Running a C/C++ executable from within Python, without any IO

Compile your executable, and then use the subprocess library. Then, in your Python script, use some variant of this:

def test_no_io():
	Run a process that takes no input and produces no output
	## Shell=False helps the process terminate
	process = subprocess.Popen("./hello", shell=False)
	## Get exit codes
	out, err = process.communicate()
	errcode = process.returncode


This will run the executable hello, and it will dump any prints to the command line. A lot of the fancy syntax here is just to ensure that the process gets killed off

Running a C/C++ executable with Numpy arrays and Cython

See examples in the “cython_numpy_cpp/” subdirectory

Personally, I found it easier to use Cython with standalone .pyx files, rather than trying to build cells within a Jupyter notebook. One nice thing about using Cython for this is that it can avoid copying the array, and instead it directs the executable directly to the memory locations of the array. The approach below is a condensed version of this tutorial modified for C++ using these instructions

Your project structure needs to look like this:

├── multiply.h
├── multiply.cpp
├── multiply_runner.pyx
  • Enter a venv with Python 3 and Cython installed and working
  • First, compile multiply.cpp, which is a file containing the functioncpp_multiply
  • Make a multiply_runner.pyx file to deal with input/output from the numpy array. Here is a minimal example

    import cython

    # import both numpy and the Cython declarations for numpy import numpy as np cimport numpy as np np.import_array()

    # declare the interface to the C code cdef extern from “multiply.h”: void cpp_multiply (double* array, double multiplier, int m, int n)

    @cython.boundscheck(False) @cython.wraparound(False) def multiply(np.ndarray[double, ndim=2, mode=”c”] input not None, double value):

      cdef int m, n
      m, n = input.shape[0], input.shape[1]
      cpp_multiply (&input[0,0], value, m, n)
      return None
  • Now, make a file to help organize the build process

    #!/usr/bin/env python

    from distutils.core import setup from distutils.extension import Extension from Cython.Distutils import build_ext import numpy

    ext_modules = [Extension( “multiply_runner”, [“multiply_runner.pyx”, “multiply.cpp”], language=”c++”, extra_compile_args=[“-std=c++11”], extra_link_args=[“-std=c++11”] )]

    setup( cmdclass = {‘build_ext’: build_ext}, ext_modules = ext_modules, include_dirs=[numpy.get_include()] )

  • Now, compile the .pyx file using python build_ext --inplace
  • Now you are ready to use the function. In your python script add an import statement from multiply_runner import multiply and use multiply as a normal function. The name of the function is its name in the .pyx file, regardless of its name in the original cpp and h files

Optimizing Cython code

You can see when Python is getting instead of C called by running

cython -a oscillator_funcs.pyx

And viewing the resulting HTML file.

Good tips on optimizing Cython code in the document Using Cython to Speed up Numerical Python Programs