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by ryan davis



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fat code is slow code

Published 2008-11-30 @ 04:09

Tagged flog, ruby

I’ve been poking around in a lot of gems lately and I found this beauty (I added the 1 to the name for obvious reasons below):

  def load_tags1()
    x = Array.new() # Group and Element ID
    y = Array.new() # Value representation
    z = Array.new() # Name
    # E.1 Registry of DICOM command elements
    # Group 0000
    x+=["0000,0000"] and y+=[["UL"]] and z+=["Command Group Length"]
    x+=["0000,0001"] and y+=[["UL"]] and z+=["Length to End"] # RET
    x+=["0000,0002"] and y+=[["UI"]] and z+=["Affected SOP Class UID"]
    x+=["0000,0003"] and y+=[["UI"]] and z+=["Requested SOP Class UID"]
    x+=["0000,0010"] and y+=[["CS"]] and z+=["Recognition Code"] # RET
    # ... 2500 more lines like the above
    # Return the array information:
    return [x,y,z]
  end

This one method flogs at an astounding 15538! As a comparison, my entire perforce repository flogs at 37391. The next highest method I’ve found flogged at 3685.

What’s wrong with this code? Well, for starters, it flogs to 15k for a reason. That’s a LOT of code and almost all of it need not exist to begin with. A very quick analysis shows that NONE of the and logic needs to exist. Those could be semicolons. Further, this is really all static data and the method returns the 3 columns… So why not treat them as columns and be done with the 3 variables? Here was my quick 1 minute rewrite (no, really):

  def load_tags2()
    # E.1 Registry of DICOM command elements
    # Group 0000
    [["0000,0000", ["UL"], "Command Group Length"],
     ["0000,0001", ["UL"], "Length to End"],
     ["0000,0002", ["UI"], "Affected SOP Class UID"],
     ["0000,0003", ["UI"], "Requested SOP Class UID"],
     ["0000,0010", ["CS"], "Recognition Code"],
     # ... 2500 more lines like the above
    ].transpose
  end

This returns exactly the same data. What does that flog to? 1. That’s right, one. Why? Because there is a total of 1 method calls throughout the whole thing. The rest is all static data.

And my final rewrite:

  def load_tags3()
    TAGS
  end

Just realizes that the whole thing is static/constant so you should treat it as such. This probably flogs at less than one. I didn’t bother figuring out because once you go from 15k to 1 the rest is cake.

The real important part is this: Flog scores mean something real. In this case, flog complexity not only translates to “hard to test”, it also means “hard to run”:

  % ./quick.rb 1000
  # of iterations = 1000
                            user     system      total        real
  null_time             0.000000   0.000000   0.000000 (  0.000152)
  load_tags1           61.910000   0.340000  62.250000 ( 62.716426)
  load_tags2            3.540000   0.020000   3.560000 (  3.575550)
  load_tags3            0.000000   0.000000   0.000000 (  0.000504)

load_tags1 is 17.5x slower that load_tags2, which is in turn 3580x slower than load_tags3.

It pays to flog.