perl hash speed and memory efficiency

Discussion in 'Perl Misc' started by odigity, May 27, 2004.

  1. odigity

    odigity Guest

    I'm running some tests to try to gauge the speed of perl's hashing
    abilities, as well as the memory footprint. I wrote this function:

    sub buildhash
    my %hash;
    foreach my $foo (1..100_000) {
    foreach my $bar ('a'..'z') {
    $hash{"$foo.$bar"} = 1;
    undef %hash;

    Then I threw in the Benchmark module, like this:

    timethis( 1, "buildhash()" );

    It seems to use about 200MB of memory for 2.6 million small key/value
    pairs, which is pretty efficient (~80bytes/pair). However, it doesn't
    release the memory after the undef (I checked by stopping execution at
    that point with a sleep statement and studying memory usage with

    It either takes 11 seconds or 75 seconds depending on how I execute
    it. Let me explain.

    I first tried running it once, and it took 11 seconds. I tried twice,
    and it took 86. This didn't make any sense to me. Here's the command
    I used:

    timethis( 2, "buildhash()" );

    Then I tried unrolling it like this:

    timethis( 1, "buildhash()" );
    timethis( 1, "buildhash()" );

    And that took 22 seconds (11/each), as I expected the first time.

    So the question that is most driving me crazy is: For the sake of
    Pete, why the difference!?

    odigity, May 27, 2004
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  2. odigity

    Ben Morrow Guest

    Quoth (odigity):
    There is no need for this. %hash will be deallocated at end-of-scope.

    Under most circumstances, memory once allocated to a process can never
    be released. The memory goes into a process-internal free pool, so if
    you were to run the sub again memory usage would not go up any further.

    Ben Morrow, May 27, 2004
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