How to measure the execution time in micro seconds?

Naitik Parekh

I have written the following code to measure the time of sorting any data. I am getting weird results, like negative time in some cases and am not getting any consistent result for same data set(I understand it won't be exactly same). Please let me know what is wrong or how can I measure time properly.

#include<stdio.h>
#include<sys/time.h>

void bubble(int a[],int n)
{
    int i,j,flag,temp;
    for(i=0;i<n-1;i++)
    {
        flag=0;
        for(j=0;j<n-i-1;j++)
        {
            if(a[j]>a[j+1])
            {
                flag=1;
                a[j]=a[j]+a[j+1];
                a[j+1]=a[j]-a[j+1];
                a[j]=a[j]-a[j+1];
            }
        }
        if(flag==0)
            break;
    }
}

int main()
{
    int n,a[100000],i;
    printf("Enter the size of array:");
    scanf("%d",&n);
    for(i=0;i<n;i++)
        a[i]=rand()%100000;     //average case
        //a[i]=i;               //best case
        //a[i]=n-1-i;           //worst case
    /*
    printf("The UNsorted array is:\n");
    for(i=0;i<n;i++)
        printf("%d ",a[i]);
    printf("\n\n");
    */

    int st,et;
    struct timezone tz;
    struct timeval tv;
    gettimeofday(&tv,NULL);
    st=tv.tv_usec;
    bubble(a,n);
    gettimeofday(&tv,NULL);
    et=tv.tv_usec;
    printf("Sorting time: %d micro seconds\n",et-st);
    /*
    printf("\nThe sorted array is:\n");
    for(i=0;i<n;i++)
        printf("%d ",a[i]);
    printf("\n");
    */
    return 0;
}
dbush

The struct timeval populated by gettimeofday is defined as follows:

struct timeval {
    time_t      tv_sec;     /* seconds */
    suseconds_t tv_usec;    /* microseconds */
};

The tv_sec and tv_usec fields together contains the seconds and microseconds since the epoch. The microseconds part contains only the fractional seconds, i.e. a value from 0 to 999999.

You need to subtract the seconds and microseconds.

struct timeval st, et;

gettimeofday(&st,NULL);
bubble(a,n);
gettimeofday(&et,NULL);

int elapsed = ((et.tv_sec - st.tv_sec) * 1000000) + (et.tv_usec - st.tv_usec)
printf("Sorting time: %d micro seconds\n",elapsed);

If the total run time is very short, you can perform multiple runs and average them out:

struct timeval st, et;
int i, num_runs = 5;

gettimeofday(&st,NULL);
for (i=0; i<num_runs; i++) {
    bubble(a,n);
}
gettimeofday(&et,NULL);

int elapsed = (((et.tv_sec - st.tv_sec) * 1000000) + (et.tv_usec - st.tv_usec)) / num_runs;

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