|Syntactic Confectionery Delight|
Re: Algorithm::Treapby BrowserUk (Pope)
|on Sep 08, 2003 at 01:16 UTC||Need Help??|
One question and one suggestion.
The question: Why would I use a Treap and what benefits (and costs) would result as compared to using a normal hash for that (those) same applications?
The Suggestion: If you get around to modifying the interface to take a single custom comparator rather than the two as now (which I think makes a lot of sense), then you might also consider making the standard alpha comparator (cmp) a settable option in place of the default numeric comparator. That is to say, have a new()/tie() time option that can be set to indicate that the caller wants an alpha-sort order used rather than a numeric and then use cmp rather than <=> internally to the module rather than requiring the user to supply a comparator function that does this.
The main reason is that callbacks can be expensive. The best demonstration of this is the GRT. Even though performing a numeric sort using a GRT requires stringifying the numeric (part of the) values to be sorted, into numerically orderable strings (ie. fixed width with leading zeros), this pre-sort overhead is more than compensated for by performance gained by avoiding the need to callback into user code for the comparisons during the sort. I think that the overhead of an if or trinary conditional in the module code to determine which operator to use when inserting and/or balancing (is that the right term with a Treap?) would be easily offset by the benefit of not invoking a callback for the common cases of a 'trivial comparator', ie. numeric or alpha.
As an aside. I've long wished that perl had a numeric sort option built in (would one extra built-in called sortn be any great burden?), so that many cases where sorting numerically currently requires the overhead of a trivial callback or user block, or resorting to the GRT (or tyes recently posted variation on the theme) would become unnecessary.
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