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Luca_S_
Beginner
51 Views

ippsCompare_8u much slower then strcmp()

Hi,

I have been trying to compare these two functions as I have been told that ipp are much faster then C string functions.

However, I really could write a single example where ippsCompare_8u is -at least- as fast as strcmp(). There's only one note about ippsCompare that says: "for long strings" (whatever it means).

My example is really simple. I'm dynamically allocating the two strings to compare so in this way -I guess- the compiler shouldn't replace strcmp()/strlen() with simple constants.

Compilation: icpc -O3 ipp.cpp -I /opt/apps/intel/ipp/include/ -L /opt/apps/intel/ipp/lib/intel64/ -lippch_l -lippcore_l

I have the ipp version bundled with composer_xe_2013 and my hardware is RedHat Linux 64 with 4 Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5690  @ 3.47GHz (6 cores for each CPU) with 200GB of RAM.

I'm misuring the execution time with "time" command on Linux. The strings I considered during my tests had a  100000000-char length.

My questions are:

  1. Am I wrongly using ippsCompare?
  2. Is my assumption correct? (ippsCompare should -for some "long" string be faster then strcmp()). if yes, what's the meaning of "long string"?

Code sample:

 7 int main(int argc, char **argv)
    8 {
    9     ippInit();
   10
   11     size_t first_length = atoi(argv[2]);
   12     char *first = new char[first_length+1];
   13     for (size_t i=0; i<first_length; ++i)
   14         first='A';
   15     first[first_length]='\0';
   16     size_t second_length = atoi(argv[3]);
   17     char *second = new char[second_length+1];
   18     for (size_t i=0; i<second_length; ++i)
   19         second='A';
   20     second[second_length]='\0';
   21     second[second_length-1]='B';
   22
   23     //std::string ff=first;
   24     //std::string ss=second;
   25     //std::string ff(first), ss(second);
   26     size_t hmt = atol(argv[1]);
   27     long long final_result = 0;
   28     size_t counter = 0;
   29     for (size_t i=0; i<hmt; ++i)
   30     {
   31         /**
   32          * [first test]
   33          *
   34          *  Ipp8u *f = (Ipp8u*)first, *s = (Ipp8u*)second;
   35          *  size_t max_length = std::max(strlen(first), strlen(second));
   36          *  int result = 0;
   37          *  IppStatus rc = ippsCompare_8u(f, s, max_length, &result);
   38          */
   39
   40         /**
   41          * [second test]
   42          */
   43         int result = strcmp(first, second);
   44
   45         final_result += result;
   46     }
   47
   48     std::cout <<final_result <<std::endl;
   49     delete[] first;
   50     delete[] second;
   51     return 0;
   52 } 

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5 Replies
Sergey_K_Intel
Employee
51 Views

Hi Luca,

Could you repeat your experiment without "strlen" in IPP path?

"Strlen" is also a function, which scans the whole string looking for 0, and it also takes time.

Regards,
Sergey

Luca_S_
Beginner
51 Views

Hi,

thank you for your answer. Because I know yet the length of the input strings, I have changed the code in order to get rid of those 2 strlen():

size_t max_length = std::max(/*strlen(first)*/first_length, /*strlen(second)*/second_length);

Still it really didn't make any difference:

INTEL IPP version: (the input params are: <how_many_iterations_to_repeat>, <first_string_length>, <second_string_length>)

bash-4.1$ time ./a.out 100 100000000 100000000
-100

real    0m1.765s
user    0m1.726s
sys     0m0.035s
bash-4.1$ time ./a.out 1000 100000000 100000000
-1000

real    0m17.546s
user    0m17.471s
sys     0m0.035s

STRCMP version:

bash-4.1$ time ./a.out 100 100000000 100000000
-100

real    0m0.122s
user    0m0.085s
sys     0m0.037s
bash-4.1$ time ./a.out 1000 100000000 100000000
-1000

real    0m0.122s
user    0m0.086s
sys     0m0.036s

Sergey_K_Intel
Employee
51 Views

Hi Luca,

That's a challenge! :).

Could you update your code the following way: after line 43 (strcmp or ippsCompare call) add "second[second_length-1] = i; " ?
You'll probably see the different timing values. 
Don't look at final_result difference. It's because strcmp and ippsCompare differ in return values.

P.S.: A hint from your message:

     STRCMP version:

    bash-4.1$ time ./a.out 100 100000000 100000000
    -100

    real    0m0.122s
    user    0m0.085s
    sys     0m0.037s
    bash-4.1$ time ./a.out 1000 100000000 100000000
    -1000

    real    0m0.122s
    user    0m0.086s
    sys     0m0.036s

Regards,
Sergey

Luca_S_
Beginner
51 Views

Hi Sergey,

you convinced me :) Even for 256-length strings ippsCompare is reallyyyyyyy much much faster. So in the end my test wasn't good enough. I really didn't know the compiler was so smart to be able tor recognize that the same 2 strings were always being compared. So probably what's really happening when strcmp() is used is:

1. a first call to strcmp() is used and the result is cached.

2. for all the others N-1 iterations we just use the cached value. By changing at least one of those string (for each iteration) we have N calls to strcmp() and that's the real time we should compare.

Anyway, thank you very much for your help!

Luca

Sergey_K_Intel
Employee
51 Views

Yes, you're right. This happens often with Intel compiler. It throws constant expressions away.

Regards,
Sergey

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