How does copy-on-modify operate on structs and classes?

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Ian
Ian 2019 年 4 月 29 日
コメント済み: Ian 2019 年 4 月 30 日
I understand that Matlab uses "copy-on-modify" so matrices, structs and class objects are only copied inside a function when the item passed in is modified.
Question: When matlab modifies a member of a struct or class in a function, is the entire struct or class object copied, or only the member which was modified?
Why is this important? Because if a struct or class has some very large matrices embedded, then a function which modifies a small part of the entire object would either copy/modify only the small part it works with (good!), or it might duplicate the entire object, even if it only works with a small piece (bad!).
A somewhat trivial example:
s.owner="charlie";
s.data=rand(10000,10000);
s=change_owner(s,"charlene");
. . .
function t = change_owner(t,new_owner);
t.owner = new_owner;
end
If change_owner(...) sees the entire object as modified, then it has to duplicate the nearly 1 GB data matrix, in order to change the owner field, which makes this function very inefficient. But if matlab recognizes that only the "owner" member is modified, then it can avoid duplicating the data matrix, and thus operate efficiently on the struct.
The same question obviously would apply to a class object as to a struct...

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James Tursa
James Tursa 2019 年 4 月 29 日
編集済み: James Tursa 2019 年 4 月 29 日
Question: When matlab modifies a member of a struct or class in a function, is the entire struct or class object copied, or only the member which was modified?
Only the member being modified is deep copied. The other members are typically reference copied only. E.g., in the following you can see that the data pointer value pr did not change ... i.e. the memory of the data field was not deep copied.
>> s.owner = 'charlie';
>> s.data = rand(1,5);
>> format debug
>> s.data
ans =
Structure address = 54747f90
m = 1
n = 5
pr = 11c661dc0
pi = 0
0.8147 0.9058 0.1270 0.9134 0.6324
>> s = change_owner(s,'charlene')
s =
owner: 'charlene'
data: [0.8147 0.9058 0.1270 0.9134 0.6324]
>> s.data
ans =
Structure address = 54747f90
m = 1
n = 5
pr = 11c661dc0
pi = 0
0.8147 0.9058 0.1270 0.9134 0.6324
  4 件のコメント
Bruno Luong
Bruno Luong 2019 年 4 月 30 日
MATLAB stores interleave complex numbers starting from R2018b. So there is no longer Pi pointer.
Ian
Ian 2019 年 4 月 30 日
Ah. Thnx.
I learn something new every day...

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