[PD] Findings regarding performance

Jaime Oliver jaime.oliver2 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 1 16:17:15 CET 2011

> [inlet~]     [inlet]
> |            |
> |            [switch~ ]
> |
> [outlet~]

Besides clicking problems which you might not care about, If you send a zero to switch~ while there is still audio in the buffer you'll get the buffer repeated over and over. This is why I use both a *~ AND a switch~.


> Let's call this abstraction [gate~ ]. It turned out to work as supposed.
> But is [gate~] really cheaper than [*~ ]? I made a test by connecting
> lots of [gate~]s to a chain and measure the CPU usage. For simplicity
> reason, let's just use an invented arbitrary unit for expressing the CPU
> time (ct) consumed by an object. It turned out that [gate~] uses 0.52ct
> when it is on and 0.4ct when it is off. But how much does [*~ ] use? No
> matter whether turned on or off, [*~ ] uses a stable 0.39ct.
> The relatively complex multiplication is _not_ more expensive than the
> on/off implementation with [switch~ ]. Even when turned off, the
> [switch~] approach is still more expensive.
> But the really interesting finding comes now. [*~ 0] has only 0.2ct!
> Almost the the ct value of a plain [*~ ] halved! It also doesn't matter
> what value the argument has. The plain fact of specifying an argument
> makes [*~ ] a lot cheaper. I also tested [/~ ], [+~ ] and [-~ ] and the
> same applies for those. They all have 0.39ct without argument and only
> 0.2ct with an argument specified. Depending on the kind of patch, this
> allows for quite a significant performance improvement.
> I also measured the ct of a [*~ ] when a signal wire is connected to the
> right inlet. It costs exactly as much (0.39ct) as when sending messages
> to the right inlet of a [*~ ] without argument. 
> My interpretation is that [*~ 0] and [*~ ] are two different objects.
> The latter always performs a calculation with two signals and implicitly
> converts a message on the right inlet to a signal, where the former
> really only deals with messages on the right inlet (and thus is
> cheaper). 
> On a completely different note, I wanted to know if it costs anything to
> have signals entering and leaving subpatches and abstractions a lot,
> respectively if [inlet~] and [outlet~] add some overhead in CPU time. I
> chained tens of thousands subpatches together and it seems that does not
> consume any additional CPU time at all. The values for [inlet~ ] and
> [outlet~] are much below 0.01ct. I haven't tested the cost, when more
> than one signal wire are going to an [inlet~], though. 
> Roman
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