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array/cellfun vs. for loop

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David Goldsmith
David Goldsmith on 28 Jun 2012
Commented: Rik on 20 Aug 2018
Are arrayfun and cellfun always faster than functionally equivalent for loops? If so, why? (E.g., is it a difference in the library functions they call for implementation?) Finally, is it possible to give a general "order function" by which they're faster (e.g., O(N), O(NlogN), etc.)?

Accepted Answer

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 28 Jun 2012
For loops are usually faster than arrayfun or cellfun, as the for loop does not need to invoke the function handle each time. The for loop also has opportunities for optimizations between statements that the arrayfun or cellfun would not have.
arrayfun() or cellfun() can be faster to write the code for, as they are a higher level concept. Not always, though: some of the twists one has to go through to create the behaviour as an anonymous function can be messy.
Rik on 20 Aug 2018
Strange. Maybe it was offline temporarily, or my own connection had a hiccup. Anyway, here is a permalink for future reference.

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