Impact of code difference in Collection#contains() worth improving?

Vitaly Davidovich vitalyd at
Wed Aug 27 14:12:42 UTC 2014

There's no clear winner between cmov and jmp in the general case. When you
looked at the generated assembly, what code did you run to warm it up? Were
most instances found in the list or not or some mix?

Using 0 as a test does have benefits in some places (e.g. when flags
register can be used from prior operations that set the zero bit), but this
one seems unlikely to be one of those.

Also, LL traversal is likely to suffer cache misses, which would trump
anything else here (AL as well to a lesser degree).

Sent from my phone
On Aug 27, 2014 10:02 AM, "Fabian Lange" <lange.fabian at> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I have been involved recently in some theoretical or nonsensical
> discussions about microbenchmarking, jit compiling assemblies and so
> fort.
> One example was LinkedList vs ArrayList.
> What I noticed is that those two have a different implementation for
> contains():
> ArrayList:
>     public boolean contains(Object o) {
>         return indexOf(o) >= 0;
>     }
> LinkedList:
>     public boolean contains(Object o) {
>         return indexOf(o) != -1;
>     }
> Logically this is of course identical due to the contract of contains
> which returns either -1 or the >=0 index of the element.
> This code has been like this almost forever, and I was wondering if
> this actually makes a difference in CPU cycles.
> And in fact this code compiles into different assembler instructions.
> The array list does a test against 0 and conditional move, while the
> linked list does a jump equals on -1.
> Again that is not surprising, because the actual java source is
> different. But I wonder if both options are equally good in cold
> performance and when jitted based on parameter values.
> Wouldn't one implementation be better than the other? And why is not
> the "better" implementation taken in both classes (and maybe other
> Collections which use indexOf) ?
> Is the answer that this has always been like this and the benefit is
> not worth the risk of touching ancient code?
> And if not for performance, would code clarify and similarity be an
> argument?
> (this message was posted to jdk8-dev initially, thanks to Dalibor
> Topic for the pointer to this list)
> Fabian

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