# Why Use Elixir Pattern Matching?

It’s almost twice faster than Elixir’s `Enum.any?/2`

.

That’s an observation I had while doing an Elixir exercise on Exercism. In the exercise Sum of Multiples, I had to calculate the sum of numbers from 1 to n, which are multiples of any given factors.

Quoting the example in the problem: > If we list all the natural numbers up to but not including 20 that are > multiples of either 3 or 5, we get 3, 5, 6 and 9, 10, 12, 15, and 18. > The sum of these multiples is 78.

The solution for the problem itself is simple, whereby we can filter the list of numbers which is a multiple of one of the factors. I have defined a private function `is_multiple?/2`

which returns `true`

if a number is a multiple of the factors or `false`

otherwise.

```
def to(limit, factors) do
1..limit-1
|> Enum.filter(&(is_multiple?(&1, factors)))
|> Enum.sum
end
```

Now the interesting part happens in `is_multiple?/2`

.

Coming from Ruby & Javascript background, my first instinct is to use `Enum.any?/2`

which returns true as soon as an element of a list satisfies the predicate function. In this case, the predicate is simply checking that the remainder of the number divided by the factor is 0.

```
defp is_multiple?(num, factors) do
factors
|> Enum.any?(&(rem(num, &1) == 0))
end
```

This works, but then I started thinking about how to write it in a more Elixir way, so here comes pattern matching with recursion. It checks if the number is a multiple of the first factor in the list. If so, it returns true, otherwise, it recurses through the list until there is no more factor left in the list.

```
defp is_multiple?(num, []), do: false
defp is_multiple?(num, [factor | _]) when rem(num, factor) == 0, do: true
defp is_multiple?(num, [_ | factors]), do: is_multiple?(num, factors)
```

This works too! All fine and dandy!

Then comes the next question of how do they perform at scale. I wanted to know how do the performance differ, so I wrote a simple test with 10 million as the limit and the list of factors being the first 1000 prime numbers.

```
test "very large number and many factors" do
n = 10_000_000
multiples = primes(1000)
assert SumOfMultiples.to(n, multiples) == 499999500000
end
def is_prime(x), do: (2..x |> Enum.filter(fn a -> rem(x, a) == 0 end) |> length()) == 1
def prime(n), do: Stream.interval(1) |> Stream.drop(2) |> Stream.filter(&is_prime/1) |> Enum.take(n)
```

The result surprised me. With `Enum.any?`

, the test completed in just after a minute.

```
SumOfMultiplesTest
* test very large number and many prime factors (62269.0ms)
```

With pattern matching, the test took almost half the time and completed in just over 33 seconds.

```
SumOfMultiplesTest
* test very large number and many prime factors (33141.2ms)
```

This is a promising finding and it makes me more intrigued by the Elixir pattern matching capability.