6
\$\begingroup\$

Below is a generic implementation of the summary statistics function Median.

Discussion of efficient use of std::nth_element and std::max_element (for even number of elements only) is from here.

We want the median algorithm to work for ranges of primitive builtin types, as well as complex types. This may require passing in an ordering comparator and an "extraction" functor as lambdas.

Yet we want the algorithm to remain simple to use for simple types.

As a complex type we include a simple vector2 implementation. This is not the focus here.

C++20 has been used for concept constraints and "lambdas in non-evaluated contexts".

  • Comments, particularly on the API choices for the median(...) appreciated.
  • Is there a better way specify the default Extract Lambda type?
#include <cmath>
#include <cstdlib>
#include <exception>
#include <functional>
#include <iostream>
#include <ostream>
#include <stdexcept>
#include <utility>

template <typename Numeric>
requires std::is_floating_point_v<Numeric> || std::is_integral_v<Numeric>
class vector2 {
public:
  Numeric x{};
  Numeric y{};

  constexpr vector2(Numeric x_, Numeric y_) : x(x_), y(y_) {}

  constexpr vector2() = default;

  [[nodiscard]] Numeric mag() const { return std::hypot(x, y); }
  [[nodiscard]] vector2 norm() const { return *this / this->mag(); }
  [[nodiscard]] Numeric dot(const vector2& rhs) const { return x * rhs.x + y * rhs.y; }

  // clang-format off
  vector2& operator+=(const vector2& obj)  { x += obj.x; y += obj.y; return *this; }
  vector2& operator-=(const vector2& obj)  { x -= obj.x; y -= obj.y; return *this; }
  vector2& operator*=(const double& scale) { x *= scale; y *= scale; return *this; }
  vector2& operator/=(const double& scale) { x /= scale; y /= scale; return *this; }
  // clang-format on

  friend vector2 operator+(vector2 lhs, const vector2& rhs) { return lhs += rhs; }
  friend vector2 operator-(vector2 lhs, const vector2& rhs) { return lhs -= rhs; }
  friend vector2 operator*(vector2 lhs, const double& scale) { return lhs *= scale; }
  friend vector2 operator*(const double& scale, vector2 rhs) { return rhs *= scale; }
  friend vector2 operator/(vector2 lhs, const double& scale) { return lhs /= scale; }

  friend std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, const vector2& v) {
    return os << '[' << v.x << ", " << v.y << "] mag = " << v.mag();
  }
};

using vec2 = vector2<double>;

template <typename RandAccessIter, typename Comp = std::less<>,
          typename Extract = decltype([](const typename RandAccessIter::value_type& e) { return e; })>
auto median(RandAccessIter first, RandAccessIter last, Comp comp = std::less<>(),
            Extract extr = Extract()) {
  auto s = last - first;
  if (s == 0) throw std::domain_error("Can't find median of an empty range");
  auto n      = s / 2;
  auto middle = first + n;
  std::nth_element(first, middle, last, comp);
#if !defined(NDEBUG)
  std::cerr << "After nth_element with n= " << n << ":\n";
  std::for_each(first, last, [](const auto& e) { std::cerr << e << "\n"; });
#endif
  if (s % 2 == 1) {
    return extr(*middle);
  }
  auto below_middle = std::max_element(first, middle, comp);
#if !defined(NDEBUG)
  std::cerr << "below_middle:" << *below_middle << "\n";
#endif
  return (extr(*middle) + extr(*below_middle)) / 2.0;
}

// wrap the generic median algorithm for particular type and container
double median(std::vector<vec2> modes) { // intentional copy to protect caller
  return median(
      modes.begin(), modes.end(), [](const auto& a, const auto& b) { return a.mag() < b.mag(); },
      [](const auto& v) { return v.mag(); });
}

int main() {
  try {
    std::cout << "mutable vector of builtin types\n";
    auto vector_of_doubles = std::vector<std::vector<double>>{
      {1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0},
      {1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0},
      {1.0, 2.0, 3.0},
      {1.0, 2.0},
      {1.0},
    };
    for (auto& doubles: vector_of_doubles) {
      auto med = median(doubles.begin(), doubles.end()); // call generic algorithm
      std::cout << "median mag = " << med << "\n";
    }
    
    std::cout << "immutable vector of complex types\n";
    const auto vector_of_vecs = std::vector<std::vector<vec2>>{
        {{1, 2}, {3, 4}, {5, 6}, {7, 8}, {9, 10}},
        {{1, 2}, {3, 4}, {5, 6}, {7, 8}},
        {{1, 2}, {3, 4}, {5, 6}},
        {{1, 2}, {3, 4}},
        {{1, 2}},
        {},
    };
    for (const auto& vecs: vector_of_vecs) {
      auto med = median(vecs); //call via simplifying wrapper
      std::cout << "median mag = " << med << "\n";
    }
  } catch (const std::exception& e) {
    std::cerr << "Exception thrown: " << e.what() << " Terminating\n";
    return EXIT_FAILURE;
  }
  return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

\$\endgroup\$

3 Answers 3

7
\$\begingroup\$

It modifies the input

I think it is surprising that an operation that is intended to just give you some statistics back is going to modify the input. In the test code you also test it on const vectors, but there you use the helper function that makes a copy. Maybe make copying part of the real median() function? It might be tempting to use std::partial_sort_copy(), but as you benchmarked, that is always less efficient that just copying the whole input and then using std::nth_element() + std::max_element().

Making a copy here does not increase the algorithmic complexity in any way, but of course there is an overhead. If the caller really wants to avoid that, perhaps provide an in_place_median() or a sorting_median() function?

Provide a version with a ranges interface

Since you target C++20, consider providing an overload that takes a std::ranges::random_access_range as an argument.

Simplify template default parameters

Just like you used std::less<>, you can use std::identity to provide a default value for Extract. Furthermore, when providing default values for the function parameters, you can avoid repeating things by just using {}:

template <typename RandAccessIter, typename Comp = std::less<>,
          typename Extract = std::identity>
auto median(RandAccessIter first, RandAccessIter last,
            Comp comp = {}, Extract extr = {}) {
    ...
}

Use std::midpoint()

If you have an even number of elements, then the line of code that averages two values is problematic. Consider that the sum of two values might be outside the range of the value type. There's std::midpoint() which will calculate the average for you while also avoiding all the pitfalls that come with it. (See this presentation from Marshall Clow for the problems one encounters while trying to average two numbers.)

Use std::invoke() instead of calling extr() directly

To make the code even more generic and to allow member function pointers to be passed for extr, make sure you use std::invoke() to invoke the callable:

if (s % 2 == 1) {
    return std::invoke(extr, *middle);
}
...
return std::midpoint(std::invoke(extr, *middle), std::invoke(extr, *below_middle));

Consider adding a projection parameter

You'll notice that std::ranges::nth_element() has a template parameter Proj that is similar to your Extract, except that it is applied before comparing two elements. It would simplify your helper function std::vector<vec2>, and would allow you to write:

template <typename RandAccessIter, typename Comp = std::less<>,
          typename Proj = std::identity, typename Extract = std::identity>
auto median(RandAccessIter first, RandAccessIter last, Comp comp = {},
            Proj proj = {}, Extract extr = {}) {
    ...
    std::ranges::nth_element(first, middle, last, comp, proj);
    ...
    auto below = std::ranges::max_element(first, middle, comp, proj);
    ...
}

auto median(std::vector<vec2> modes) {
  return median(modes.begin(), modes.end(), {}, &vec::mag, &vec::mag);
}

Use concepts to restrict the allowed template parameter types

In C++20 we can use concepts to restrict template parameters, so type errors are detected early with helpful error messages. If you want to keep using std::nth_element(), then the easiest would be to use std::sortable for RandAccessIter, Comp and Proj, and use std::invocable for Extract:

template <typename RandAccessIter, typename Comp = std::less<>,
          typename Proj = std::identity, typename Extract = std::identity>
requires std::sortable<RandAccessIter, Comp, Proj> &&
         std::invocable<Extract, std::iter_reference_t<RandAccessIter>>
auto median(RandAccessIter first, RandAccessIter last, Comp comp = {},
            Proj proj = {}, Extract extr = {}) {
    ...
}
\$\endgroup\$
13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Some great points. Should this ` std::nth_element(first, middle, last, comp, proj);` have read ` std::ranges::nth_element(first, middle, last, comp, proj);`? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2022 at 22:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I did mean that :) \$\endgroup\$
    – G. Sliepen
    Feb 6, 2022 at 23:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, after battling with my environment, I am now compiling with gcc-11 rather than clang-13 (the latter is behind the former - even when linking with libstdc++-11). I usually prefer using clang because I use clangd with emacs so it's nice when the lint warning match the compiler warnings. But I have recently learnt that compiling with clang on a gcc system is probably not wise anyway. In any case your approach now works.. and I have now dropped Extract in favour of just Proj. This is much better, but does require the very latest. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2022 at 23:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ I also agonised over the copy. It's juts that the standard STL interface is 2 iterators. So you think should still use iterators in the interface (with optional ranges adaptor) and I should use perhaps a "range constructor" in the body of auto median(... to make a copy? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 6, 2022 at 23:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's too bad std::midpoint() restricts things too much here in my opinion. You can average two vec2s, since all the necessary operators are there. Even if it might not make sense for a vec2, consider a type that implements rational numbers. \$\endgroup\$
    – G. Sliepen
    Feb 7, 2022 at 7:39
5
\$\begingroup\$

Performance benchmarking on std::nth_element + std::max_element vs std::partial_sort_copy. Refer discussion under G.Sliepen's answer.

Benchmark code

Note that the nth_element version does make a copy, to make a fair comparison.

There are probably some small bugs in the partial_sort_copy code, for tiny ranges - the n-1 code will break. But given the results, I didn't bother improving it.

Note that the partial_sort_copy is also slightly less covenient to use (at least currently) with comp and proj. Again, I didn't bother to improve it due to the results.

#include "benchmark/benchmark.h"
#include <algorithm>
#include <cmath>
#include <cstddef>
#include <cstdlib>
#include <exception>
#include <functional>
#include <iostream>
#include <numeric>
#include <ostream>
#include <random>
#include <ranges>
#include <stdexcept>
#include <utility>
#include <vector>

template <typename Numeric>
requires std::is_floating_point_v<Numeric> || std::is_integral_v<Numeric>
class vector2 {
public:
  Numeric x{};
  Numeric y{};

  constexpr vector2(Numeric x_, Numeric y_) : x(x_), y(y_) {}

  constexpr vector2() = default;

  [[nodiscard]] Numeric mag() const { return std::hypot(x, y); }
  [[nodiscard]] vector2 norm() const { return *this / this->mag(); }
  [[nodiscard]] Numeric dot(const vector2& rhs) const { return x * rhs.x + y * rhs.y; }

  // clang-format off
  vector2& operator+=(const vector2& obj)  { x += obj.x; y += obj.y; return *this; }
  vector2& operator-=(const vector2& obj)  { x -= obj.x; y -= obj.y; return *this; }
  vector2& operator*=(const double& scale) { x *= scale; y *= scale; return *this; }
  vector2& operator/=(const double& scale) { x /= scale; y /= scale; return *this; }
  // clang-format on

  friend vector2 operator+(vector2 lhs, const vector2& rhs) { return lhs += rhs; }
  friend vector2 operator-(vector2 lhs, const vector2& rhs) { return lhs -= rhs; }
  friend vector2 operator*(vector2 lhs, const double& scale) { return lhs *= scale; }
  friend vector2 operator*(const double& scale, vector2 rhs) { return rhs *= scale; }
  friend vector2 operator/(vector2 lhs, const double& scale) { return lhs /= scale; }

  friend std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, const vector2& v) {
    return os << '[' << v.x << ", " << v.y << "] mag = " << v.mag();
  }
};

using vec2 = vector2<double>;

template <typename RandAccessIter, typename Comp = std::less<>, typename Proj = std::identity>
auto median(RandAccessIter first, RandAccessIter last, Comp comp = {}, Proj proj = {}) {
  // make a copy
  std::vector<typename RandAccessIter::value_type> tmp(first, last);
  auto tmp_first = tmp.begin();
  auto tmp_last = tmp.end();
  auto s = tmp_last - tmp_first;
  if (s == 0) throw std::domain_error("Can't find median of an empty range.");
  auto n      = s / 2;
  auto middle = tmp_first + n;
  std::ranges::nth_element(tmp_first, middle, tmp_last, comp, proj);
#if !defined(NDEBUG)
  std::cerr << "After nth_element with n = " << n << ":\n";
  std::for_each(first, last, [](const auto& e) { std::cerr << e << "\n"; });
#endif
  if (s % 2 == 1) {
    return std::invoke(proj, *middle);
  }
  auto below_middle = std::ranges::max_element(tmp_first, middle, comp, proj);
#if !defined(NDEBUG)
  std::cerr << "below_middle:" << *below_middle << "\n";
#endif
  return std::midpoint(std::invoke(proj, *middle), std::invoke(proj, *below_middle));
}

template <typename RandAccessIter, typename Comp = std::less<>, typename Proj = std::identity>
auto median2(RandAccessIter first, RandAccessIter last, Comp comp = {}, Proj proj = {}) {
  auto s = last - first;
  if (s == 0) throw std::domain_error("Can't find median of an empty range.");
  auto n      = static_cast<std::size_t>(s / 2);
  std::vector<typename RandAccessIter::value_type> tmp(n + 1);
  std::ranges::partial_sort_copy(first, last, tmp.begin(), tmp.end(), comp);
  auto middle = &tmp[n];
#if !defined(NDEBUG)
  std::cerr << "middle:" << *middle << "\n";
#endif
  if (s % 2 == 1) {
    return std::invoke(proj, *middle);
  }
  auto below_middle = &tmp[n-1];
#if !defined(NDEBUG)
  std::cerr << "below_middle:" << *below_middle << "\n";
#endif
  return std::midpoint(std::invoke(proj, *middle), std::invoke(proj, *below_middle));
}

void median_nth_element(benchmark::State& state) {
  auto                                       no_elements = static_cast<std::size_t>(state.range(0));
  std::mt19937_64                            rgen(1); // NOLINT fixed seed
  std::uniform_int_distribution<std::size_t> dist(0, no_elements - 1);

  std::vector<std::size_t> ints(no_elements);
  std::generate(begin(ints), end(ints), [&dist, &rgen]() { return dist(rgen); });

  for (auto _: state) {
    auto med = median(ints.begin(), ints.end());
    benchmark::DoNotOptimize(med);
  }
}

void median_nth_element_odd(benchmark::State& state) {
  auto                                       no_elements = static_cast<std::size_t>(state.range(0) + 1U);
  std::mt19937_64                            rgen(1); // NOLINT fixed seed
  std::uniform_int_distribution<std::size_t> dist(0, no_elements - 1);

  std::vector<std::size_t> ints(no_elements);
  std::generate(begin(ints), end(ints), [&dist, &rgen]() { return dist(rgen); });

  for (auto _: state) {
    auto med = median(ints.begin(), ints.end());
    benchmark::DoNotOptimize(med);
  }
}

void median_nth_element_vec2(benchmark::State& state) {
  auto                                       no_elements = static_cast<std::size_t>(state.range(0));
  std::mt19937_64                            rgen(1); // NOLINT fixed seed
  std::uniform_int_distribution<std::size_t> dist(0, no_elements - 1);

  std::vector<vector2<std::size_t>> vecs(no_elements);
  std::generate(begin(vecs), end(vecs), [&dist, &rgen]() { return vector2<std::size_t>{dist(rgen), dist(rgen)}; });

  for (auto _: state) {
    auto med = median(vecs.begin(), vecs.end(), {}, &vector2<std::size_t>::mag);
    benchmark::DoNotOptimize(med);
  }
}

void median_partial_sort(benchmark::State& state) {
  auto                                       no_elements = static_cast<std::size_t>(state.range(0));
  std::mt19937_64                            rgen(1); // NOLINT fixed seed
  std::uniform_int_distribution<std::size_t> dist(0, no_elements - 1);

  std::vector<std::size_t> ints(no_elements);
  std::generate(begin(ints), end(ints), [&dist, &rgen]() { return dist(rgen); });

  for (auto _: state) {
    auto med = median2(ints.begin(), ints.end());
    benchmark::DoNotOptimize(med);
  }
}

void median_partial_sort_odd(benchmark::State& state) {
  auto                                       no_elements = static_cast<std::size_t>(state.range(0) + 1U);
  std::mt19937_64                            rgen(1); // NOLINT fixed seed
  std::uniform_int_distribution<std::size_t> dist(0, no_elements - 1);

  std::vector<std::size_t> ints(no_elements);
  std::generate(begin(ints), end(ints), [&dist, &rgen]() { return dist(rgen); });

  for (auto _: state) {
    auto med = median2(ints.begin(), ints.end());
    benchmark::DoNotOptimize(med);
  }
}

void median_partial_sort_vec2(benchmark::State& state) {
  auto                                       no_elements = static_cast<std::size_t>(state.range(0));
  std::mt19937_64                            rgen(1); // NOLINT fixed seed
  std::uniform_int_distribution<std::size_t> dist(0, no_elements - 1);

  std::vector<vector2<std::size_t>> vecs(no_elements);
  std::generate(begin(vecs), end(vecs), [&dist, &rgen]() { return vector2<std::size_t>{dist(rgen), dist(rgen)}; });

  for (auto _: state) {
    auto med = median2(
        vecs.begin(), vecs.end(), [](const auto& a, const auto& b) { return a.mag() < b.mag(); },
        &vector2<std::size_t>::mag);
    benchmark::DoNotOptimize(med);
  }
}

BENCHMARK(median_nth_element)->Range(8, 8U << 16U);
BENCHMARK(median_nth_element_odd)->Range(8, 8U << 16U);
BENCHMARK(median_nth_element_vec2)->Range(8, 8U << 16U);
BENCHMARK(median_partial_sort)->Range(8, 8U << 16U);
BENCHMARK(median_partial_sort_odd)->Range(8, 8U << 16U);
BENCHMARK(median_partial_sort_vec2)->Range(8, 8U << 16U);
BENCHMARK_MAIN();

Results

Run on (8 X 3800 MHz CPU s)
CPU Caches:
  L1 Data 32 KiB (x4)
  L1 Instruction 32 KiB (x4)
  L2 Unified 256 KiB (x4)
  L3 Unified 8192 KiB (x1)
Load Average: 0.51, 0.41, 0.44
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benchmark                                Time             CPU   Iterations
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
median_nth_element/8                  49.4 ns         49.4 ns     11726991
median_nth_element/64                  162 ns          162 ns      4229863
median_nth_element/512                 944 ns          944 ns       749605
median_nth_element/4096              20981 ns        20975 ns        33242
median_nth_element/32768            247038 ns       246926 ns         2888
median_nth_element/262144          2161588 ns      2160627 ns          330
median_nth_element/524288          5109616 ns      5105935 ns          136
median_nth_element_odd/8              42.4 ns         42.3 ns     16568324
median_nth_element_odd/64              195 ns          195 ns      3597718
median_nth_element_odd/512             708 ns          708 ns       908172
median_nth_element_odd/4096          12401 ns        12397 ns        54944
median_nth_element_odd/32768        216881 ns       216798 ns         3323
median_nth_element_odd/262144      2164863 ns      2164004 ns          326
median_nth_element_odd/524288      4792950 ns      4790117 ns          131
median_nth_element_vec2/8              622 ns          621 ns      1128680
median_nth_element_vec2/64            5254 ns         5248 ns       131931
median_nth_element_vec2/512          57524 ns        57445 ns        12203
median_nth_element_vec2/4096        492967 ns       491857 ns         1423
median_nth_element_vec2/32768      5058039 ns      5056358 ns          125
median_nth_element_vec2/262144    34567322 ns     34545641 ns           21
median_nth_element_vec2/524288    56340388 ns     56318226 ns           12
median_partial_sort/8                 66.1 ns         66.1 ns     10433344
median_partial_sort/64                 596 ns          596 ns      1168221
median_partial_sort/512               6714 ns         6712 ns       102949
median_partial_sort/4096            229300 ns       229164 ns         3096
median_partial_sort/32768          2351233 ns      2350440 ns          300
median_partial_sort/262144        24356189 ns     24339351 ns           29
median_partial_sort/524288        51988540 ns     51970508 ns           13
median_partial_sort_odd/8             65.0 ns         65.0 ns     10840782
median_partial_sort_odd/64             610 ns          610 ns      1166832
median_partial_sort_odd/512           6851 ns         6848 ns       102734
median_partial_sort_odd/4096        227684 ns       227615 ns         3085
median_partial_sort_odd/32768      2347916 ns      2347150 ns          299
median_partial_sort_odd/262144    24591092 ns     24579550 ns           29
median_partial_sort_odd/524288    52963811 ns     52944066 ns           13
median_partial_sort_vec2/8             500 ns          499 ns      1391598
median_partial_sort_vec2/64           9143 ns         9141 ns        75919
median_partial_sort_vec2/512        159484 ns       159447 ns         4387
median_partial_sort_vec2/4096      1910922 ns      1910261 ns          374
median_partial_sort_vec2/32768    18576980 ns     18571146 ns           36
median_partial_sort_vec2/262144  181462960 ns    181402942 ns            4
median_partial_sort_vec2/524288  389011284 ns    388896464 ns            2

Discussion

I didn't spent too much time with this, as it seems thatnth_element + max_element blows partial_sort_copy out of the water for all collection sizes and types.

Even for tiny collections nth_element is faster and as they grow, it is quickly faster by 10x or more.

No contest?

\$\endgroup\$
1
  • \$\begingroup\$ No contest indeed, that definitely settles that. \$\endgroup\$
    – G. Sliepen
    Feb 7, 2022 at 10:25
0
\$\begingroup\$

Revised Version

Integrating all of the feedback from G.Sliepen plus a bit more.

  • Always makes a copy now
  • constrains the inputs with concepts
  • Simpler syntax for default input parameters
  • provides an overload which accepts a range
  • uses a projection parameter - no more extract
  • uses std::invoke to support member functions
  • uses std::midpoint for a safer average
  • Only needs const std::input_iterators because it makes a copy into std::vector. Is there a way to state in the requires clause that we only need const?

I also attempted to provide a trailing return type for median(..) (in order to make the signature more informative), but couldn't make that work.

#include <algorithm>
#include <cmath>
#include <cstddef>
#include <exception>
#include <functional>
#include <iostream>
#include <iterator>
#include <numeric>
#include <ostream>
#include <ranges>
#include <stdexcept>
#include <utility>
#include <vector>

template <typename Numeric>
requires std::floating_point<Numeric> || std::integral<Numeric>
class vector2 {
public:
  Numeric x{};
  Numeric y{};

  constexpr vector2(Numeric x_, Numeric y_) : x(x_), y(y_) {}

  constexpr vector2() = default;

  [[nodiscard]] Numeric mag() const { return std::hypot(x, y); }
  [[nodiscard]] vector2 norm() const { return *this / this->mag(); }
  [[nodiscard]] Numeric dot(const vector2& rhs) const { return x * rhs.x + y * rhs.y; }

  // clang-format off
  vector2& operator+=(const vector2& obj)  { x += obj.x; y += obj.y; return *this; }
  vector2& operator-=(const vector2& obj)  { x -= obj.x; y -= obj.y; return *this; }
  vector2& operator*=(const double& scale) { x *= scale; y *= scale; return *this; }
  vector2& operator/=(const double& scale) { x /= scale; y /= scale; return *this; }
  // clang-format on

  friend vector2 operator+(vector2 lhs, const vector2& rhs) { return lhs += rhs; }
  friend vector2 operator-(vector2 lhs, const vector2& rhs) { return lhs -= rhs; }
  friend vector2 operator*(vector2 lhs, const double& scale) { return lhs *= scale; }
  friend vector2 operator*(const double& scale, vector2 rhs) { return rhs *= scale; }
  friend vector2 operator/(vector2 lhs, const double& scale) { return lhs /= scale; }

  friend std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, const vector2& v) {
    return os << '[' << v.x << ", " << v.y << "] mag = " << v.mag();
  }
};

using vec2 = vector2<double>;

template <typename InputIter, typename Comp = std::ranges::less, typename Proj = std::identity>
requires std::input_iterator<InputIter> &&
    std::sortable<typename std::vector<std::iter_value_t<InputIter>>::iterator, Comp, Proj>
auto median(InputIter first, InputIter last, Comp comp = {}, Proj proj = {}) {

  std::vector<std::iter_value_t<InputIter>> tmp(first, last); // make a copy

  auto tmp_first = tmp.begin();
  auto tmp_last  = tmp.end();
  auto s         = tmp_last - tmp_first;

  if (s == 0) throw std::domain_error("Can't find median of an empty range.");

  auto n          = s / 2;
  auto tmp_middle = tmp_first + n;

  std::ranges::nth_element(tmp_first, tmp_middle, tmp_last, comp, proj);

  if (s % 2 == 1) return std::invoke(proj, *tmp_middle);

  auto below_tmp_middle = std::ranges::max_element(tmp_first, tmp_middle, comp, proj);

  return std::midpoint(std::invoke(proj, *tmp_middle), std::invoke(proj, *below_tmp_middle));
}

template <typename InputRange, typename Comp = std::ranges::less, typename Proj = std::identity>
requires std::ranges::input_range<InputRange> &&
    std::sortable<typename std::vector<std::ranges::iterator_t<InputRange>>::iterator, Comp, Proj>
auto median(InputRange range, Comp comp = {}, Proj proj = {}) {
  return median(range.begin(), range.end(), comp, proj);
}

int main() {
  try {
    std::cout << "mutable vectors of builtin types\n";
    auto vectors_of_doubles = std::vector<std::vector<double>>{
        // clang-format off
        {5.0, 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, 1.0},
        {5.0, 4.0, 3.0, 2.0},
        {5.0, 4.0, 3.0},
        {5.0, 4.0},
        {5.0},
        // clang-format on
    };
    for (auto& doubles: vectors_of_doubles) {
      auto med = median(doubles.begin(), doubles.end());
      std::cout << "median = " << med << "\n";
    }

    std::cout << "immutable vectors of complex types\n";
    const auto vectors_of_vecs = std::vector<std::vector<vec2>>{
        {{9, 10}, {7, 8}, {5, 6}, {3, 4}, {1, 2}},
        {{9, 10}, {7, 8}, {5, 6}, {3, 4}},
        {{9, 10}, {7, 8}, {5, 6}},
        {{9, 10}, {7, 8}},
        {{9, 10}},
        {}, // throws exception
    };
    for (const auto& vecs: vectors_of_vecs) {
      auto med = median(vecs, {}, &vec2::mag); // using the range overload with custom Projection
      std::cout << "median mag = " << med << "\n";
    }
  } catch (const std::exception& e) {
    std::cerr << "Exception thrown: " << e.what() << " Terminating\n";
    return EXIT_FAILURE;
  }
  return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}
```
\$\endgroup\$
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