I was trying to create my own factorial function when I found that the that the calculation is twice as fast if it is calculated in pairs. Like this:
Groups of 1: 2*3*4 ... 50000*50001 = 4.1 seconds
Groups of 2: (2*3)*(4*5)*(6*7) ... (50000*50001) = 2.0 seconds
Groups of 3: (2*3*4)*(5*6*7) ... (49999*50000*50001) = 4.8 seconds
Here is the c# I used to test this.
Stopwatch timer = new Stopwatch();
// Seperate the calculation into groups of this size.
int k = 2;
BigInteger total = 1;
// Iterates from 2 to 50002, but instead of incrementing 'i' by one, it increments it 'k' times,
// and the inner loop calculates the product of 'i' to 'i+k', and multiplies 'total' by that result.
for (var i = 2; i < 50000 + 2; i += k)
BigInteger partialTotal = 1;
for (var j = 0; j < k; j++)
// Stops if it exceeds 50000.
if (i + j >= 50000) break;
partialTotal *= i + j;
total *= partialTotal;
Console.WriteLine(timer.ElapsedMilliseconds / 1000.0 + "s");
The time required to do a
BigInteger multiplication depends on the size of the product.
Both methods take the same number of multiplications, but if you multiply the factors in pairs, then the average size of the product is much smaller than it is if you multiply each factor with the product of all the smaller ones.
You can do even better if you always multiply the two smallest factors (original factors or intermediate products) that have yet to be multiplied together, until you get to the complete product.