[R] strange fluctuations in system.time with kernapply

Alexander Senger senger at physik.hu-berlin.de
Fri Apr 29 23:38:03 CEST 2011

Hello expeRts,

here is something which strikes me as kind of odd and I would like to ask for some enlightenment:

First let's do this:

tkern <- kernel("modified.daniell", c(5,5))
test <- rep(1,1000000)
        User      System verstrichen
       1.100       0.040       1.136

That was easy. Now this:

test <- rep(1,1100000)
        User      System verstrichen
        1.40        0.02        1.43

Still fine. Now this:

test <- rep(1,1110000)
        User      System verstrichen
       1.390       0.020       1.409

Ok, by now it seems boring. But wait:

test <- rep(1,1110300)
        User      System verstrichen
      12.270       0.030      12.319

There is a sudden - and repeatable! - jump in the time needed to execute kernapply. At least from a 
naive point of view there should not be much difference between applying a kernel to a vector 
1110000 or 1110300 entries long. But maybe there is some limit here?

So I tried this:

test <- rep(1,1110400)
        User      System verstrichen
        1.96        0.01        1.97

which doesn't fit into the pattern. But the best thing is still to come. When I try this

test <- rep(1,1110308)

then the computer starts to run and does so for longer than 15 minutes until when I normally kill 
the process. As noted above this behaviour is repeatable and occurs every time I issue these commands.

I really would like to know if there is some magic to the number 1110308 I'm not aware of.

Last but not least, here is my

R version 2.10.1 (2009-12-14)

  [1] LC_CTYPE=de_DE.utf8       LC_NUMERIC=C
  [3] LC_TIME=de_DE.utf8        LC_COLLATE=de_DE.utf8
  [5] LC_MONETARY=C             LC_MESSAGES=de_DE.utf8
  [7] LC_PAPER=de_DE.utf8       LC_NAME=C
  [9] LC_ADDRESS=C              LC_TELEPHONE=C

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] tools_2.10.1

Thank you,


Dipl.-Phys. Alexander Senger        Tel   : +49 30 2093 4941
Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin     Fax   : +49 30 2093 4718
AG Quantenoptik und Metrologie
Hausvogteiplatz 5-7                 Email :
10117 Berlin, Germany               senger at physik.hu-berlin.de

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