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Contiguous allocation of multi-dimensional vector

P: n/a
nw
Hi,

We've been having a discussion at work and I'm wondering if anyone
here would care to offer an opinion or alternative solution. Aparently
in the C programming HPC community it is common to allocate
multidimentional arrays like so:

int *v_base = (int *) malloc(1000000*sizeof(int));
int **v = (int **) malloc(1000*sizeof(int *));

for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v[i] = v_base+(i*1000);
}

The logic behind this is that the entire multi-dimensional array will
be contiguous in memory and therefore it is more likely that the whole
array will be loaded in to cache, improving access time.

The following workaround I believe will simulate similar behaviour
using the STL:

vector<intv_base(1000000);
vector<int *v;

for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v.push_back(&v_base[0]+(i*1000));
}

However will obviously break if you use insert or remove anywhere, and
doesn't seem like a great idea. The standard way of allocating this
two dimensional array as I understand it is:

vector<vector<int v(1000,vector<int>(1000));

So I guess my question is this: Is there any advantage to allocating
the vector contiguously or should the normal STL allocation method
place the vectors contiguously in memory? Is there likely to be much
vector overhead placed between the 1d vector<int>s such as the size of
the array?

My gut feeling is that the normal STL way will produce similar
results, and the tests I've done seem to back this up, but I'd be
interested in hearing other peoples opinions.

Any suggestions gratefully received and my apologies if this has been
asked previously or in the FAQ and I missed it.

Aug 9 '07 #1
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7 Replies


P: n/a
joe
From: nw
>

Hi,

We've been having a discussion at work and I'm wondering if anyone
here would care to offer an opinion or alternative solution. Aparently
in the C programming HPC community it is common to allocate
multidimentional arrays like so:

int *v_base = (int *) malloc(1000000*sizeof(int));
int **v = (int **) malloc(1000*sizeof(int *));

for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v[i] = v_base+(i*1000);
}
Hmmmm, back in the day, I wouldn't have bothered with v. Any cell can
be
directly calculated for an array of v[HEIGHT, WIDTH] with WIDTH * (row
- 1)
+ column. Of course, memory was at a premium.
>
The logic behind this is that the entire multi-dimensional array will
be contiguous in memory and therefore it is more likely that the whole
array will be loaded in to cache, improving access time.
and there is only one allocation per array (malloc/free can be pretty
time
consuming). Of course, on the other side of the fence, it may be
easier to
come up to 1000 4000 byte blocks than one 4000000 byte block.
>
The following workaround I believe will simulate similar behaviour
using the STL:

vector<intv_base(1000000);
vector<int *v;

for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v.push_back(&v_base[0]+(i*1000));
}

However will obviously break if you use insert or remove anywhere, and
doesn't seem like a great idea. The standard way of allocating this
two dimensional array as I understand it is:
This is a non-issue because you would never insert or delete in a
multidimensional
array unless you were explicitly supporting ragged arrays and that is
a
different sort of problem.
>
vector<vector<int v(1000,vector<int>(1000));

So I guess my question is this: Is there any advantage to allocating
the vector contiguously or should the normal STL allocation method
place the vectors contiguously in memory? Is there likely to be much
vector overhead placed between the 1d vector<int>s such as the size of
the array?

My gut feeling is that the normal STL way will produce similar
results, and the tests I've done seem to back this up, but I'd be
interested in hearing other peoples opinions.

Any suggestions gratefully received and my apologies if this has been
asked previously or in the FAQ and I missed it.
The best answer would depend upon what you are using the arrays for.
The
problem with a vector of vectors is that you lose a lot of locality of
reference
and therefore may well have more cache misses; there is another layer
of indirection; and since insert/erase is available, you have the
possibility
of turning your multidimensional array into a ragged array without
even
half trying.

The good news is that this is C++ and you can wrap whatever logic you
choose
in a class and only allow the operations which make sense.
Personally, I
would probably start off with something like:

template <typename T, size_t N, size_t M>
struct marray
{
typedef size_t size_type;
typedef T value_type;
typedef T& reference;
typedef const T& const_reference;

reference at(size_type x, size_type y)
{
return m_array[x,y];
}

const_reference at(size_type x, size_type y) const
{
return m_array[x,y];
}

private:
T m_array[N,M];
};

And flesh it out with what I needed (iterators, row_iterators, etc).
Then I
could choose whether I wanted it dynamic or not and it would be a
single
allocation either way. If I needed a ragged array, well that would be
different.

joe


Aug 9 '07 #2

P: n/a

nw <ne*@soton.ac.ukwrote in message...
>
However will obviously break if you use insert or remove anywhere, and
doesn't seem like a great idea. The standard way of allocating this
two dimensional array as I understand it is:

vector<vector<int v(1000,vector<int>(1000));
Or:

{// ------------
std::vector< std::vector< int Array2( 3, 3 );

for( std::size_t x(0); x < Array2.size(); ++x ){
std::cout<<"array.at("<<x<<") address="
<<std::hex<<&Array2.at(x)
<<std::dec<<std::endl;
for( std::size_t y(0); y < Array2.at( x ).size(); ++y ){
std::cout<<" array.at("<<x<<").at("<<y
<<") address="<<std::hex<<&Array2.at(x).at(y)
<<std::dec<<std::endl;
} // for(y)
} // for(x)
}// ------------

To answer all your questions: test and profile it.

--
Bob R
POVrookie
Aug 9 '07 #3

P: n/a
On Aug 9, 10:07 pm, joe <jgr...@DoubleTake.comwrote:
From: nw
Hi,
We've been having a discussion at work and I'm wondering if anyone
here would care to offer an opinion or alternative solution. Aparently
in the C programming HPC community it is common to allocate
multidimentional arrays like so:
int *v_base = (int *) malloc(1000000*sizeof(int));
int **v = (int **) malloc(1000*sizeof(int *));
for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v[i] = v_base+(i*1000);
}

Hmmmm, back in the day, I wouldn't have bothered with v. Any cell can
be
directly calculated for an array of v[HEIGHT, WIDTH] with WIDTH * (row
- 1)
+ column. Of course, memory was at a premium.
The logic behind this is that the entire multi-dimensional array will
be contiguous in memory and therefore it is more likely that the whole
array will be loaded in to cache, improving access time.

and there is only one allocation per array (malloc/free can be pretty
time
consuming). Of course, on the other side of the fence, it may be
easier to
come up to 1000 4000 byte blocks than one 4000000 byte block.
The following workaround I believe will simulate similar behaviour
using the STL:
vector<intv_base(1000000);
vector<int *v;
for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v.push_back(&v_base[0]+(i*1000));
}
However will obviously break if you use insert or remove anywhere, and
doesn't seem like a great idea. The standard way of allocating this
two dimensional array as I understand it is:

This is a non-issue because you would never insert or delete in a
multidimensional
array unless you were explicitly supporting ragged arrays and that is
a
different sort of problem.
vector<vector<int v(1000,vector<int>(1000));
So I guess my question is this: Is there any advantage to allocating
the vector contiguously or should the normal STL allocation method
place the vectors contiguously in memory? Is there likely to be much
vector overhead placed between the 1d vector<int>s such as the size of
the array?
My gut feeling is that the normal STL way will produce similar
results, and the tests I've done seem to back this up, but I'd be
interested in hearing other peoples opinions.
Any suggestions gratefully received and my apologies if this has been
asked previously or in the FAQ and I missed it.

The best answer would depend upon what you are using the arrays for.
The
problem with a vector of vectors is that you lose a lot of locality of
reference
and therefore may well have more cache misses; there is another layer
of indirection; and since insert/erase is available, you have the
possibility
of turning your multidimensional array into a ragged array without
even
half trying.

The good news is that this is C++ and you can wrap whatever logic you
choose
in a class and only allow the operations which make sense.
Personally, I
would probably start off with something like:

template <typename T, size_t N, size_t M>
struct marray
{
typedef size_t size_type;
typedef T value_type;
typedef T& reference;
typedef const T& const_reference;

reference at(size_type x, size_type y)
{
return m_array[x,y];
}

const_reference at(size_type x, size_type y) const
{
return m_array[x,y];
}

private:
T m_array[N,M];

};

And flesh it out with what I needed (iterators, row_iterators, etc).
Then I
could choose whether I wanted it dynamic or not and it would be a
single
allocation either way. If I needed a ragged array, well that would be
different.

joe- Hide quoted text -
no double subscription in c++([x,y]).one must use two single
subscriptions([x][y]) or you are discusing conceptually(not
syntactically) and [x,y] is considered a function(not a c++
operator).
I think variadic templates(to come) with variable number of unsigned
argument will solve the problem with no overhead(codding time/run time/
run memory):

template<typename T,unsigned args... multiDimArr;

regards,
FM.

Aug 9 '07 #4

P: n/a
joe
On Aug 9, 5:51 pm, terminator <farid.mehr...@gmail.comwrote:
no double subscription in c++([x,y]).one must use two single
subscriptions([x][y]) or you are discusing conceptually(not
syntactically) and [x,y] is considered a function(not a c++
operator).
Arg!! I know that, somehow it didn't get typed that way though.
I think variadic templates(to come) with variable number of unsigned
argument will solve the problem with no overhead(codding time/run time/
run memory):

template<typename T,unsigned args... multiDimArr;
You are correct, but it will be many years before that gets out into
the mainstream,
so I wouldn't be writing too much code like that.

joe

Aug 10 '07 #5

P: n/a
On Aug 9, 5:49 pm, nw <n...@soton.ac.ukwrote:
We've been having a discussion at work and I'm wondering if anyone
here would care to offer an opinion or alternative solution. Aparently
in the C programming HPC community it is common to allocate
multidimentional arrays like so:
int *v_base = (int *) malloc(1000000*sizeof(int));
int **v = (int **) malloc(1000*sizeof(int *));
for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v[i] = v_base+(i*1000);
}
The logic behind this is that the entire multi-dimensional array will
be contiguous in memory and therefore it is more likely that the whole
array will be loaded in to cache, improving access time.
The following workaround I believe will simulate similar behaviour
using the STL:
vector<intv_base(1000000);
vector<int *v;
for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
v.push_back(&v_base[0]+(i*1000));
}
However will obviously break if you use insert or remove anywhere, and
doesn't seem like a great idea.
You mean that it makes it impossible for v[0] to have a
different number of elements than v[1]. Depending on the
application, that could be an advantage, rather than a
disadvantage.
The standard way of allocating this two dimensional array as I
understand it is:
vector<vector<int v(1000,vector<int>(1000));
It depends on the use. The *standard* way of handling
multidimensional arrays in C++ is to write your own class to do
so, with an overloaded operator[] which returns a "proxy" on
which operator[] is also defined. (Note that in this case, int*
would be an adequate proxy.) Then, you can do pretty much
whatever works in the implementation; I'd probably just use a
one dimension vector, and calculate the indexes.
So I guess my question is this: Is there any advantage to allocating
the vector contiguously
There certainly could be, for some applications. To begin with,
you'll use less total memory---if the inner dimension is 1000,
it's probably not distinctive, but for something like:
std::vector< std::vector< int v( 1000000,
std::vector< int >( 5 ) ) ;
the difference could be enormous.
or should the normal STL allocation method
place the vectors contiguously in memory? Is there likely to be much
vector overhead placed between the 1d vector<int>s such as the size of
the array?
Who knows? It could easily vary, even from one run to the next.
My gut feeling is that the normal STL way will produce similar
results, and the tests I've done seem to back this up, but I'd be
interested in hearing other peoples opinions.
The real question is whether whatever method you feel most
comfortable with is fast enough. If so, don't bother looking
any further. Personally, for a mathematical matrix, I prefer
the single dimension array, calculating the index. It makes it
impossible to violate the invariant that all of the sub-arrays
have the same size. But if that caused performance problems
(e.g. because multiplication was very slow on my machine), I'd
try something else.

Just make sure that whatever you actually do is behind the
firewall of a class definition, so you can change it at will
without affecting client code.

--
James Kanze (GABI Software) email:james.ka...@gmail.com
Conseils en informatique orientée objet/
Beratung in objektorientierter Datenverarbeitung
9 place Sémard, 78210 St.-Cyr-l'École, France, +33 (0)1 30 23 00 34

Aug 11 '07 #6

P: n/a
On Aug 10, 2:59 pm, joe <jgr...@DoubleTake.comwrote:
On Aug 9, 5:51 pm, terminator <farid.mehr...@gmail.comwrote:
no double subscription in c++([x,y]).one must use two single
subscriptions([x][y]) or you are discusing conceptually(not
syntactically) and [x,y] is considered a function(not a c++
operator).

Arg!! I know that, somehow it didn't get typed that way though.
I think variadic templates(to come) with variable number of unsigned
argument will solve the problem with no overhead(codding time/run time/
run memory):
template<typename T,unsigned args... multiDimArr;

You are correct, but it will be many years before that gets out into
the mainstream,
so I wouldn't be writing too much code like that.

joe
if your compiler is elegant in recursive templates you can:

template <typename elem,unsigned sz >
struct array{
typedef elem Telement;
enum{
Nsize=sz,
dim=1
};
...//etc
};

template<typename arr, unsigned n>
struct multi_array{
typedef typename arr::Telement Telement;
enum{
Nsize=n*arr::Nsize,
dim=arr::dim+1
};
...//etc
};

multi_array< multi_array <array <int,10,11 , 12 >
arr3D_10_11_12int;

regards,
FM.

Aug 14 '07 #7

P: n/a
joe
On Aug 14, 1:08 pm, terminator <farid.mehr...@gmail.comwrote:
>
if your compiler is elegant in recursive templates you can:
[crafty recursive template removed]

Quite clever. Probably a bit of overkill for any matrix problem I
have had, but still quite clever. Seriously though, unless I were
developing a library that supported such things, I would probably
still opt for individual implementations/specializations for the
problem set I actually had rather than a recursive template solution.
In other words, unless I were developing the code to be a matrix
library that could handle any dimension matrix, I personally, would
rather have the two or three specializations for matrixes that I
actually need, rather than a recursive template that handles every
possible kind of matrix. The reason is two fold. 1) Debugger
technology available to me makes debugging recursive template code
much more difficult than straight forward template code (although that
can be a challenge too at times). 2) Current optimizer technology
hasn't performed the wonders for me that sophisticated template
programmers posit that it should be able to perform. That is, the
code actually generated isn't as good as far as I can tell. Your
mileage may vary, but I am a simple person who prefers simple
solutions when having a general solution isn't required for the
problem I have. That is not to say that I wouldn't use a third party
library that provided such matrixes, just that I wouldn't go that
route myself unless I were developing such a library. :)

joe

Aug 15 '07 #8

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