Re: [HACKERS] qsort again (was Re: Strange Create Index behaviour)

From: Bruce Momjian
Subject: Re: [HACKERS] qsort again (was Re: Strange Create Index behaviour)
Date: ,
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In response to: Re: [HACKERS] qsort again (was Re: Strange Create Index behaviour)  ("Dann Corbit")
List: pgsql-performance

Added to TODO:

    * Improve port/qsort() to handle sorts with 50% unique and 50% duplicate
      value [qsort]

      This involves choosing better pivot points for the quicksort.


Dann Corbit wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:  [mailto:pgsql-hackers-
> > ] On Behalf Of Tom Lane
> > Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 5:22 PM
> > To: Ron
> > Cc: ; 
> > Subject: Re: [HACKERS] qsort again (was Re: [PERFORM] Strange Create
> Index
> > behaviour)
> >
> > Ron <> writes:
> > > How are we choosing our pivots?
> >
> > See qsort.c: it looks like median of nine equally spaced inputs (ie,
> > the 1/8th points of the initial input array, plus the end points),
> > implemented as two rounds of median-of-three choices.  With half of
> the
> > data inputs zero, it's not too improbable for two out of the three
> > samples to be zeroes in which case I think the med3 result will be
> zero
> > --- so choosing a pivot of zero is much more probable than one would
> > like, and doing so in many levels of recursion causes the problem.
> Adding some randomness to the selection of the pivot is a known
> technique to fix the oddball partitions problem.  However, Bentley and
> Sedgewick proved that every quick sort algorithm has some input set that
> makes it go quadratic (hence the recent popularity of introspective
> sort, which switches to heapsort if quadratic behavior is detected.  The
> C++ template I submitted was an example of introspective sort, but
> PostgreSQL does not use C++ so it was not helpful).
> > I think.  I'm not too sure if the code isn't just being sloppy about
> the
> > case where many data values are equal to the pivot --- there's a
> special
> > case there to switch to insertion sort, and maybe that's getting
> invoked
> > too soon.
> Here are some cases known to make qsort go quadratic:
> 1. Data already sorted
> 2. Data reverse sorted
> 3. Data organ-pipe sorted or ramp
> 4. Almost all data of the same value
> There are probably other cases.  Randomizing the pivot helps some, as
> does check for in-order or reverse order partitions.
> Imagine if 1/3 of the partitions fall into a category that causes
> quadratic behavior (have one of the above formats and have more than
> CUTOFF elements in them).
> It is doubtful that the switch to insertion sort is causing any sort of
> problems.  It is only going to be invoked on tiny sets, for which it has
> a fixed cost that is probably less that qsort() function calls on sets
> of the same size.
> >It'd be useful to get a line-level profile of the behavior of
> > this code in the slow cases...
> I guess that my in-order or presorted tests [which often arise when
> there are very few distinct values] may solve the bad partition
> problems.  Don't forget that the algorithm is called recursively.
> >             regards, tom lane
> >
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  Bruce Momjian
  SRA OSS, Inc.

  + If your life is a hard drive, Christ can be your backup. +

pgsql-performance by date:

From: "Jozsef Szalay"
Subject: Like 'name%' is not using index
From: Mark Kirkwood
Subject: Re: Like 'name%' is not using index