Destructuring, records, protocols and named arguments

optimization,pondering — cgrand, 8 May 2010 @ 12 h 19 min

Warning: this post is full of microbenchmarks so take it with a pinch of salt.

Destructuring a record

Field access through keyword-lookups on records is fast:

user=> (defrecord Foo [a b])
user.Foo
user=> (let [x (Foo. 1 2)] (dotimes [_ 5] (time (dotimes [_ 1e7] (let [a (:a x) b (:b x)] [a b])))))
"Elapsed time: 114.787424 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 102.568273 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 71.150593 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 72.217418 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 70.127489 msecs"
nil

But as far as I know destructure still emits (get x :k), let check:

user=> (let [x (Foo. 1 2)] (dotimes [_ 5] (time (dotimes [_ 1e7] (let [{:keys [a b]} x] [a b])))))
"Elapsed time: 968.616612 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 945.704133 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 911.290751 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 927.658125 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 916.796408 msecs"
nil

Actually it’s slightly slower than lookup on small maps:

user=> (let [x {:a 1 :b 2}] (dotimes [_ 5] (time (dotimes [_ 1e7] (let [{:keys [a b]} x] [a b])))))
"Elapsed time: 866.942377 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 746.273968 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 734.366239 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 729.346188 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 746.96393 msecs"
nil

One patch later

I patched destructure to emit keyword-lookups:

user=> (let [x (Foo. 1 2)] (dotimes [_ 5] (time (dotimes [_ 1e7] (let [{:keys [a b]} x] [a b])))))
"Elapsed time: 479.911064 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 488.895167 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 464.617431 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 480.944575 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 464.969779 msecs"
nil

It’s better but still slower than without destructuring. Let see what slows us:

user=> (macroexpand-1 '(let [{:keys [a b]} x] [a b]))
(let* [map__3838 x map__3838 (if (clojure.core/seq? map__3838) (clojure.core/apply clojure.core/hash-map map__3838) map__3838) b (:b map__3838) a (:a map__3838)] [a b])

My bet is on the if+seq? so I remove it:

user=> (let [x (Foo. 1 2)] (dotimes [_ 5] (time (dotimes [_ 1e7] (let* [map__3838 x map__3838 map__3838 b (:b map__3838) a (:a map__3838)] [a b])))))
"Elapsed time: 125.188397 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 103.041099 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 70.061558 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 70.793984 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 69.759146 msecs"
nil

This if+seq? allows for named arguments. I wonder if this behaviour should be an option of map-destructuring (eg {:keys [a b] :named-args true}). Anyway I had in mind that such a dispatch could be optimized with protocols.

Optimizing dispatch with protocols

user=> (defprotocol Seq (my-seq [this]) (my-seq? [this]))
Seq
user=> (extend-protocol Seq
clojure.lang.ISeq
(my-seq [this] (.seq this))
(my-seq? [this] true)
Object
(my-seq [this] (clojure.lang.RT/seq this))
(my-seq? [this] false))
nil

Let see how my-seq? compares to seq?

user=> (let [x (Foo. 1 2)] (dotimes [_ 5] (time (dotimes [_ 1e7] (let* [map__3838 x map__3838 (if (my-seq? map__3838) (clojure.core/apply clojure.core/hash-map map__3838) map__3838) b (:b map__3838) a (:a map__3838)] [a b])))))
"Elapsed time: 179.282982 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 161.781526 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 154.307042 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 155.567677 msecs"
"Elapsed time: 153.716604 msecs"
nil

Hence my-seq? is 3x faster than seq? which means that protocols are indeed speedy: yet another incredible piece of work by Rich Hickey!

I’m still exploring how low-level protocols fns behave in a concurrent setting, stay tuned!

Meanwhile don’t forget to register to the next European Clojure training session taught by Lau and me.

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