Velocity Reviews > creating really big lists

# creating really big lists

Dr Mephesto
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
Hi!

I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
arrays!).

Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:

list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]

but its not soooo fast. Is there a way to do this without looping?

David.

Paul Rudin
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> Hi!
>
> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
> data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
> arrays!).
>
> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:
>
> list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]
>
> but its not soooo fast. Is there a way to do this without looping?

You can do:

[[[],[],[],[],[]]] * 3000000

although I don't know if it performs any better than what you already
have.

Diez B. Roggisch
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
Paul Rudin wrote:

> Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>
>> Hi!
>>
>> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
>> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
>> data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
>> arrays!).
>>
>> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:
>>
>> list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]
>>
>> but its not soooo fast. Is there a way to do this without looping?

>
> You can do:
>
> [[[],[],[],[],[]]] * 3000000
>
> although I don't know if it performs any better than what you already
> have.

You are aware that this is hugely different, because the nested lists are
references, not new instances? Thus the outcome is most probably (given the
gazillion of times people stumbled over this) not the desired one...

Diez

Bryan Olson
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
Paul Rudin wrote:
> Dr writes:
>> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
>> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
>> data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
>> arrays!).
>>
>> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:
>>
>> list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]
>>
>> but its not soooo fast. Is there a way to do this without looping?

>
> You can do:
>
> [[[],[],[],[],[]]] * 3000000
>
> although I don't know if it performs any better than what you already
> have.

Actually, that produces list of 3000000 references to the same
5-element list. A reduced example:

>>> lst = [[[],[],[],[],[]]] * 3
>>> lst[1][1].append(42)
>>> print lst

[[[], [42], [], [], []], [[], [42], [], [], []], [[], [42], [], [], []]]

--
--Bryan

Paul Rudin
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
"Diez B. Roggisch" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> Paul Rudin wrote:
>
>> Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>>
>>> Hi!
>>>
>>> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
>>> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
>>> data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
>>> arrays!).
>>>
>>> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:
>>>
>>> list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]
>>>
>>> but its not soooo fast. Is there a way to do this without looping?

>>
>> You can do:
>>
>> [[[],[],[],[],[]]] * 3000000
>>
>> although I don't know if it performs any better than what you already
>> have.

>
> You are aware that this is hugely different, because the nested lists are
> references, not new instances? Thus the outcome is most probably (given the
> gazillion of times people stumbled over this) not the desired one...

Err, yes sorry. I should try to avoid posting before having coffee in
the mornings.

Dr Mephesto
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007

On Sep 5, 12:22 pm, "Diez B. Roggisch" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Paul Rudin wrote:
> > Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>
> >> Hi!

>
> >> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
> >> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
> >> data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
> >> arrays!).

>
> >> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:

>
> >> list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]

>
> >> but its not soooo fast. Is there a way to do this without looping?

>
> > You can do:

>
> > [[[],[],[],[],[]]] * 3000000

>
> > although I don't know if it performs any better than what you already
> > have.

>
> You are aware that this is hugely different, because the nested lists are
> references, not new instances? Thus the outcome is most probably (given the
> gazillion of times people stumbled over this) not the desired one...
>
> Diez

Hrvoje Niksic
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will
> append data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying
> lengths (so no arrays!).
>
> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:
>
> list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]

You might want to use a tuple as the container for the lower-level
lists -- it's more compact and costs less allocation-wise.

But the real problem is not list allocation vs tuple allocation, nor
is it looping in Python; surprisingly, it's the GC. Notice this:

\$ python
Python 2.5.1 (r251:54863, May 2 2007, 16:56:35)
[GCC 4.1.2 (Ubuntu 4.1.2-0ubuntu4)] on linux2
>>> import time
>>> t0=time.time(); l=[([],[],[],[],[]) for _ in xrange(3000000)];
>>> t1=time.time()
>>> t1-t0

143.89971613883972

Now, with the GC disabled:
\$ python
Python 2.5.1 (r251:54863, May 2 2007, 16:56:35)
[GCC 4.1.2 (Ubuntu 4.1.2-0ubuntu4)] on linux2
>>> import gc
>>> gc.disable()
>>> import time
>>> t0=time.time(); l=[([],[],[],[],[]) for _ in xrange(3000000)];
>>> t1=time.time()
>>> t1-t0

2.9048631191253662

The speed difference is staggering, almost 50-fold. I suspect GC
time. Since you allocate all the small lists, the GC gets invoked
every 700 or so allocations, and has to visit more and more objects in
each pass. I'm not sure if this can be fixed (shouldn't the
generational GC only have to visit the freshly created objects rather
than all of them?), but it has been noticed on this group before.

If you're building large data structures and don't need to reclaim
cyclical references, I suggest turning GC off, at least during
construction.

Aahz
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed). com>,
Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
>long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
>data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
>arrays!).

Why do you want to pre-create this? Why not just create the big list and
sublists as you append data to the sublists?
--
Aahz ((E-Mail Removed)) <*> http://www.pythoncraft.com/

"Many customs in this life persist because they ease friction and promote
productivity as a result of universal agreement, and whether they are
precisely the optimal choices is much less important." --Henry Spencer
http://www.lysator.liu.se/c/ten-commandments.html

John Machin
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-05-2007
On Sep 5, 7:50 pm, Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Hi!
>
> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will append
> data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying lengths (so no
> arrays!).

Will each and every of the 3,000,000 slots be used? If not, you may be
much better off storagewise if you used a dictionary instead of a
list, at the cost of slower access.

Cheers,
John

Dr Mephesto
Guest
Posts: n/a

 09-06-2007
On 6 Sep., 01:34, "Delaney, Timothy (Tim)" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Hrvoje Niksic wrote:
> > Dr Mephesto <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>
> >> I would like to create a pretty big list of lists; a list 3,000,000
> >> long, each entry containing 5 empty lists. My application will
> >> append data each of the 5 sublists, so they will be of varying
> >> lengths (so no arrays!).

>
> >> Does anyone know the most efficient way to do this? I have tried:

>
> >> list = [[[],[],[],[],[]] for _ in xrange(3000000)]

> > If you're building large data structures and don't need to reclaim
> > cyclical references, I suggest turning GC off, at least during
> > construction.

>
> This is good advice, but another question is whether you really want
> such a list. You may well be better off with a database of some kind -
> they're designed for manipulating large amounts of data.
>
> Tim Delaney

I need some real speed! a database is waaay to slow for the algorithm
im using. and because the sublists are of varying size, i dont think I
can use an array...