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Rea

Rea is a lightweight library of data structures implemented in C++11, designed for constant time insertion, erasure, lookup, and fastest possible iteration. Great for using in games or any other software which needs to manage thousands upon thousands of objects.

There are 6 data structures included in this library : slot_list, controlled_slot_list, versioned_slot_list, regulated_slot_list, slot_map and versioned_slot_map. The two key data structures are slot_list and slot_map; the other four are only simple variations of those two.

SlotList

Use SlotList when you have to insert, erase, or look up data in constant time, without the need for constantly repeated iteration. If you require all of those things plus fast iteration, use SlotMap.

Implementation

SlotList internally stores its objects in some RandomAccessContainer (by default std::deque). Once you erase an object from it, the slot where that object used to reside becomes available for reuse. A free list of all empty slots is kept. The next object you insert will be put in the last emptied slot. The internal container will never grow unless all slots are filled. The "Discussion" section shows how to change the internal container from std::deque to some other container.

Whenever you insert a value into the SlotList you get its id, which you can later use to access that object. ID is an index with or without a version count in case of the version variatons of SlotLists and DenseMaps. More on that later on. That index is what allows us to access the objects in constant time.

While you can use the ids to iterate over all stored objects, it's not advisable to do it repeatedly; you might be jumping all over memory and hence destroying cache locality. As stated above, for iteration use SlotMap.

Usage

All SlotLists have the same first, and the last two template arguments.

some_slot_list<T,                      // value_type 
               .
               .
               .
               S = std::size_t,        // size_type 
               A = std::allocator<T>>; // allocator_type 

Each slot will store two objects of "size_type" type as well as the single object of "value_type". In a sense each slot acts as a node of a doubly linked list. Knowing that and knowing the maximum number of objects which will be stored, you might want to restrict how much space slots take up by choosing a smaller "size_type". The behavior is undefined if the size of the SlotList grows beyond the maximum value of "size_type".

Template arguments for all SlotList variations are explained below.

variation 1 : slot_list

rea::slot_list acts as a basic SlotList. It has no additional template arguments, only the ones described above.

rea::slot_list<T,                      // value_type
               S = std::size_t,        // size_type
               A = std::allocator<T>>  // allocator_type
#include <rea.h>
#include <vector>
#include <iostream>
#include <random>

static std::default_random_engine generator;

inline
int rand_uint(std::size_t min, std::size_t max) {
  std::uniform_int_distribution<std::size_t> distribution(min, max);
  return distribution(generator);
}

template<typename T>
inline 
T get_and_remove_rand_value(std::vector<T> &values) {
    auto index = rand_uint(0u, values.size() - 1);
    auto value = values[index];
    values[index] = values.back();
    values.pop_back();
    return value;
}

int main() {
   using sl_type = rea::slot_list<std::pair<int, int>>;
   sl_type sl;
   std::vector<sl_type::id_type> ids;
   ids.reserve(1000);
   sl.reserve(1000);
   
   // insertion
   for(size_t i = 0; i < 1000; ++i) {
      ids.push_back(sl.insert({i, i*2}));
   }
   
   // erasure
   for(size_t i = 0; i < 100; ++i) {
      auto id = get_and_remove_rand_value(ids);
      sl.erase(id);
   }
   
   // lookup
   for(auto id : ids) 
      std::cout << sl.id_value(id).first << std::endl;
   
   
   // iteration
   for(auto id = sl.id_begin(); !sl.id_is_end(id); id = sl.id_next(id)) 
      std::cout << sl.id_value(id).first << std::endl;
}

variation 2 : controlled_slot_list

Objects which you erase are not destroyed, only "marked" as empty, so they can be reassigned to in the future. If you are storing objects which themselves are holding some resources (e.g. a pointer to some allocated memory) this could be problematic, beacuse you won't be able to release that memory until the entire SlotList is destroyed or another value is assigned to that object.

To solve that issue, rea::controlled_slot_list is introduced. Its second template argument is a functor, which returns a value to be assigned to all empty slots (it's defaulted to a rea::get_empty functor which returns a default constructed object).

rea::controlled_slot_list<T,                      // value_type
                          E = rea::get_empty<T>,  // get_empty_type
                          S = std::size_t,        // size_type
                          A = std::allocator<T>>  // allocator_type
struct set_empty_double() {
   set_empty_double(double value) : value(value) {}
   double operator()() const {
      return value;
   }
   double value;
}

rea::controlled_slot_list<double, set_empty_double, std::unit16_t> c_sl(set_empty_double{3.14159});

variation 3 : versioned_slot_list

If, for instance, you are erasing and accessing objects of the same SlotList from 2 different parts of your program, ids might no longer point to correct objects, but to either erased or objects filled with different values than what the id originally pointed to.

To solve that issue, rea::versioned_slot_list is introduced. It takes as a second template argument an IntegralType, which will represent the current version of the slot (default is std::size_t). Each time an object is erased, the slot which contains that object increases its version count by 1.

rea::versioned_slot_list<T,                      // value_type
                         V = std::size_t,        // version_type
                         S = std::size_t,        // size_type
                         A = std::allocator<T>>  // allocator_type

Here slots also store a "version_type". Choosing different "version_type" may effect size of the slot, and hence the amount of memory needed.

#include <rea.h>
#include <vector>

int main() {
   using sl_type = rea::versioned_slot_list<int>;
   sl_type sl;
   std::vector<sl_type::id_type> ids;
   ids.reserve(1000);
   sl.reserve(1000);
   
    for(int i = 0; i < 1000; ++i) {
      ids.push_back(sl.insert(i));
   }
   
   auto some_random_valid_id = ids[36];
   
   bool is_valid = sl.id_is_valid(some_random_valid_id);
   // is_valid == true;
   sl.erase(some_random_valid_id);
   bool is_valid_now = sl.id_is_valid(some_random_valid_id);
   // is_valid_now == false;
   
}

rea::slot_list and rea::controlled_slot_list also have id_is_valid(id_type id) method defined. It's a constexpr function which always returns true.

variation 4 : regulated_slot_list

If you need both the ability to set an empty value and to keep a version count, use rea::regulated_slot_list. Its second template argument is functor which returns an empty value, and its third is an IntegralType to be used for versioning. They are defaulted same as rea::controlled_slot_list and rea::versiond_slot_list.

rea::versioned_slot_list<T,                      // value_type
                         E, = rea::get_empty<T>  // get_empty_type
                         V = std::size_t,        // version_type
                         S = std::size_t,        // size_type
                         A = std::allocator<T>>  // allocator_type

Here, slots store same things as in the rea::version_slot_list.

struct get_empty_string {
   std::string operator()() const {
      return std::string{};
   }
}

rea::regulated_slot_list<std::string, get_empty_string> sl_strings;

SlotMap

If like in the SlotList you need constant time insertion, removal, and lookup, as well as cache friendly iteration through a contiguous array, use SlotMap.

Implementation details are given below, although there is a video which explains exactly what this data structure is. Precisely, the video is describing what's called in this library rea::versioned_slot_map. If you've seen it, "Implementation" section won't give you any more details and could be skipped.

Implementation

SlotMap is internally implemented as 2 std::vectors and a slot_list like data structure.

  • vector 1 = ValueContainer;
  • vector 2 = IDPosContainer;
  • slot_list = IDSlotContainer;

ValueContainer stores objects of type "value_type" of the SlotMap, and just like any other vector they are stored contiguously. The IDSlotContainer stores indices which point to an object inside the ValueContainer. Once an object is erased, last object inside the ValueContainer is moved into its place, hence all objects remain densely packed at the cost of not preserving order. Slot of the IDSlotContainer which points to the erased object becomes available for reuse.

Now we have a problem though. The slot which pointed to the last object inside ValueContainer now points to past the end object. In order to find that slot and update it to point to a new location, we introduce the IDPosContainer.

IDPosContainer stores indices of IDSlotContainer slots, which correspond to objects stored ValueContainer. E.g., third object of IDPosContainer is an index of an IDSlotContainer slot, and that slot points to the third object of ValueContainer. Once past the end object is moved to the erased location, its index inside IDSlotContainer is also moved to the corresponding location of IDSlotContainer. In that way all lookup operations are done in constant time.

Usage

As stated earlier the main difference between the SlotList and the SlotMap is in iteration. It's not possible to iterate through the objects stored in SlotMap using their ids. IDs can only be used for lookup. For iteration regular RandomAccess iterators are used (by default std::vector::iterator. As with SlotList you can change the internal containers. "Discussion" section shows how to do that).

Considering all of the users objects are kept in a contiguous array, and all erased objects are destructed, there is no need for controlled or regulated version of SlotMap.

All SlotMaps, just like all SlotLists, have the same first, and the last two template arguments.

some_slot_map<T,                      // value_type 
              .
              .
              .
              S = std::size_t,        // size_type 
              A = std::allocator<T>>; // allocator_type 

variation 1 : slot_map

rea::slot_map acts as a basic SlotMap. It has no additional template arguments, only the ones described above.

rea::slot_map<T,                      // value_type
              S = std::size_t,        // size_type
              A = std::allocator<T>>  // allocator_type
#include <rea.h>
#include <vector>
#include <iostream>

int main() {
   using sm_type = rea::slot_map<int>;
   sm_type sm;
   std::vector<sm_type::id_type> ids;
   ids.reserve(1000);
   sm.reserve(1000);
   
   // insertion
   for(size_t i = 0; i < 1000; ++i) {
      ids.push_back(sm.insert({i, i*2}));
   }
   
   // erasure
   for(size_t i = 0; i < 100; ++i) {
      auto id = get_and_remove_rand_value(ids); //this function is defined in slot map code above
      sm.erase(id);
   }
   
   // lookup
   for(auto id : ids) {
      std::cout << sm.id_value(id).first << std::endl; 
      // Or
      // std::cout << *sm.iterator_of_id(id) << std::endl; 
   }      
   
   ids.clear();
   // iteration is exaclty the same as any std::container
   for(auto it = sm.begin(); it != sm.end(); ++it) { 
      std::cout << *it << std::endl;
      ids.push_back(sm.id_of_iterator(it));
   }
   // "ids" are know in value iteration order
}

variation 2 : versioned_slot_map

rea::versioned_slot_map is to rea::slot_map, what rea::versioned_slot_list is to rea::slot_list. It keeps a version count for you. And just like for rea::versioned_slot_list, rea::versioned_slot_map::id_is_valid(id_type) method may return false if the version counts dont match.

rea::versioned_slot_map<T,                      // value_type
                        V = std::size_t,        // version_type
                        S = std::size_t,        // size_type
                        A = std::allocator<T>>  // allocator_type

Installation

Include "rea.h" header file in your project, and you're ready to go. It should work with any C++11 compliant compiler.

Discussion

Discussion section will be added shortly in the future.


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