Some Ideas from Robert Bradshaw
Some thoughts: I think a pool is a very important idea to consider. I can think of two instances where 1000's of integer objects would be created: first, in some large object such as a matrix or polynomial (in which case there should be a specialized type) and second in some huge loop (in which case a pool would help immensely). Also, it'd be interesting to look at the distribution, but I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of integers (ephemerally) created were relatively smallsay < 100s. Zero and one especially are used all over. Similar to the pool idea, it might be worth allocating the first 100 integers and whenever you want to create a "small" integer, it would simply return one of these. (I think small onelimb mpz_t's can be detected very easily with mpz_size and a bit mask.) Of course, using python ints might be in order for many of these cases too. A related idea came up in the discussion we had here on linear algebra. Right now if one wants to optimize linear algebra over a new ring one must reimplement matrix multiplication, addition, etc. The generic algorithms request an entries (as a Python object), perform the arithmetic, then store the resulting python object. This can be hugely inefficient. Rather, what if the matrix had void* methods _get_unsafe_raw(i,j) and _set_unsafe_raw(i,j), and the corresponding ring had _add_raw(), _mul_raw(), etc. Also, the ring could have _get_raw() and _create_from_raw(). For the integer ring, these would return mpz_t* and, for instance, _mul_raw() could even be a macro to mpz_mul. The generic base case would just pass around python objects. The "reference counting" for these raw results would have to be done manually. I would suggest giving them the same semantics as gmp. This way one could implement generic polynomial/matrix/etc algorithms that would be able to operate efficiently on any ring with the above methods. For some cases (such as the integers) one would want actual specialized matrices, etc. but it would greatly reduce the work to get significant speedup for objects containing many elements of a given generic ring. Also, it would make implementations for specific ring elements easier to swap in and out (without having to change all the types that access the element internals).