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From Sean Owen <>
Subject Re: FullRunningAverage possibly inefficient and (very slightly) inaccurate?
Date Thu, 21 Oct 2010 09:26:42 GMT
This class is used mostly in slope-one. The priorities are memory usage,
then speed, then accuracy in that context.

Because of memory concerns, I don't want to store more than an int and
double. So yes you can store a total and count. So we're left trading speed
for accuracy. Your change is a bit more accurate but slower at reads (must
divide to get the average).

For slope one, which is read-heavy, and where accuracy is not a big deal,
this isn't a worthwhile tradeoff I think.

What's the use case you have in mind?

On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 10:03 AM, gabeweb <> wrote:

> I'm a bit concerned by the implementation of FullRunningAverage.  It's
> probably not a big deal, but because it performs division each time a new
> datum is added, there will be a floating point error that will increase
> over
> time, and if you average together millions of data points, this error may
> become significant.  I know that Java doubles have really huge precision,
> but still.
> In addition, the implementation seems rather inefficient in that it
> performs
> 6 math operations every time a datum is added.  Since adding to a running
> average is likely to happen much more often than accessing the average,
> wouldn't it be a lot more efficient to maintain the *total* and count
> internally, rather than the current average and the count, and then when
> someone requests the average, calculate the actual average on the fly by
> dividing the total by the count?  Then it would just be two addition
> operations to add a datum.  This would simultaneously eliminate the
> accumulation of floating point errors.
> If people agree, I'd be happy to fix this and submit a patch.  It's a
> simple
> thing, but it's sort of bothering me :)  Plus it will allow me to get
> familiar with the process.
> --
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