Roger Roger - 2 months ago 37
C Question

Execution time of C program

I have a C program that aims to be run in parallel on several processors. I need to be able to record the execution time (which could be anywhere from 1 second to several minutes). I have searched for answers, but they all seem to suggest using the

function, which then involves calculating the number of clocks the program took divided by the

I'm not sure how the
value is calculated?

In Java, I just take the current time in milliseconds before and after execution.

Is there a similar thing in C? I've had a look, but I can't seem to find a way of getting anything better than a second resolution.

I'm also aware a profiler would be an option, but am looking to implement a timer myself.



CLOCKS_PER_SEC is a constant which is declared in <time.h>. To get the CPU time used by a task within a C application, use:

clock_t begin = clock();

/* here, do your time-consuming job */

clock_t end = clock();
double time_spent = (double)(end - begin) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC;

Note that this returns the time as a floating point type. This can be more precise than a second (e.g. you measure 4.52 seconds). Precision depends on the architecture; on modern systems you easily get 10ms or lower, but on older Windows machines (from the Win98 era) it was closer to 60ms.

clock() is standard C; it works "everywhere". There are system-specific functions, such as getrusage() on Unix-like systems.

Java's System.currentTimeMillis() does not measure the same thing. It is a "wall clock": it can help you measure how much time it took for the program to execute, but it does not tell you how much CPU time was used. On a multitasking systems (i.e. all of them), these can be widely different.