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Breaking up a computation vs "..." to continue line - Huge Speed Difference !?

Asked by Dan Ryan on 15 Feb 2013

I was profiling an ode solver today and found something very strange. The system has 9 states and the computation of the ode RHS was taking about 100 times longer to compute the 5th state than any other state.

The 5th state equation was longer than the other equations, but not so drastically longer that it should take 100 times longer to compute. It ran over 4 lines in the editor so there were "..." continuations at the end of each line.

I rewrote the equation using multiple assignments instead of one big assignment and got about a 50 times speed up. By this, I mean I changed

value(5, :) = big_expression1 ...
              + big_expression2 ...
              + big_expression3 ...
              + big_expression4;


value(5,:) = big_expression1;
value(5,:) = value(5,:) + big_expression2;
value(5,:) = value(5,:) + big_expression3;
value(5,:) = value(5,:) + big_expression4;

Can you think of any reason why the second version should drastically outperform the first?

  1 Comment

It depends on the real processing in "big_expression". Therefore your paraphrased code does not allow to reveal the problem.

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1 Answer

Answer by José-Luis
on 15 Feb 2013
Edited by José-Luis
on 15 Feb 2013
 Accepted Answer

I don't think it has anything to do with "...". Shot in the dark:

Cache locality? Maybe big_expression(n) and big_expression(n+1) fit together in the cache whereas when you call them all at the same time values need to be moved around in memory.


I would have never expected this to be a problem computing the rhs value of an ode state... just goes to show how helpful the profiler can be

Did you find the reason to the big difference in performance?

I've done some experiments with R2012a (64bit) without seeing anything like it.

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