John Devitt John Devitt - 3 months ago 9
C Question

How to benchmark a C program from a python script?

I'm currently doing some work in uni that requires generating multiple benchmarks for multiple short C programs. I've written a python script to automate this process. Up until now I've been using the

module and essentially calculating the benchmark as such:

start = time.time()
successful = run_program(path)
end = time.time()

runtime = end - start

where the
function just uses the
module to run the C program:

def run_program(path):
p = subprocess.Popen(path, shell=True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE)

if (p.returncode > 1):
return False
return True

However I've recently discovered that this measures elapsed time and not CPU time, i.e. this sort of measurement is sensitive to noise from the OS. Similar questions on SO suggest that the
module is is better for measuring CPU time, so I've adapted the run method as such:

def run_program(path):
command = 'p = subprocess.Popen(\'time ' + path + '\', shell=True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.PIPE); out, err = p.communicate()'

result = timeit.Timer(command, setup='import subprocess').repeat(1, 10)
return numpy.median(result)

But from looking at the
documentation it seems that the
module is only meant for small snippets of python code passed in as a string. So I'm not sure if
is giving me accurate results for this computation. So my question is: Will
measure the CPU for every step of the process that it runs or will it only measure the CPU time for the actual python(i.e. the
module) code to run? Is this an accurate way to benchmark a set of C programs?


timeit will measure the CPU time used by the Python process in which it runs. Execution time of external processes will not be "credited" to those times.