Faster alternative to containers.Map

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Paolo Binetti
Paolo Binetti on 31 Aug 2017
Commented: JS2018 on 16 Oct 2022
Profiling a script (attached, along with a sample input data file), I have found that looking up a Map generated with containers.Map is the bottleneck. Namely the table is:
s = containers.Map(nodes, num2cell([1:numel(nodes)]'));
and the script looks it up within a while-loop a few thousands times:
idx = s(temp1); % same as above if s is a Map object
I have tried replacing the Map object with a data structure, but it did not seem to work, due to field name limitations. Are there other faster methods?
Nikolaus Koopmann
Nikolaus Koopmann on 16 Mar 2022
have you found a solution??
i'm faced with a similar problem. Was going with containers.Map first but it didnt scale. java.uitl.HashTable is just as slow :(

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Answers (2)

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 1 Sep 2017
fid = fopen('dataset_203_2.txt', 'rt');
approx_num_nodes = 3000;
used_nodes = 0;
known_nodes = nan(1, approx_num_nodes);
node_connections = cell(1, approx_num_nodes);
while true
thisline = fgetl(fid);
if ~ischar(thisline); break; end %end of file
toks = regexp(thisline, '^(?<src>\d+)\s*->\s*(?<dst>(\d+,\s*)*\d+)', 'names');
src = str2double(toks.src);
dst = str2double( regexp(toks.dst, ',\s*', 'split') );
mentioned = [src, dst];
[known, idx] = ismember(mentioned, known_nodes);
unknown = ~known;
num_new_nodes = nnz(unknown);
newnodes = used_nodes+(1:num_new_nodes);
known_nodes(newnodes) = mentioned(unknown);
used_nodes = used_nodes + num_new_nodes;
idx(unknown) = newnodes;
node_connections{idx(1)} = idx(2:end);
known_nodes = known_nodes(1:used_nodes);
At the end of this code, known_nodes will be a numeric list of node numbers from the file, in the order encountered, and node_connections will be a cell array of numeric vectors listing all of the connections. The connections listed will be in terms of the indices into the known_nodes list, not in terms of the original node numbers.
Another way of phrasing this is that the known_nodes is something would something you would use for the node labels, but the information in the node_connections list uses internal node numbers. It would be each to reconfigure this for text labels instead of numeric labels.
Paolo Binetti
Paolo Binetti on 1 Sep 2017
Edited: Paolo Binetti on 1 Sep 2017
Thank you. I also had tried a method based on repeated calls of ismember, but it was very slow. I was wondering if it could be improved by using undocumented ismembc2, but I am not sure it's a good approach.

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Mike Croucher
Mike Croucher on 15 Sep 2022
MATLAB R2022b has a new dictionary datatype that's much faster than A tutorial-like introduction at An introduction to dictionaries (associative arrays) in MATLAB » The MATLAB Blog - MATLAB & Simulink (
  1 Comment
JS2018 on 16 Oct 2022
Looking forward to your blog post about the differences between and dictionaries!

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