|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Re (tilly) 3: Sort this databy tilly (Archbishop)
|on Nov 19, 2000 at 20:42 UTC ( #42425=note: print w/replies, xml )||Need Help??|
I would have to check, but I thought that splice was only slow if you have to move the array around. But I don't know whether pulling from the beginning of the array has been optimized. And (like jcwren) I am too lazy to benchmark it at the moment. In any case shift is fast and has the benefit of avoiding tracking indices. (Note that you had a bug in your code which jcwren caught? Yes, I am talking about that.)
This might be faster than your sneaky trick. It might be slower. It certainly has fewer indices.
Also the cost of reverse is overstated. You have just walked through a list of n things in Perl. You then want to reverse a list of n/4 things. What is the relative cost of those two operations? Right.
Pick up good material on optimization. Such as this sample chapter from Code Complete. Or RE: Efficient Perl Programming. You will find that experienced people understand that getting maintainable code with good algorithms can result in better overall speed wins than trying to optimize every line.
Now noticing the splice, that matters. If it isn't optimized then that is an order(n) operation n times - which is n^2 and therefore is likely to be slow. But one reverse at the end is an order n operation once. Should the body of the loop be slightly more efficient from doing the slice rather than repeated manipulation of indices (something I would have to benchmark to have a feeling for either way) then your attempt to optimize would actually lose.
To summarize, don't worry about slow operations, worry about bad algorithms. A slow operation inside a loop may matter. A slow operation outside a loop which speeds up the loop can go either way. An order n (or worse) operation inside a loop - that is the only one which should cause you to want to care up front about optimizing the structure of the code!
In Section Seekers of Perl Wisdom