[Numpy-discussion] Proposed Roadmap Overview

Neal Becker ndbecker2@gmail....
Sun Feb 19 07:42:14 CST 2012

Nathaniel Smith wrote:

> On Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 9:16 AM, David Cournapeau <cournape@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 8:08 AM, Mark Wiebe <mwwiebe@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Is there a specific
>>> target platform/compiler combination you're thinking of where we can do
>>> tests on this? I don't believe the compile times are as bad as many people
>>> suspect, can you give some simple examples of things we might do in NumPy
>>> you expect to compile slower in C++ vs C?
>> Switching from gcc to g++ on the same codebase should not change much
>> compilation times. We should test, but that's not what worries me.
>> What worries me is when we start using C++ specific code, STL and co.
>> Today, scipy.sparse.sparsetools takes half of the build time  of the
>> whole scipy, and it does not even use fancy features. It also takes Gb
>> of ram when building in parallel.
> I like C++ but it definitely does have issues with compilation times.
> IIRC the main problem is very simple: STL and friends (e.g. Boost) are
> huge libraries, and because they use templates, the entire source code
> is in the header files. That means that as soon as you #include a few
> standard C++ headers, your innocent little source file has suddenly
> become hundreds of thousands of lines long, and it just takes the
> compiler a while to churn through megabytes of source code, no matter
> what it is. (Effectively you recompile some significant fraction of
> STL from scratch on every file, and then throw it away.)
> Precompiled headers can help some, but require complex and highly
> non-portable build-system support. (E.g., gcc's precompiled header
> constraints are here:
> http://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/Precompiled-Headers.html -- only one
> per source file, etc.)
> To demonstrate: a trivial hello-world in C using <stdio.h>, versus a
> trivial version in C++ using <iostream>.
> On my laptop (gcc 4.5.2), compiling each program 100 times in a loop requires:
>   C: 2.28 CPU seconds
>   C compiled with C++ compiler: 4.61 CPU seconds
>   C++: 17.66 CPU seconds
> Slowdown for using g++ instead of gcc: 2.0x
> Slowdown for using C++ standard library: 3.8x
> Total C++ penalty: 7.8x
> Lines of code compiled in each case:
>   $ gcc -E hello.c | wc
>       855    2039   16934
>   $ g++ -E hello.cc | wc
>     18569   40994  437954
> (I.e., the C++ hello world is almost half a megabyte.)
> Of course we won't be using <iostream>, but <vector>, <unordered_map>
> etc. all have the same basic character.
> -- Nathaniel
> (Test files attached, times were from:
>   time sh -c 'for i in $(seq 100); do gcc hello.c -o hello-c; done'
>   cp hello.c c-hello.cc
>   time sh -c 'for i in $(seq 100); do g++ c-hello.cc -o c-hello-cc; done'
>   time sh -c 'for i in $(seq 100); do g++ hello.cc -o hello-cc; done'
> and then summing the resulting user and system times.)

On Fedora linux I use ccache, which is completely transparant and makes a huge 
difference in build times.

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