Memory profiling/benchmarking

Prof Brian D Ripley
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 07:42:58 +0100 (BST)

On Tue, 27 Jul 1999, Lyndon Drake wrote:

> Hi,
> As a project for a computer performance analysis paper I am taking this semester,
> I am going to look at the performance of the memory manager in R, with the aim of
> determining how fast it is and which areas most need improvement.  The idea is
> that I will compare various versions of R, starting with 0.64.2, and then at a
> few stages in the implementation of the new memory management scheme (of which
> the first step was the hash tables for environments).
> I am looking for scripts to use as benchmarks for memory related activities.  As
> a starting point I will use the tests distributed with R, but any other
> contributions would be helpful.  I don't think the tests I have are particularly
> aimed at performance, but they should give a reasonable indication of which
> functions are the performance hogs.

Currently the base package is treated specially (although less specially
than it was, now we have hashing). Also, many of the most time-intensive
things in R are done in compiled code. So some candidates for good tests
are things done in large packages almost entirely in R. I used the 
V&R3 ch06.R script in doing some timings, as repeated linear regression
(either stepwise selection or bootstrapping) looks like the right sort of
thing. And on that the latest (in 0.65) memory management gave a speed up
of around 50%.

Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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