Re: C++ programming challenge

fifoforlifo <>
Fri, 12 Jun 2009 00:22:56 -0700 (PDT)
I thought this competition sounded fun, so I gave it a shot. The
following is a 2-threaded program that overlaps reads and
computation. I had to use boost::thread for this, but this should all
be doable in C++0x -- but I'll let you be the final judge of whether
it's an acceptable entry. As many pointed out, the problem is I/O
bound, so that's what I tackled first.
The computation part is nearly identical to Chris' code, I could not
beat the simple accumulate-into-256-wide-table. So cheers for finding
the best solution there :-)
FYI timings on my machine were:
    Read the entire 280MB file, do no processing : 0.25 seconds
    Chris' program : 0.6 seconds
    This program : 0.4 seconds

/// This program counts plain ol' alphabet characters' frequency in a
text file.
/// Text file's encoding is assumed to be a superset of ASCII
/// (for example SHIFT-JIS or UTF-8 would work).

    CStopWatch s;
 You may then get the elapsed time in seconds
 via the method getElapsedTime.
#ifdef WIN32
#include <windows.h>
class CStopWatch
      typedef struct {
         LARGE_INTEGER start;
         LARGE_INTEGER stop;
      } stopWatch;
      stopWatch timer;
      LARGE_INTEGER frequency;
      double LIToSecs( LARGE_INTEGER & L)
         return ((double)L.QuadPart/(double)frequency.QuadPart);
         QueryPerformanceFrequency( &frequency );
      void startTimer() { QueryPerformanceCounter(&timer.start); }
      void stopTimer() { QueryPerformanceCounter(&timer.stop); }
      double getElapsedTime()
         LARGE_INTEGER time;
         return LIToSecs( time );
#include <sys/time.h>
class CStopWatch
      typedef struct {
         timeval start;
         timeval stop;
      } stopWatch;
      stopWatch timer;
      void startTimer( ) { gettimeofday(&(timer.start),0); }
      void stopTimer( ) { gettimeofday(&(timer.stop),0); }
      double getElapsedTime()
         timeval res;
         return res.tv_sec + res.tv_usec/1000000.0;

#include <stdio.h>
#include <boost/cstdint.hpp>
#include <boost/thread.hpp>
#include <boost/thread/mutex.hpp>
#include <boost/thread/condition.hpp>

#define BLOCK_SIZE 0x10000u
/// BLOCK_COUNT must be >= 3 for the FIFO to work properly
#define BLOCK_COUNT 0x10u

static unsigned char inbuf[INBUF_SIZE];
static volatile int inbufAmt[BLOCK_COUNT];
static volatile size_t readCursor = 0;
static volatile size_t writeCursor = 0;
static size_t totalRead = 0;
static CStopWatch stopWatch;
/// fileReadDone is protected by ioMutex -- otherwise you get a race
condition at EOF
static volatile int fileReadDone = 0;

static boost::mutex ioMutex;
static boost::condition readAvailable;
static boost::condition writeAvailable;

static int totals[256] = {0};

struct Reader {
    const char* const pFileName;

    Reader(const char* pFileName_) : pFileName(pFileName_) {}

    void operator()() {
        FILE* pFile = fopen(pFileName, "rb");
        if (!pFile)

        while (!feof(pFile) && !ferror(pFile)) {
            inbufAmt[writeCursor] = fread((void*)&inbuf[BLOCK_SIZE *
                1, BLOCK_SIZE, pFile);
            totalRead += inbufAmt[writeCursor];

            const size_t nextWriteCursor = (writeCursor + 1) %
            while (nextWriteCursor == readCursor) {
                boost::mutex::scoped_lock lk(ioMutex);
            writeCursor = nextWriteCursor;

            boost::mutex::scoped_lock lk(ioMutex);
            fileReadDone = 1;


static void AccumulateTotals(const unsigned char* pBuffer, size_t
size) {
    const unsigned char* pc = pBuffer;
    const unsigned char* const pcEnd = pc + size;
    for (; pc != pcEnd; ++pc) {
        const unsigned char c = *pc;

int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    if (argc < 2) {
        printf("\nusage:\n\t%s <text_file_name>\n", argv[0]);
        return -1;

    // launch a reader thread
    Reader reader(argv[1]);
    boost::thread readerThread(reader);

    // accumulate totals from buffers as they are
    while (!fileReadDone) {
        while (writeCursor == readCursor) {
            boost::mutex::scoped_lock lk(ioMutex);
            if (fileReadDone)
        if (fileReadDone)

        AccumulateTotals(&inbuf[BLOCK_SIZE * readCursor], inbufAmt
        readCursor = (readCursor + 1) % BLOCK_COUNT;

    long totalAlphaChars = 0;
    for (size_t u = 0; u < 26; ++u) {
        totalAlphaChars += totals['A' + u] + totals['a' + u];

    for (size_t u = 0; u < 26; ++u) {
        double result = (totals['A' + u] + totals['a' + u]) * 100.0 /
        printf("%c %%%.3f\n", 'a' + u, result);


    const double elapsed = stopWatch.getElapsedTime();
    printf("\nelapsed time: %f [seconds]\n", elapsed);

    return 0;

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