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Small drawing of a B+ tree

Publishing STX B+ Tree 0.9 - Speed Gains over 0.8.6

Posted on 2013-05-07 21:16 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: stx-btree

This blog post announces the new version 0.9 of my popular STX B+ Tree library of C++ templates, speedtests and demos. Since the last release in 2011, many patches and new ideas have accumulated. Here a summary of the most prominent changes:

STX B+ tree version 0.9 is available from the usual project webpage.

The switch from binary search to linear scan, and all further patches and optimization call for a direct comparison of version 0.8.6 and 0.9. Because of special optimizations to the btree_set specializations, the following plots differentiate between set and maps.

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Photo of my Raspberry Pi Model B

STX B+ Tree Speed Test Measurements on Raspberry Pi (Model B)

Posted on 2013-05-06 09:48 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: stx-btree frontpage

The Raspberry Pi is maybe one of the most hyped embedded system projects in the last year, and I also got myself one for experiments. People are doing amazing things with this Linux-in-a-box SoC. Doubtlessly, the popularity is due to the standardized platform and a large community forming around it, which makes fixing the many small problems with Linux on ARM systems feasible. For me, the Raspberry Pi is an alternative architecture on which to test my algorithms and libraries, which exhibits somewhat different characteristics than the highly optimized desktop CPUs.

So I decided to run my STX B+ Tree speed test on the Raspberry Pi Model B, because most people use the SoC for multimedia purposes and little other memory performance data is available. The B+ tree speed test gives insight into the platform's overall memory and processing performance, and thus yields a better assessment of how useful the system is for general purpose applications (unlike multimedia decoding). Most benchmarks focus solely on floating point or integer arithmetic, which alone are very poor indicators for overall system performance. The Raspberry Pi forums say it has performance similar to a "Pentium 2 with 300 MHz", but that is for arithmetic.

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STX B+ Tree Measuring Memory Usage with malloc_count

Posted on 2013-05-05 09:44 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 2 Comments. Tags: stx-btree frontpage

Within the next few days, a new version of my popular STX B+ Tree library will be released. In light of this imminent release, I created a memory profile with my malloc_count tool, comparing the requirements of four different C++ maps with integer keys and values.

The test is really simple: create a map container, insert 8 Mi random integer key/value pairs, and destruct it. The memory profile shows the amount of memory over time as allocated via malloc() or new. The test encompasses the usual gcc STL's map which is a red-black tree, the older hash_map from gcc's STL extensions, the newer gcc C++ tr1::unordered_map, and of course the stx::btree_map with default configuration. As a reference, I also added the usual STL vector and deque (not map containers), to verify the plotting facilities.

To isolate heap fragmentation, the profiler fork()s separate process contexts before each run. To avoid problems with multiple equal random keys, the multimap variant of all containers is used. Here is the memory profile (also included in the STX B+ Tree tarball):

Memory profile of map containers

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Animation showing binary search and linear scan

STX B+ Tree Revisiting Binary Search

Posted on 2013-05-04 12:44 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: stx-btree

While developing another piece of software, I happened to require a customizable binary search implementation, which lead me to revisit the binary search function of my quite popular STX B+ Tree implementation.

The binary search is a central component in the container, both for performance and correctness, as it is used when traversing the tree in search for a key or an insertion point. It is implemented in the find_lower() (and find_upper()) functions.

In a first step, I cleaned the implementation to use an exclusive right boundary. In this binary search variant, hi points to the first element beyond the end (with the same meaning as usual end() C++ iterator). This got rid of the special case handled after the while loop. The exclusive right boundary is also a more natural implementation variant (even though most computer science textbooks contain the inclusive version).

Having thus changed the binary search, I reran the speed tests. However, to my surprise, the performance of the library decreased slightly, but consistently. See the code diff 39580c19 and resulting speed test PDF, where solid lines are after the patch and dashed ones before.

After some research, I found a good, independent study of binary search variants by Stephan Brumme. His summary is that a linear scan is more efficient than binary search, if the keys are located in only one cache line. This (of course) explained the performance decrease I measured, as my "special case" after the search was in fact a very short linear scan of two element.

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Small drawing of a B+ tree

Update Release of STX B+ Tree 0.8.6

Posted on 2011-05-18 12:44 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 1 Comments. Tags: c++ stx-btree

After four years I have decided to release an updated version 0.8.6 of the STX B+ Tree C++ Template Classes package. The updated release contains all patches that have accumulated in my inbox over the years. So yes, please send me patches for this project, it is not in vain! Below the highlights on the changes in this release:

I also reran the speed test done back in 2007 on my new hardware and compared the results with the old data. Due to the larger L2 cache sizes in my new Intel Core i7, the B-tree speed-up first starts to show at about 100,000 integer items, rather than 16,000 items with my older Pentium 4. This might also have something to do with the new CPU using 64-bit pointers and thus requiring larger nodes for child references. Read the complete speed test here.

result plot from new speedtest

The updated source code package is available for download from this webpage.


Small drawing of a B+ tree

Update Release of STX B+ Tree 0.8.3

Posted on 2008-09-07 18:31 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: c++ stx-btree

Released another updated version 0.8.3 of the STX B+ Tree C++ Template Classes package. The updated release fixes up issues with the root node == NULL when the tree is initially empty.

Fixed crash when running verify() on an empty btree object. Now the root node is freed when the last item is removed. Also fixed crash when attempting to copy an empty btree or when trying to remove a non-existing item from an empty btree.

Also enhancing the speedtest to test the hash table container implementation from __gnu_cxx. Extending tests by another set of runs measuring only the find/lookup functions. See the speed results web page for more information.

The updated source code package is available for download from this webpage.

Some compiled binaries of wxBTreeDemo for Win32 and Linux are available on the demo download page.

As before, the updated main B+ tree implementation can be found in doxygen stx/btree.h or with plain text comments stx/btree.h.


Small drawing of a B+ tree

Update Release of STX B+ Tree 0.8.2

Posted on 2008-08-13 16:48 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: c++ stx-btree

Released an updated version 0.8.2 of the STX B+ Tree C++ Template Classes package. The updated release fixes up all issues with iterators and one harmless bad-memory access.

The reverse_iterator classes of the B+ tree were completely reworked. Now they are real implementations and do not use STL magic. Both reverse_iterator and const_reverse_iterator should work as expected now. Added two large test cases for iterators. Enabled public default-constructors on iterators.

Also fixed a memory access bug which happens in erase_one_descend(): leaf->slotkey[leaf->slotuse - 1] if leaf-slotuse == 0. This doesn't have any other bad effect, because the case only occurs when leaf == root and then the resulting btree_update_lastkey message is never really processed. However it still is a bad-memory access.

The updated source code package including the wxBTreeDemo source is available for download from this webpage.

Some compiled binaries of wxBTreeDemo for Win32 and Linux are available on the demo download page.

As before, the updated main B+ tree implementation can be found in doxygen stx/btree.h or with plain text comments stx/btree.h.


Small drawing of a B+ tree

Bugfix Release of STX B+ Tree 0.8.1

Posted on 2008-01-25 15:48 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 1 Comments. Tags: c++ stx-btree

Released a bugfix version 0.8.1 of the STX B+ Tree C++ Template Classes package. The bug fixed is a possibly illegal memory access during find() function.

I received a new test case via email in which valgrind detected an uninitialized memory access. By tracing it, I soon found that it happens during any find(key) call with a key that is larger than any item contained in the tree. During the find() function find_lower() is called on a leaf node and returns the slot number with the smallest or equal key. However if the queried key is larger than all keys in a leaf node or in the whole tree, find_lower() returns a slot number past the last valid key slot. Comparison of this invalid slot with the queried key then yields an uninitialized memory error in valgrind.

The updated source code package including the wxBTreeDemo source is available for download from this webpage.

Some compiled binaries of wxBTreeDemo for Win32 and Linux are available on the demo download page.

As before, the updated main B+ tree implementation can be found in doxygen stx/btree.h or with plain text comments stx/btree.h.


Screenshot of the wxBTreeDemo v0.8

Updated STX B+ Tree to 0.8 which now includes wxBTreeDemo

Posted on 2007-05-13 19:48 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: c++ stx-btree

Released an updated version 0.8 of the STX B+ Tree C++ Template Classes package. The update fixes a few segmentation faults with empty trees without root node.

This new release includes the demonstration program wxBTreeDemo. This program draws illustrations of the B+ trees constructed by the STX B+ Tree template classes. It allows the user to selected different types of B+ tree instantiations: integer or string keys and different slot numbers. The user may insert and erase key/data pairs from the tree and run different search operations. The demo program uses the cross-platform wxWidgets toolkit and can be compiled on Linux, Windows and MacOSX.

The source code package including the wxBTreeDemo source is available for download from this webpage.

Some compiled binaries of wxBTreeDemo for Win32 and Linux are available on the demo download page.

As before, the only slightly changed main B+ tree implementation can be found in doxygen stx/btree.h or with plain text comments stx/btree.h.


Small drawing of a B+ tree

Published STX B+ Tree C++ Template Classes Version 0.7

Posted on 2007-04-27 15:02 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: stx-btree c++

Released the first version 0.7 of the STX B+ Tree C++ Template Classes package. The template classes are licensed under the LGPL.

The STX B+ Tree package is a set of C++ template classes implementing a B+ tree key/data container in main memory. The classes are designed as drop-in replacements of the STL containers set, map, multiset and multimap and follow their interfaces very closely. By packing multiple value pairs into each node of the tree the B+ tree reduces heap fragmentation and utilizes cache-line effects better than the standard red-black binary tree. The tree algorithms are based on the implementation in Cormen, Leiserson and Rivest's Introduction into Algorithms, Jan Jannink's paper and other algorithm resources. The classes contain extensive assertion and verification mechanisms to ensure the implementation's correctness by testing the tree invariants.

The main B+ tree implementation can be found in doxygen stx/btree.h or with plain text comments stx/btree.h.

The source code package is available for download from this webpage.

The classes are documented extensively using doxygen. The generated HTML documentation can be browsed online or downloaded.

Special interest was put into performing a speed comparison test between the standard red-black tree and the new B+ tree implementation. The speed test results are interesting and show the B+ tree to be significantly faster for trees containing more than 16,000 items.


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