[Haskell-cafe] Inline makes program slow?

Dominick Samperi djsamperi at gmail.com
Sun Mar 30 16:57:39 UTC 2014

Compiler optimization levels are also important. The attached program compiles
and runs ok using:

ghc -O fibmustopt.hs

But if the '-O' option is omitted all of the available memory is used
and it fails.

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 2:56 AM, wren romano <winterkoninkje at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 9:43 PM, Kai Zhang <kai at kzhang.org> wrote:
>> Without inline (remove the inline pragma), "slow" would be much faster. I
>> suspect this is because ghc can build a "persistent structure" for the
>> partial applied function. After inline, each call of "g" will try to build a
>> new vector. How can I tell ghc not to inline some specific functions? Or are
>> there other ways to resolve this issue?
> For what it's worth, I don't think this is an inlining issue, per se;
> rather, it's an issue with the fact that eta-conversion does not
> preserve performance characteristics. That is, when we inline h and
> perform as much beta-reduction as we can, we're left with the lambda
> expression:
>     \i -> (V.fromList $ sort str) V.! i
> Which is not necessarily the same thing, performance-wise, as:
>     ((V.fromList $ sort str) V.!)
> The problem is that, implicitly, the whole body of the lambda
> abstraction (might) depend on the value of i and therefore cannot be
> performed until we know what i is. If we wanted to make it explicit
> that sorting the string is independent of the value of i, we could
> write:
>     let s = V.fromList $ sort str in \i -> s V.! i
> By using let-binding to lift most of the computation out of the body
> of the lambda abstraction, we ensure that the sorting will only be
> done once, rather than (possibly) being done every time this function
> is called.
> The reason I say "might" and "possibly" is because, in theory, the
> compiler could choose to perform this transformation for you. And
> sometimes it does (as apparently it does in your fast code). The
> problem is that, in practice, performing this transformation
> everywhere can slow things down horribly by taking too much memory
> because you're trying to hold onto too many things. Thus, the compiler
> must rely on heuristics to decide when it should float computations
> out from under lambdas and when it shouldn't.
> --
> Live well,
> ~wren
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