Measuring execution time of a function in C++


I want to find out how much time a certain function takes in my C++ program to execute on Linux. Afterwards, I want to make a speed comparison . I saw several time function but ended up with this from boost. Chrono:

process_user_cpu_clock, captures user-CPU time spent by the current process

Now, I am not clear if I use the above function, will I get the only time which CPU spent on that function?

Secondly, I could not find any example of using the above function. Can any one please help me how to use the above function?

P.S: Right now , I am using std::chrono::system_clock::now() to get time in seconds but this gives me different results due to different CPU load every time.

This question is tagged with c++ optimization profiling

~ Asked on 2014-03-13 18:23:30

The Best Answer is


It is a very easy-to-use method in C++11. You have to use std::chrono::high_resolution_clock from <chrono> header.

Use it like so:

#include <iostream>
#include <chrono>

void function()
    long long number = 0;

    for( long long i = 0; i != 2000000; ++i )
       number += 5;

int main()
    auto t1 = std::chrono::high_resolution_clock::now();
    auto t2 = std::chrono::high_resolution_clock::now();

    auto duration = std::chrono::duration_cast<std::chrono::microseconds>( t2 - t1 ).count();

    std::cout << duration;
    return 0;

This will measure the duration of the function.

NOTE: You will not always get the same timing for a function. This is because the CPU of your machine can be less or more used by other processes running on your computer, just as your mind can be more or less concentrated when you solve a math exercise. In the human mind, we can remember the solution of a math problem, but for a computer the same process will always be something new; thus, as I said, you will not always get the same result!

~ Answered on 2014-03-13 18:30:14


Here's a function that will measure the execution time of any function passed as argument:

#include <chrono>
#include <utility>

typedef std::chrono::high_resolution_clock::time_point TimeVar;

#define duration(a) std::chrono::duration_cast<std::chrono::nanoseconds>(a).count()
#define timeNow() std::chrono::high_resolution_clock::now()

template<typename F, typename... Args>
double funcTime(F func, Args&&... args){
    TimeVar t1=timeNow();
    return duration(timeNow()-t1);

Example usage:

#include <iostream>
#include <algorithm>

typedef std::string String;

//first test function doing something
int countCharInString(String s, char delim){
    int count=0;
    String::size_type pos = s.find_first_of(delim);
    while ((pos = s.find_first_of(delim, pos)) != String::npos){
    return count;

//second test function doing the same thing in different way
int countWithAlgorithm(String s, char delim){
    return std::count(s.begin(),s.end(),delim);

int main(){
    std::cout<<"norm: "<<funcTime(countCharInString,"precision=10",'=')<<"\n";
    std::cout<<"algo: "<<funcTime(countWithAlgorithm,"precision=10",'=');
    return 0;


norm: 15555
algo: 2976

~ Answered on 2015-11-24 17:49:36

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