how What is this cProfile result telling me I need to fix?

 

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I would like to improve the performance of a Python script and have been using cProfile to generate a performance report:

python -m cProfile -o chrX.prof ./bgchr.py ...args...

I opened this chrX.prof file with Python’s pstats and printed out the statistics:

Python 2.7 (r27:82500, Oct  5 2010, 00:24:22) 
[GCC 4.1.2 20080704 (Red Hat 4.1.2-44)] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pstats
>>> p = pstats.Stats('chrX.prof')
>>> p.sort_stats('name')
>>> p.print_stats()                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Sun Oct 10 00:37:30 2010    chrX.prof                                                                                                                                                                                                      

         8760583 function calls in 13.780 CPU seconds                                                                                                                                                                                      

   Ordered by: function name                                                                                                                                                                                                               

   ncalls  tottime  percall  cumtime  percall filename:lineno(function)                                                                                                                                                                    
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {_locale.setlocale}                                                                                                                                                                          
        1    1.128    1.128    1.128    1.128 {bz2.decompress}                                                                                                                                                                             
        1    0.002    0.002   13.780   13.780 {execfile}                                                                                                                                                                                   
  1750678    0.300    0.000    0.300    0.000 {len}                                                                                                                                                                                        
       48    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {method 'append' of 'list' objects}                                                                                                                                                          
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {method 'close' of 'file' objects}                                                                                                                                                           
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {method 'disable' of '_lsprof.Profiler' objects}                                                                                                                                             
  1750676    0.496    0.000    0.496    0.000 {method 'join' of 'str' objects}                                                                                                                                                             
        1    0.007    0.007    0.007    0.007 {method 'read' of 'file' objects}                                                                                                                                                            
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {method 'readlines' of 'file' objects}                                                                                                                                                       
        1    0.034    0.034    0.034    0.034 {method 'rstrip' of 'str' objects}                                                                                                                                                           
       23    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {method 'seek' of 'file' objects}                                                                                                                                                            
  1757785    1.230    0.000    1.230    0.000 {method 'split' of 'str' objects}                                                                                                                                                            
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {method 'startswith' of 'str' objects}                                                                                                                                                       
  1750676    0.872    0.000    0.872    0.000 {method 'write' of 'file' objects}                                                                                                                                                           
        1    0.007    0.007   13.778   13.778 ./bgchr:3(<module>)                                                                                                                                                                          
        1    0.000    0.000   13.780   13.780 <string>:1(<module>)                                                                                                                                                                         
        1    0.001    0.001    0.001    0.001 {open}                                                                                                                                                                                       
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 {sys.exit}                                                                                                                                                                                   
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 ./bgchr:36(checkCommandLineInputs)                                                                                                                                                           
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 ./bgchr:27(checkInstallation)                                                                                                                                                                
        1    1.131    1.131   13.701   13.701 ./bgchr:97(extractData)                                                                                                                                                                      
        1    0.003    0.003    0.007    0.007 ./bgchr:55(extractMetadata)                                                                                                                                                                  
        1    0.064    0.064   13.771   13.771 ./bgchr:5(main)                                                                                                                                                                              
  1750677    8.504    0.000   11.196    0.000 ./bgchr:122(parseJarchLine)                                                                                                                                                                  
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 ./bgchr:72(parseMetadata)                                                                                                                                                                    
        1    0.000    0.000    0.000    0.000 /home/areynolds/proj/tools/lib/python2.7/locale.py:517(setlocale) 

Question: What can I do about join, split and write operations to reduce the apparent impact they have on the performance of this script?

If it is relevant, here is the full source code to the script in question:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import sys, os, time, bz2, locale

def main(*args):
    # Constants
    global metadataRequiredFileSize
    metadataRequiredFileSize = 8192
    requiredVersion = (2,5)

    # Prep
    global whichChromosome
    whichChromosome = "all"
    checkInstallation(requiredVersion)
    checkCommandLineInputs()
    extractMetadata()
    parseMetadata()
    if whichChromosome == "--list":
        listMetadata()
        sys.exit(0)

    # Extract
    extractData()   
    return 0

def checkInstallation(rv):
    currentVersion = sys.version_info
    if currentVersion[0] == rv[0] and currentVersion[1] >= rv[1]:
        pass
    else:
        sys.stderr.write( "nt[%s] - Error: Your Python interpreter must be %d.%d or greater (within major version %d)n" % (sys.argv[0], rv[0], rv[1], rv[0]) )
        sys.exit(-1)
    return

def checkCommandLineInputs():
    cmdName = sys.argv[0]
    argvLength = len(sys.argv[1:])
    if (argvLength == 0) or (argvLength > 2):
        sys.stderr.write( "nt[%s] - Usage: %s [<chromosome> | --list] <bjarch-file>nn" % (cmdName, cmdName) )
        sys.exit(-1)
    else:   
        global inFile
        global whichChromosome
        if argvLength == 1:
            inFile = sys.argv[1]
        elif argvLength == 2:
            whichChromosome = sys.argv[1]
            inFile = sys.argv[2]
        if inFile == "-" or inFile == "--list":
            sys.stderr.write( "nt[%s] - Usage: %s [<chromosome> | --list] <bjarch-file>nn" % (cmdName, cmdName) )
            sys.exit(-1)
    return

def extractMetadata():
    global metadataList
    global dataHandle
    metadataList = []
    dataHandle = open(inFile, 'rb')
    try:
        for data in dataHandle.readlines(metadataRequiredFileSize):     
            metadataLine = data
            metadataLines = metadataLine.split('n')
            for line in metadataLines:      
                if line:
                    metadataList.append(line)
    except IOError:
        sys.stderr.write( "nt[%s] - Error: Could not extract metadata from %snn" % (sys.argv[0], inFile) )
        sys.exit(-1)
    return

def parseMetadata():
    global metadataList
    global metadata
    metadata = []
    if not metadataList: # equivalent to "if len(metadataList) > 0"
        sys.stderr.write( "nt[%s] - Error: No metadata in %snn" % (sys.argv[0], inFile) )
        sys.exit(-1)
    for entryText in metadataList:
        if entryText: # equivalent to "if len(entryText) > 0"
            entry = entryText.split('t')
            filename = entry[0]
            chromosome = entry[0].split('.')[0]
            size = entry[1]
            entryDict = { 'chromosome':chromosome, 'filename':filename, 'size':size }
            metadata.append(entryDict)
    return

def listMetadata():
    for index in metadata:
        chromosome = index['chromosome']
        filename = index['filename']
        size = long(index['size'])
        sys.stdout.write( "%st%st%ld" % (chromosome, filename, size) )
    return

def extractData():
    global dataHandle
    global pLength
    global lastEnd
    locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, 'POSIX')
    dataHandle.seek(metadataRequiredFileSize, 0) # move cursor past metadata
    for index in metadata:
        chromosome = index['chromosome']
        size = long(index['size'])
        pLength = 0L
        lastEnd = ""
        if whichChromosome == "all" or whichChromosome == index['chromosome']:
            dataStream = dataHandle.read(size)
            uncompressedData = bz2.decompress(dataStream)
            lines = uncompressedData.rstrip().split('n')
            for line in lines:
                parseJarchLine(chromosome, line)
            if whichChromosome == chromosome:
                break
        else:
            dataHandle.seek(size, 1) # move cursor past chromosome chunk

    dataHandle.close()
    return

def parseJarchLine(chromosome, line):
    global pLength
    global lastEnd
    elements = line.split('t')
    if len(elements) > 1:
        if lastEnd:
            start = long(lastEnd) + long(elements[0])
            lastEnd = long(start + pLength)
            sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ldt%sn" % (chromosome, start, lastEnd, 't'.join(elements[1:])))
        else:
            lastEnd = long(elements[0]) + long(pLength)
            sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ldt%sn" % (chromosome, long(elements[0]), lastEnd, 't'.join(elements[1:])))
    else:
        if elements[0].startswith('p'):
            pLength = long(elements[0][1:])
        else:
            start = long(long(lastEnd) + long(elements[0]))
            lastEnd = long(start + pLength)
            sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ldn" % (chromosome, start, lastEnd))               
    return

if __name__ == '__main__':
    sys.exit(main(*sys.argv))

EDIT

If I comment out the sys.stdout.write statement in the first conditional of parseJarchLine(), then my runtime goes from 10.2 sec to 4.8 sec:

# with first conditional's "sys.stdout.write" enabled
$ time ./bgchr chrX test.bjarch > /dev/null
real    0m10.186s                                                                                                                                                                                        
user    0m9.917s                                                                                                                                                                                         
sys 0m0.160s  

# after first conditional's "sys.stdout.write" is commented out                                                                                                                                                                                           
$ time ./bgchr chrX test.bjarch > /dev/null
real    0m4.808s                                                                                                                                                                                         
user    0m4.561s                                                                                                                                                                                         
sys 0m0.156s

Is writing to stdout really that expensive in Python?

 

 

————————————————-

Answer

ncalls is relevant only to the extent that comparing the numbers against other counts such as number of chars/fields/lines in a file may highligh anomalies; tottime and cumtime is what really matters. cumtime is the time spent in the function/method including the time spent in the functions/methods that it calls; tottime is the time spent in the function/method excluding the time spent in the functions/methods that it calls.

I find it helpful to sort the stats on tottime and again on cumtime, not on name.

bgchar definitely refers to the execution of the script and is not irrelevant as it takes up 8.9 seconds out of 13.5; that 8.9 seconds does NOT include time in the functions/methods that it calls! Read carefully what @Lie Ryan says about modularising your script into functions, and implement his advice. Likewise what @jonesy says.

string is mentioned because you import string and use it in only one place: string.find(elements[0], 'p'). On another line in the output you’ll notice that string.find was called only once, so it’s not a performance problem in this run of this script. HOWEVER: You use str methods everywhere else. string functions are deprecated nowadays and are implemented by calling the corresponding str method. You would be better writing elements[0].find('p') == 0 for an exact but faster equivalent, and might like to use elements[0].startswith('p') which would save readers wondering whether that == 0 should actually be == -1.

The four methods mentioned by @Bernd Petersohn take up only 3.7 seconds out of a total execution time of 13.541 seconds. Before worrying too much about those, modularise your script into functions, run cProfile again, and sort the stats by tottime.

Update after question revised with changed script:

“””Question: What can I do about join, split and write operations to reduce the apparent impact they have on the performance of this script?””

Huh? Those 3 together take 2.6 seconds out of the total of 13.8. Your parseJarchLine function is taking 8.5 seconds (which doesn’t include time taken by functions/methods that it calls. assert(8.5 > 2.6)

Bernd has already pointed you at what you might consider doing with those. You are needlessly splitting the line completely only to join it up again when writing it out. You need to inspect only the first element. Instead of elements = line.split('t') do elements = line.split('t', 1) and replace 't'.join(elements[1:]) by elements[1].

Now let’s dive into the body of parseJarchLine. The number of uses in the source and manner of the uses of the long built-in function are astonishing. Also astonishing is the fact that long is not mentioned in the cProfile output.

Why do you need long at all? Files over 2 Gb? OK, then you need to consider that since Python 2.2, int overflow causes promotion to long instead of raising an exception. You can take advantage of faster execution of int arithmetic. You also need to consider that doing long(x) when x is already demonstrably a long is a waste of resources.

Here is the parseJarchLine function with removing-waste changes marked [1] and changing-to-int changes marked [2]. Good idea: make changes in small steps, re-test, re-profile.

def parseJarchLine(chromosome, line):
    global pLength
    global lastEnd
    elements = line.split('t')
    if len(elements) > 1:
        if lastEnd != "":
            start = long(lastEnd) + long(elements[0])
            # [1] start = lastEnd + long(elements[0])
            # [2] start = lastEnd + int(elements[0])
            lastEnd = long(start + pLength)
            # [1] lastEnd = start + pLength
            sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ldt%sn" % (chromosome, start, lastEnd, 't'.join(elements[1:])))
        else:
            lastEnd = long(elements[0]) + long(pLength)
            # [1] lastEnd = long(elements[0]) + pLength
            # [2] lastEnd = int(elements[0]) + pLength
            sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ldt%sn" % (chromosome, long(elements[0]), lastEnd, 't'.join(elements[1:])))
    else:
        if elements[0].startswith('p'):
            pLength = long(elements[0][1:])
            # [2] pLength = int(elements[0][1:])
        else:
            start = long(long(lastEnd) + long(elements[0]))
            # [1] start = lastEnd + long(elements[0])
            # [2] start = lastEnd + int(elements[0])
            lastEnd = long(start + pLength)
            # [1] lastEnd = start + pLength
            sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ldn" % (chromosome, start, lastEnd))               
    return

Update after question about sys.stdout.write

If the statement that you commented out was anything like the original one:

sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ldt%sn" % (chromosome, start, lastEnd, 't'.join(elements[1:])))

Then your question is … interesting. Try this:

payload = "%st%ldt%ldt%sn" % (chromosome, start, lastEnd, 't'.join(elements[1:]))
sys.stdout.write(payload)

Now comment out the sys.stdout.write statement …

By the way, someone mentioned in a comment about breaking this into more than one write … have you considered this? How many bytes on average in elements[1:] ? In chromosome?

=== change of topic: It worries me that you initialise lastEnd to "" rather than to zero, and that nobody has commented on it. Any way, you should fix this, which allows a rather drastic simplification plus adding in others’ suggestions:

def parseJarchLine(chromosome, line):
    global pLength
    global lastEnd
    elements = line.split('t', 1)
    if elements[0][0] == 'p':
        pLength = int(elements[0][1:])
        return
    start = lastEnd + int(elements[0])
    lastEnd = start + pLength
    sys.stdout.write("%st%ldt%ld" % (chromosome, start, lastEnd))
    if elements[1:]:
        sys.stdout.write(elements[1])
    sys.stdout.write(n)

Now I’m similarly worried about the two global variables lastEnd and pLength — the parseJarchLine function is now so small that it can be folded back into the body of its sole caller, extractData, which saves two global variables, and a gazillion function calls. You could also save a gazillion lookups of sys.stdout.write by putting write = sys.stdout.write once up the front of extractData and using that instead.

BTW, the script tests for Python 2.5 or better; have you tried profiling on 2.5 and 2.6?

cprofile,performance,profile,profiling,python

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