hb. hb. - 1 month ago 19
C# Question

Math optimization in C#

I've been profiling an application all day long and, having optimized a couple bits of code, I'm left with this on my todo list. It's the activation function for a neural network, which gets called over a 100 million times. According to dotTrace, it amounts to about 60% of the overall function time.

How would you optimize this?

public static float Sigmoid(double value) {
return (float) (1.0 / (1.0 + Math.Pow(Math.E, -value)));
}

Answer

Try:

public static float Sigmoid(double value) {
    return 1.0f / (1.0f + (float) Math.Exp(-value));
}

EDIT: I did a quick benchmark. On my machine, the above code is about 43% faster than your method, and this mathematically-equivalent code is the teeniest bit faster (46% faster than the original):

public static float Sigmoid(double value) {
    float k = Math.Exp(value);
    return k / (1.0f + k);
}

EDIT 2: I'm not sure how much overhead C# functions have, but if you #include <math.h> in your source code, you should be able to use this, which uses a float-exp function. It might be a little faster.

public static float Sigmoid(double value) {
    float k = expf((float) value);
    return k / (1.0f + k);
}

Also if you're doing millions of calls, the function-calling overhead might be a problem. Try making an inline function and see if that's any help.

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