Re: [S] Re: Factorials in S-PLUS: over-under

Prof Brian Ripley (
Tue, 31 Mar 1998 08:09:33 +0100 (BST)

Patrick Connolly wrote:
> Barry Courtois wrote:
> |> Rather than given an overall impression of which particular implentation
> |> of S you think is faster than another, I would find it more helpful if you
> |> gave concrete examples. Perhaps a judicious use of dos.time() and
> |> unix.time()?
> That sounds fair enough and I would have done it except that
> dos.time() returns a value of something like 4.8 seconds, but it
> doesn't include the 10 minutes I was waiting for the hourglass to
> finish. Running the same code in Unix would have a unix.time of
> something like 7 seconds. Comparing the "objectively measured" times
> does not give a sensible comparison. If I can see that I can start
> doing something else in Unix in less than 10 seconds, but need more
> than 10 minutes in NT, I believe my subjective measurement and
> distrust what was being measured by dos.time().

On my 133Mhz Pentium laptop, W95, 32Mb of memory, S-PLUS 4.x (all
varieties) starts up in 40-50 seconds. S-PLUS 3.3 starts in 7 seconds.
S-PLUS 3.4 on my Sun UltraSparc 1/170 also starts in 7 seconds. (On our
1990-vintage diskless 20Mhz Sun SLCs it takes about 30 seconds depending
on the network load.) On our 200Mhz Pentium, 64Mb, NT4.0 S-PLUS 4.0 also
takes 40 seconds. (In all cases, starting in an empty directory with no
object browser.) Sqpe.exe starts up in a few seconds, about 2 seconds the
second and subsequent times it is used (due to caching).

> I brought up this question last year and it didn't seem to be common
> to others. There's a bottleneck somewhere that doesn't affect Word
> and Excel and I don't really blame S4 for it. I haven't had the time
> to seek it out thoroughly. I need to borrow other equipment to test a
> few things to track it down.

The bottleneck seems to be the very large number of files (DLLs and start-up
files) that S-PLUS 4.x processes before getting to the prompt.

Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595
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