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Speed up Python Code

tahmid02016 profile image Tahmid Hossain ・3 min read

Python is one of the most popular programming languages all over the world. For its, simple syntax and rich library, it is being used in competitive programming also. Most of us probably started coding with python. At first, everything goes simple and easy. But while solving a hard algorithmic problems, most of us suffer from Time Limit Exceeded. However, it is not a problem of python; most of the cases, the problem is with the programmer. I am not saying that python is not slow, but if a programmer writes efficient programme, it will get Accepted for sure. Here are some tips to speed up your python programme.

Use proper data structures

Use of proper data structure has a significant effect on runtime. Python has list, tuple, set and dictionary as the built-in data structures. However, most of the people use the list in all cases. But it is not a right choice. Use proper data structures depending on your task. Especially use a tuple instead of a list. Because iterating over tuple is easier than iterating over a list.

Decrease the use of for loop

As for loop is dynamic in python, it takes more time than while loop. So, use while loop instead of for loop.

Use list comprehension

Do not use any other technique if you can use list comprehension. For example, here is a code to list all the numbers between 1 and 1000 that is the multiplier of 3:

L = []
for i in range (1, 1000):
    if i%3 == 0:
        L.append (i)
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Using list comprehension, it would be:

L = [i for i in range (1, 1000) if i%3 == 0]
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List comprehension works faster than using the append method.

Use multiple assignments

Do not assaign variables like this:

a = 2
b = 3
c = 5
d = 7
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Instead, assign variables like this:

a, b, c, d = 2, 3, 5, 7
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Do not use global variables

Python has global keyword to declare global variables. But global variables take higher time during operation than a local variable. So, do not use global variables if it is not necessary.

Use library functions

Do not write your function (manually) if it is already in the library. Library functions are highly efficient, and you will probably won't be able to code with that efficiency.

Concatenate strings with join In python, you can concatenate strings with + operation.

concatenatedString = "Programming " + "is " + "fun."
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It can also be done with join() method.

concatenatedString = " ".join (["Programming", "is", "fun."])
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join() concatenates strings faster than + operation because + operators create a new string and then copies the old content at each step. But join() doesn't work that way.

Use generators

If you have a large amount of data in your list and you need to use one data at a time and for once then use generators. It will save you time.

Avoid dot operation as much as possible

Try to avoid dot operation. See the below programme.

import math
val = math.sqrt(60)
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Instead of the above style write code like this:

from math import sqrt
val = sqrt(60)
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Because when you call a function using . (dot) it first calls __getattribute()__ or __getattr()__ which then use dictionary operation which costs time. So, try using from module import function.

Use 1 for infinity loops

Use while 1 instead of while True. It will reduce some runtime.

Think outside the box

Try new ways to write your code efficiently. See the below code.

if a_condition:
    if another_condition:
        do_something
else:
    raise exception
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Instead of the above code you can write:

if (not a_condition) or (not another_condition):
    raise exception
do_something
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Use speed up applications

For python's slow speed, some projects have been taken to decrease runtime. Pypy and Numba two of them. In most of the programming contests, you will see pypy if it allows python. These applications will reduce the runtime of your programme.

Use special libraries to process large datasets

C/C++ is faster than python. So, many packages and modules have been written in C/C++ that you can use in your python programme. Numpy, Scipy and Pandas are three of them and are popular for processing large datasets.

Use the latest release of python

Python is updated and upgraded regularly, and every release is faster and more optimized. So always use the latest version of python.

These were some of the tips to decrease the runtime of python code. There are a few more techniques that you can use. Use a search engine to find those and write efficient code!

Discussion

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abdurrahmaanj profile image
Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

Pandas seems to be a pain for large datasets

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vivekcodes profile image
vivek patel

Convert pd df into numpy array and perfrom operations on numpy array!

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

I'd never heard of these before.

This post goes well beyond the usual "use Cython" crap.

Well done m'good sir.

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vivekcodes profile image
vivek patel

dev.to/vivekcodes/speed-up-your-py...
Hope this will help without using cython