UNB/ CS/ David Bremner/ teaching/ cs2613/ labs/ CS2613 Lab 19

Background

Overview

Roughly speaking a generator is a function that behaves like a list, but only for sequential access. In this lab we'll start by trying to impliment generators using closures, and then consider some performance tradeoffs involved with their use.

Counter

Time
20 minutes
Activity
Demo

make_counter is the first generator example from the book. Try to predict the order of output from the following code. Where is 'entering make_counter' and 'incrementing x' printed.

def make_counter(x):
    print('entering make_counter')
    while True:
        yield x
        print('incrementing x')
        x = x + 1

print('first')
counter = make_counter(100)
print('second')
print(next(counter))
print('third')
print(next(counter))
print('last')

We can see there is some kind of delayed execution going on here. Let's try tracing the code in the code-oss debugger.

We can see that next and yield jump back and forth between two sequences of execution.

To demystify this generator a bit, let's try to simulate it with a closure by completing the definition of make_counter2 so that counter=make_counter2(100); counter(); counter() mimics counter=make_counter(100); next(counter); next(counter).

Unlike a generator, our closure (the inner function counter always starts at the top. We can fake the two entry points of the generator by looking at the value of count (note use of nonlocal)

def make_counter2(x):
    count = x
    def counter():
        nonlocal count






    return counter

Our functions should pass the following test (note this ignores output from print):

def test_count():
    counter=counter.make_counter(100)
    counter2=counter.make_counter2(100)

    for j in range(0,100):
        assert next(counter) == counter2()

Fibonacci

Time
30 minutes
Activity
Small groups

Here fib is the second generator example from the book. Fill in the definition of fib2 to roughly mimic the function of fib. The difference is the handling of running out of values; the generator version uses an exception, while we just return None

def fib(max):
    a, b = 0, 1
    while a < max:
        yield a
        a, b = b, a + b

def fib2(max):
    a,b = 0,1
    def next():
        nonlocal a,b




        else:
            return None

    return next

Your code should pass the following (somewhat clunky) test

def test_fib():
    fun = fib.fib2(1000)
    lst2 = []
    while True:
        n = fun()
        if n!=None:
            lst2.append(n)
        else:
            break
    assert lst2 == list(fib.fib(1000))

Sieve

Time
20 minutes
Activity
Small groups

We already looked at transforming the sieve code to use list comprehensions in Lab 17. In this section we'll consider changing the code to use generators.

Start with the following version of sieve.py.

#!/usr/bin/python3

from math import sqrt,ceil

def drop_divisible(n,lst):
    return [ x for x in lst if x == n or x % n != 0 ]

def sieve_with(candidates, lst):
    for c in candidates:
        lst=drop_divisible(c,lst)
    return lst

def sieve(n):
    return sieve_with(range(2,ceil(sqrt(n))+1), range(2,n))

Copy sieve.py to sievegen.py, and rewrite drop_divisible to use a generator.

The following test makes sure we're getting the right answer; we'll understand the need for the list comprehension below.

import sieve
import sievegen

def test_sieve():
    assert [x for x in sievegen.sieve(1000)] == sieve.sieve(1000)

Performance Comparison

Time
15 minutes
Activity
Demo

One of the most common tradeoffs in computing is time versus memory. When we studied memoization in Lab 11, we used more memory in exchange for time. Here we're going to consider the opposite tradeoff, using more time for less memory.

Add the following code to the end of both modules.

if __name__ == '__main__':
    primes = sieve(500000)
    import sieve
    import sievegen
    import timeit

    print('sieve={:s}'.format(str(sieve.sieve(10))))
    print('sievegen={:s}'.format(str(sievegen.sieve(10))))

    print(timeit.timeit("sieve.sieve(10000)","import sieve",number=100))
    print(timeit.timeit("sievegen.sieve(10000)", "import sievegen",number=100))
    print(timeit.timeit("[x for x in sievegen.sieve(10000)]", "import sievegen",number=100))

Estimating the tradeoff

Time
15 minutes
Activity
Small Groups