I want to print a timer that starts at 0 when an evaluation begins and stops when the evaluation is completed. I have come up with the following solution using Clock and Dynamic but it's a bit clumsy.

time = AbsoluteTiming[
   clock = Dynamic[Clock[1000]];
   Print["Evaluating... Time: ", Dynamic[clock]];
clock = time[[1]];

Furthermore, if I want to time several evaluations one after the other, I have to introduce new variables time1 time2, clock1 clock2 etc. so the previous output doesn't get overwritten, which is annoying.

Is there a better way to do this?

Alternatively, I would be happy to only print the evaluation time after the computation has finished. But then I can't get the time to print on the same line as "Evaluating..." becuase Print always creates a new line. The solution would be to use WriteString instead of Print, but I like the Style and Dynamic functionalities of Print, which WriteString does not support.

Reply to Domen's comment:

In the end I guess the purpose is largely aesthetic. I have looked into Monitor and PrintTemporary but have not found them useful for this task (of course I could be wrong about that). Say I'm computing a series expansion with Series that takes a long time to finish. Then I would like to print some text when the computation starts (for example, "Starting series expansion... "). Then, when the computation is finished, I would like to add the evaluation time to this print output such that it reads "Starting series expansion... Time: 10.234" if it took 10.234 seconds. A nice (purely aesthetic) bonus would be if the timer could be shown in real-time, starting at 0 seconds and stopping at 10.234.

As I said above, printing the evaluation time after the evaluation has finished can be done using WriteString, but I wonder if there is a solution using Print.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to StackExchange! What exactly is you overall purpose? If you want to have a good measurement of the evaluation time of some computation, then adding any kind of real-time monitoring in between the calculation will inevitably make the computation slightly longer. Also, do you know about Monitor and PrintTemporary? $\endgroup$
    – Domen
    Mar 22, 2023 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your comment. I have posted my reply as an edit to my original question because it was too long to post as a comment. $\endgroup$
    – oakley09
    Mar 22, 2023 at 16:00

1 Answer 1

SetAttributes[timeit, HoldFirst];
timeit[expr_, label_] := 
 Module[{result, time}, 
  PrintTemporary["Evaluating ", label, "... Time: ", 
   Dynamic[Refresh[Clock[Infinity], UpdateInterval -> 1/2]], 
   " s"]; {time, result} = AbsoluteTiming[expr]; 
  Print[label <> " completed in ", time, " s"];

timeit[(Pause[3]; Series[Sin[x], {x, 0, 3}]), "Series expansion"]


Alternatively, you can use EchoTiming.

SetAttributes[timeit2, HoldFirst];
timeit2[expr_, label_] := 
  PrintTemporary["Evaluating ", label, "... Time: ", 
   Dynamic[Refresh[Clock[Infinity], UpdateInterval -> 1/2]]]; expr, 
  label <> " completed"]

timeit2[(Pause[3]; Series[Sin[x], {x, 0, 3}]), "Series expansion"]


  • $\begingroup$ (+1) Wow ,Super. $\endgroup$ Mar 22, 2023 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Very cool, thank you! I would upvote but don't have enough reputation yet. $\endgroup$
    – oakley09
    Mar 22, 2023 at 22:35

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