I thought it would be interesting to optimize my solution trying to beat the record and have it run the fastest. Unfortunately the machine tester exhibits time resolution about 15 ms so it's not possible to optimize the solution to run in less time. Unless I would be able to reduce it to 0. For example among problem 293B submissions it's apparent that all the fastest solutions have the same running time: 15 ms. Other solutions show times close to k*15 ms.
If it would be possible to increase the time resolution, it might be interesting. As LukasP described in his guide, trying to reach the shortest execution time is a good exercise.
UPD: As different approaches are discussed here, it may be worthwhile to see what problems others experience with execution time measuring, like here in Bug Race (requires TopCoder login).
Windows timer's resolution is 15.6 msec — it's default time quantum. You can read more about this here . So I think it's impossible to improve precision. Yes, you can use multimedia timers, but you'll be unable to measure real CPU time then, which is absolutely unacceptable for olympiads, as I think.
So we're limited to Windows and this implies 15 ms? How about TopCoder then? It allows C#, but measures time with 1 ms accuracy. At least for C++ submissions, as I ran system tests on C++ code.
No idea. May be they measure real time (not CPU). It can be done in many ways — for example, with
There is a QueryThreadCycleTime function in latest Windows systems (Win Server 2008, Win 7, Win 8). That could measure running times with much higher precision.
Let me quote MSDN: "Do not attempt to convert the CPU clock cycles returned by QueryThreadCycleTime to elapsed time". Looks like it's the same as
rdtsc, but allows to measure CPU ticks of individual process.
The reason listed for that remark seems to be throttling, that should not occur in programming competition environment.
You can use rdtsc.
Sample: http://pastebin.com/nRwtxuAy. Requirements: Windows, VC++ 2010+, run with administrator rights. On my cpu it outputs numbers from 300k to 15kk CPU tacts (0.1 to 6.2 ms, Boost uses GetSystemTimeAsFileTime API, it able to store 100ns precision, but really can only 1ms)
It measures total CPU tacts amount (including kernel and other applications) isn't it?
Theoretically realtime priorities of process and thread should force Windows almost not to switch context at all. Unfortunately, there is no way to achieve rdtsc precision separately for user and kernel time in Windows because of KTHREAD structure updates by KeMaximumIncrement at context switch (usually 10ms).
Looks like metioned above
QueryThreadCycleTimecan solve the first problem (context switching).
But unfortunately not mode switching.