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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75
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
74
votes
3answers
2k 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.
60
votes
8answers
12k 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): ...
58
votes
2answers
592 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 in version 7, the performance of a / b and a - b is not ...
53
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
46
votes
4answers
1k views
44
votes
6answers
6k views
41
votes
2answers
9k views

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

This question is inspired by a Stack Overflow question that I decided to solve using Mathematica. In addition to Mathematica, I thought I'd use some of the new version's graph-related functionality, ...
41
votes
1answer
1k 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?
40
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
38
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
38
votes
2answers
2k views

Internal`Bag inside Compile

Since Internal`Bag, Internal`StuffBag and Internal`BagPart can be compiled down, it is a ...
34
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
33
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
31
votes
9answers
1k 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 ...
30
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
28
votes
1answer
723 views

Transferring a large amount of data in parallel calculations

This question is inspired by one of @whuber's answers Consider the following code: ...
27
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
26
votes
2answers
471 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 ...
26
votes
1answer
812 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 ...
26
votes
0answers
356 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: ...
24
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
730 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?
24
votes
1answer
491 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
958 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
413 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 (...
23
votes
1answer
3k views

Finding long strings of identical digits in transcendental numbers

Introduction Describing the three main streams of present-day mathematical philosophy (formalism, Platonism and intuitionism) in a well-known book, The Emperor's New Mind, R. Penrose says: ...it ...
21
votes
5answers
429 views

More efficient way of generating list of occurrence counts?

Given a list, e.g., target = {a, b, c, b, c, d, c, d, e, f, a, h, g}, I want to generate a list containing the occurrence count of the corresponding element of the ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

efficient way to count the number of zeros at the (right) end of a very large number

If I want to count the number of zeros at the (right) end of a large number, like $12345!$, I can use something like: Length[Last[Split[IntegerDigits[12345!]]]] ...
20
votes
5answers
2k 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. ...
20
votes
4answers
654 views

Efficient circular buffer?

I wish to create an efficient circular buffer. That is, I wish to keep a fixed length list while appending a new value and dropping the oldest, repeatedly. As we know lists in Mathematica are ...
20
votes
1answer
218 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
385 views

Compiling ColorFunction for faster complex phase-amplitude plots

I have gotten into the habit of plotting complex-valued functions on a plane using a color-function along the lines of ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Reading periodic elements from a large file

I have a large binary data file (big endian) with 100+ million "rows" of 11 elements, combination of floats and integers. This is the format: ...
18
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Data fitting with Image processing feature detection

I have some 2D data that once plotted looks like the following ...
18
votes
3answers
416 views

Is there a faster way to create a matrix of indices from ragged data?

I have data that is given as a list of ordered pairs mixed with scalars. The pairs can contain infinite bounds. My goal is to convert the data into an index used in future computations. ...
18
votes
1answer
312 views

Is there an NDSolve`ProcessEquations analog for NIntegrate?

NDSolve has an interface for repeatedly solving an equation with different initial conditions without having to analyze the equation and set up the solving algorithm each time. This can improve ...
18
votes
1answer
448 views

How can I effectively performance-profile Dynamics?

How to optimize performance-wise a complex dynamic expression (like a GUI) with lots of dynamically updated components, which require different update-frequencies? I was hesitant to ask this question ...
17
votes
2answers
902 views

Efficient way of finding shortest distance between two sets of points in mathematica

I have two sets of 3D points, say a = RandomReal[1, {10, 3}]; b = RandomReal[1, {10, 3}]; I wanna find the first N pairs that have shortest distance between the ...
17
votes
1answer
862 views

Optimizing a Numerical Laplace Equation Solver

Laplace's Equation is an equation on a scalar in which, given the value of the scalar on the boundaries (the boundary conditions), one can determine the value of the scalar at any point in the region ...
17
votes
1answer
307 views

Underlying Algorithms for List Manipulation Functions

Does anyone know, or know of a link for the underlying algorithms used for list manipulation functions? Specifically: Union with and without the ...
17
votes
2answers
414 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
652 views

Split a string at specific positions

Given a string of alphanumerical characters, how to split it simply and quickly at the center of continuous letter-substrings? Is there an elegant and fast solutions out there in the "computational ...
16
votes
4answers
968 views

How to speed up the function DelaunayTriangulation?

First define a function meshGrid to generate some points: ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Efficiently generating n-D Gaussian random fields

I am interested in an efficient code to generate an $n$-D Gaussian random field (sometimes called processes in other fields of research), which has applications in cosmology. I wrote the following ...
16
votes
4answers
764 views

How to collect result continuously (interruptible calculation) when running parallel calculations?

This is the most common pattern to compute a table of results: Table[function[p], {p, parameters}] (regardless of how it's implemented, it could be a ...