[Haskell-cafe] haskell crypto is reaaaaaaaaaally slow

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at worc.ox.ac.uk
Wed Jun 20 23:36:13 EDT 2007

On Wed, 2007-06-20 at 16:53 -0700, Stefan O'Rear wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 20, 2007 at 04:49:55PM -0700, David Roundy wrote:
> > To expand on that terse (but very true) statement, a list of Word8
> > increases the space usage by a factor of probably around an order of
> > magnitude (two pointers + 1 byte vs 1 byte), completely destroys your
> Three pointers.
> [ INFO PTR (like a tag but not quite)             ]
> [ PTR to Word8 (these are hashconsed, thankfully) ]
> [ PTR to next value                               ]

So that's 12 bytes on a 32bit box, or 24 or a 64bit one, to represent
one byte of data.

For comparison, ByteStrings have a bigger overhead but a lower linear

sizeof [Word8] of length n :
32bit: n * 12
64bit: n * 24

sizeof ByteString of length n :
32bit: 40 + n   (or 32 + n for shared bytestrings like substrings)
64bit: 80 + n   (or 64 + n for shared)

Incidentally a more space efficient representation that could preserve
the same operations speeds (like O(1) substring) would be:

data ByteString = BS ByteArray# Int Int

which would be 4 unshared words and 2 shared words rather than the
current 5 unshared and 4 shared that we get from using ForeignPtrs.

The smallest possible would be 2 words overhead by just using a
ByteArray#, but that sacrifices O(1) substring which is pretty important
for a functional style.


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