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Armadillo tips

Tips are collected from Stackoverflow.

1. CSV file loading

  1. The armadillo documentation specifies

Using batch insertion constructors is generally much faster than consecutively inserting values using element access operators

So here is the best I could come up with

sp_mat get(const char *filename) {         
    vector<long long unsigned int> location_u;
    vector<long long unsigned int> location_m;
    vector<double> values;                    

    ifstream file(filename);                  
    int a, b, c;                              
    while(file >> a >> b >> c) {                                   

    umat lu(location_u);                      
    umat lm(location_m);                      
    umat location(join_rows(lu, lm).t());     

    return V(location, vec(values));                                         

It now runs at a reasonable speed, at about 1 million lines a second.

  1. For example, if you're trying to do this, it will take soo much time to load the file:
arma::mat A;
A.load("file.csv", arma::csv_ascii);

So this is an alternative, which is thousand more faster than above code:

arma::mat readCSV(const std::string &filename, const std::string &delimeter = ",")
    std::ifstream csv(filename);
    std::vector<std::vector<double>> datas;

    forstring line; std::getline(csv, line); {

        std::vector<double> data;

        // split string by delimeter
        auto start = 0U;
        auto end = line.find(delimeter);
        while (end != std::string::npos) {
            data.push_backstod(line.substr(start, end - start));
            start = end + delimeter.length();
            end = line.find(delimeter, start);
        data.push_backstod(line.substr(start, end));

    arma::mat data_mat = arma::zeros<arma::mat>(datas.size(), datas[0].size());

    for (int i=0; i<datas.size(); i++) {
        arma::mat r(datas[i]);
        data_mat.row(i) = r.t();

    return data_mat;

2. The same random number in openmp loop

As a workaround, to generate a set of 100 random values I suggest to avoid calling randn() to obtain each value, and instead use randn (100) to obtain 100 values is one hit:

vec X = randn(100);

If the requested number of random values exceeds a threshold (>= 1024) and openmp is enabled, Armadillo should internally use multi-threading to speed up the generation of the random values. In this case each thread should use a separate seed. The internal code for obtaining a set of randn values is here: (don't call this function directly, as it's subject to change -- it's not part of the public API)

If you still need to use randn() to obtain each random value individually within a parallel for loop, you could try manually setting the seed for each thread beforehand. Use the arma_rng::set_seed(value) function.

The internal code for obtaining an individual randn value (not a set of randn values) is here: In this code, mt19937_64_instance comes from (the armadillo runtime library), defined here: mt19937_64_instance is defined as a thread_local object. Due to this definition, each instance of mt19937_64_instance has the same seed for each thread by default. The seed can't be random, as that would defeat reproducibility (ie. each time a user program is executed, it should generate the same results).

Performance Test


#include <iostream>
#include <chrono>
#include <armadillo>
#include <ctime>
#include <vector>

std::vector<double> RunTest(int size = 100, int loops = 10)
    arma::mat A = arma::mat(size, size, arma::fill::randn);
    std::vector<double> duration_list(loops);
    for (int i = 0; i <= loops; ++i)
        arma::wall_clock timer;
        arma::mat B = A * A;
        double n = timer.toc();
    return duration_list;