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From "Adrian Nistor (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Created] (COLLECTIONS-408) performance problem in SetUniqueList.removeAll()
Date Sat, 02 Jun 2012 06:57:23 GMT
Adrian Nistor created COLLECTIONS-408:

             Summary: performance problem in SetUniqueList.removeAll()
                 Key: COLLECTIONS-408
             Project: Commons Collections
          Issue Type: Bug
         Environment: java 1.6.0_24
Ubuntu 11.10
            Reporter: Adrian Nistor
         Attachments:, patch.diff


I am encountering a performance problem in SetUniqueList.removeAll().
It appears in version 3.2.1 and also in revision 1344775 (31 May
2012).  I have attached a test that exposes this problem and a
one-line patch that fixes it.  The patch makes the code two times
faster for this test.

To run the test, just do:

$ java Test

The output for the un-patched version is:
Time is: 5027

The output for the patched version is:
Time is: 2554

The one-line patch I attached changes the 
SetUniqueList.removeAll(Collection<?> coll) code from:

boolean result = super.removeAll(coll);
return result;


boolean result = super.removeAll(coll);
if (result) set.removeAll(coll);
return result;

If "super.removeAll(coll)" did not change the collection, there is no
need to call "set.removeAll(coll)", because we already know there is
nothing to remove.

As one may expect "set.removeAll(coll)" (on a set) to be faster than
"super.removeAll(coll)" (on a list), one may have expected the speedup
gained by avoiding "set.removeAll(coll)" to be smaller than 2X
achieved for the attached test.  However, the speedup is 2X because
"java.util.HashSet.removeAll(Collection<?> collection)" has quadratic
(not linear) complexity if "this.size() <= collection.size()" and the
"collection" is a list.  Thus, "set.removeAll(coll)" is about as slow
as "super.removeAll(coll)" in this case, and not executing
"set.removeAll(coll)" reduces the work done by half.  The quadratic
behavior of "java.util.HashSet.removeAll(Collection<?> collection)"
comes from "java.util.AbstractSet.removeAll(Collection<?> c)" and is
discussed for example here:
(The link is for OpenJDK, but Oracle JDK has the same problem.)

In many other cases "set.removeAll(coll)" is actually faster than
"super.removeAll(coll)", so one can get even more speedup by
reordering those two checks:

boolean result = set.removeAll(coll);
if (result) super.removeAll(coll);
return result;

Is this a bug, or am I misunderstanding the intended behavior?  If so,
can you please confirm that the patch is correct?



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