Questions on optimizing Mathematica code for higher performance. This may mean faster execution, lower memory usage or both. Not to be confused with mathematical optimization.

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130
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3answers
8k views

Performance tuning in Mathematica?

What performance tuning tricks do you use to make a Mathematica application faster? MATLAB has an amazing profiler, but from what I can tell, Mathematica has no similar functionality.
97
votes
1answer
5k views

File-backed lists/variables for handling large data

Background Currently I am working with some large data (most of it generated by Mathematica itself). I usually find it a hassle to do this. For example, I just exported a large amount of data to ...
91
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are numeric division and subtraction not handled better in Mathematica?

There is something that has been troubling me for a while. At least through version 10.0 the performance of a / b and a - b is ...
78
votes
8answers
14k views

How to make an inkblot?

How to effectively create a polygon that looks like a realistic inkblot? So far, I could come up with this (borrowing from Ed Pegg Jr.'s Rorschach demonstration): ...
74
votes
2answers
5k views

Shaving the last 50 ms off NMinimize

The epilogue: A paper where the below answer is used was published. The answer below is cited among the references:) The background: I have to fit an objective function for ~10 000 datasets in near ...
73
votes
3answers
3k views

What is a Mathematica packed array?

A simple sounding question with a few sub questions: What is the difference between unpacked vs packed array? Are packed arrays more space efficent, how much so? Are packed arrays more time ...
66
votes
4answers
2k views
65
votes
2answers
3k views

Profiling from Mathematica

I've always wished I could do some profiling like you get in Wolfram Workbench, but directly from Mathematica, without using or having Workbench. If it is possible, how can I do it?
58
votes
6answers
11k views
57
votes
0answers
1k views

Is this the most effective and efficient programming style for prototyping (a ray tracer) in Mathematica?

I am trying out Mathematica as a prototyping tool. As an initial exercise I have put together a brute force ray tracer, with a view to using Mathematica's built in probability distribution functions ...
55
votes
2answers
3k views

Internal`Bag inside Compile

Since Internal`Bag, Internal`StuffBag and Internal`BagPart can be compiled down, it is a ...
53
votes
2answers
10k views

How can I use Mathematica's graph functions to cheat at Boggle?

Boggle is a word game played with 16 dice and a 4x4 tray. This question is inspired by a Stack Overflow question about Boggle that I decided to solve using Mathematica. In addition to Mathematica, I ...
50
votes
4answers
3k views

Speeding up this fractal-generating code

I used the code below (which is a sample from this gist containing more similar code) in my answer to my own question about Mandelbrot-like sets for functions other than the simple quadratic on Math....
47
votes
3answers
3k views

Benchmarking Mathematica performance on the Raspberry Pi

It is not surprising that Mathematica on the Raspberry Pi is slow and clunky. In Stephen Wolfram's words, the command line is "quite zippy" but the notebook interface is "a trifle sluggish by modern ...
44
votes
6answers
3k views

How to efficiently find positions of duplicates?

Is there an efficient way to find the positions of the duplicates in a list? I would like the positions grouped according to duplicated elements. For instance, given ...
44
votes
1answer
2k views

Adaptive sampling for slow to compute functions in 2D

EDIT: Although I have posted an answer based on my current progress, this in incomplete. Please see the "open issues" section in the answer. Most plotting functions in Mathematica adjust the ...
41
votes
3answers
971 views

Are there guidelines for avoiding the unpacking of a packed array?

Packed arrays are very useful because they save memory and generally allow speedier and more efficient calculation times. If a list of data currently stored as a packed array is unpacked, it can slow ...
41
votes
2answers
2k views

Performance tuning for game solving (peg solitaire | senku)

There's a game I saw at a friend's yesterday, that I often see at people's homes, but never for enough time to think on it too hard. It's called peg solitaire (thanks @R.M). So I came home and I ...
40
votes
10answers
2k views

Happy 2K prime question

This being the Q number 2K in the site, and this being the day we got the confirmation of mathematica.se graduating soon, I think a celebration question is in order. So... What is the fastest way to ...
40
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the new PositionIndex horribly slow?

This issue has largely been mitigated in 10.0.1. New timings for the final test below are: ...
40
votes
1answer
1k views

Transferring a large amount of data in parallel calculations

This question is inspired by one of @whuber's answers Consider the following code: ...
39
votes
9answers
2k views

What would you ask Mathematica to do on a big system?

Our hardware supplier has given us the opportunity to test Mathematica on a big Windows system. The specs will be 1 to 4 TB of working memory and 12 sockets with 18 cores each. I got 1 full week of ...
37
votes
2answers
4k views

How can I improve the speed of eigenvalue decompositions for large matrices?

I often need to compute the eigenvalues of large matrices, and I invariably resort to MATLAB for these, simply because it is much faster. I'd like to change that, so that I can work entirely inside my ...
35
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it possible to speed up ContourPlot on multi-core machines?

It is not very difficult to face a function for which ContourPlot works too slow. And it seems natural that this function can be parallelized well. Anyway, naive <...
34
votes
4answers
5k views

Fastest way to calculate matrix of pairwise distances

It is a very common problem that given a distance function $d(p_1,p_2)$ and a set of points pts, we need to construct a matrix ...
34
votes
5answers
8k views

Finding Local Minima / Maxima in Noisy Data

I'm trying to find local minima / maxima in noisy data, consisting of data values taken at certain time intervals. Ideally, the function should take a pair of lists (one containing time values and one ...
34
votes
0answers
1k views

Fast Spherical Harmonics radiative transfer

This is a rather specific question and I apologize for spamming you with some lengthy code. But it could be interesting for some reader and maybe you can help out, so please bear with me. I am using ...
33
votes
3answers
911 views

Parallelize evaluation of function with memoization

I have a complicated function that I need multiple times, so I want to memoize it and have the first evaluation done in parallel. Unlike in my example below it's not a continuous function, so ...
32
votes
1answer
695 views

Why is StringExpression faster than RegularExpression?

Edit: as noted by Albert Retey the performance difference is only seen when sub expression extraction is performed. If this test is used below the timings are similar: ...
31
votes
3answers
2k views

xkcdConvert routines perform slower in Mathematica 9

I am experiencing some rather large performance decreases in Mathematica version 9.0 using the xkcd-styled plotting routines. I had used the xkcdConvert code ...
31
votes
1answer
860 views

Terrifying performance decrease for contour/density plots in v10.1 -> 10.3

Bug introduced in 10.3 and fixed in 10.3.1 I setup for download a test dataset at http://www.inrim.it/~magni/cm.dat.gz (a set of 64800 triplets x,y,z). The behavior can be reproduced with the ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

Can a Trie be implemented efficiently?

What is the most space and time efficient way to implement a Trie in Mathematica? Will it be practically faster than what is natively available in appropriate cases?
30
votes
3answers
913 views

How to flush machine underflows to zero and prevent conversion to arbitrary precision?

I'm working on some pretty intense computation in Mathematica; when my code started running slowly, I tracked the source of the problem to Exp[]. I need to ...
30
votes
1answer
1k views

Mma 10: Half the parallel power (Macs)?

Here is a comparison of the parallel kernels launched under Mathematica under v9 and v10, on the same identical current 2014 R2-D2 Mac Pro ... [ Update: Valerio has commented that the same issue ...
30
votes
1answer
407 views

Exporting extremely large images; arrays generated via TensorProduct use 5 times as much RAM as expected?

I am generating plots of the roots of certain classes of polynomials, in the spirit of the multicolored visuals on the Wiki page on algebraic numbers. I've thus far been able to make some extremely ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Smooth Peter de Jong attractor

Today I was playing with Peter de Jong attractor. At the bottom of the page I've linked there are beautiful examples like: My attempts are not so great: It is around 10^5 points. For more than 5*...
29
votes
3answers
1k views

DeleteDuplicatesBy is not performing as I'd hoped. Am I missing something?

Déjà vu: a new-in-v10 function should provide a better solution to an old problem, but my enthusiasm is curbed when I run timings. This time the function is ...
29
votes
1answer
717 views

How are MemberQ and FreeQ so fast?

I would like to understand the implementation that allows MemberQ and FreeQ to be as fast as they are. I noticed this thanks to ...
29
votes
1answer
369 views

Why is multidimensional Reverse slow?

Bug introduced in 6.0 or earlier and persisting through 10.3.1 I have found that multidimensional Reverse is ~10 times slower than exact ...
28
votes
6answers
2k views

How to improve the performance of solutions to Project Euler (#39)?

This is the problem 39 of Project Euler, which I asked in the chat room two days ago. My original code runs as slowly as snails, and finally I got two answers from JM and Rojo. Unfortunately, both of ...
28
votes
3answers
3k views

How to read data file quickly?

I have a tab separated value file with 10 million rows each of which has three tab separated values. The first value is a string, the second an integer, and the third another string. How to read ...
28
votes
1answer
326 views

Solve slower in versions 9 and 10

With some systems of equations, Solve is much slower in versions 9 and 10 than in earlier versions, apparently because it is doing more simplification of the ...
28
votes
0answers
477 views

What Mathematica features and idioms have $n^2$ complexity or worse [closed]

Here are a few: AppendTo[data, elem], Sort[data, test], in some cases use of ___ (as ...
27
votes
3answers
1k views

Common subexpression from two expressions

I am working with some unpleasantly tedious polynomials, which need to be manipulated in various ways (integrate with respect to some variable, differentiate with respect to another). Since these ...
27
votes
2answers
632 views

Why is Query so much slower than Part?

Time for another of these(1),(2) as yet another new-in-10 function appears to have poor performance compared to older alternatives. This time: Query appears to be ...
26
votes
6answers
1k views

Faster alternatives for DayOfWeek

It has been noticed on several occasions that DayOfWeek function is rather slow when applied to a large list of dates, e.g. in this recent question. What faster ...
26
votes
5answers
5k views

Making fractals with Mathematica

I recently saw this post on math.stackexchange and was curious as to how to generate the image in Mathematica. I tried the following naive approach; however, it is extremely slow. ...
26
votes
5answers
982 views

Can (compiled) matrix permanent evaluation be further sped-up?

Update III  Mathematica 10.2.0 now ships with a predefined System`Permanent function, which the PermanentCode package ...
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Why won't Parallelize speed up my code?

What reasons are there that can cause parallelized Mathematica code not to run with full performance?
26
votes
2answers
633 views

How can I ensure that I am constructing patterns in the most efficient way possible?

Inspired by this answer, I am interested to know if there are best practices or rules of thumb for constructing patterns, for example for use in function definitions (...