This is likely going to be a stupid question given that I am not in com sci, have very little com sci knowledge with regards to information storage/algorithms. I was wondering, if this question has any meaning, what are the costs of scanning for something vs carrying out some integer operations such as adding, multiplying, etc. (time/algorithmic efficiency/machine cost/whatever related things apply)? I know this is very contingent on exactly what I'm trying to do, so I'm going to try to lay out the situation. I'm just doing some sparse matrix problems. But there are going to be lots of zeroes and the sparsity doesn't really have any general pattern to it. I know Gaussian Elimination is generally considered to be in the range of (2/3)n^3, don't know what this is in relation to computational time which I would expect to be dependent on the system specifications of the computer. So what would the cost be, in relation to computer taxation, of searching for rows with two non-zero elements as opposed to going through matrix calculations? I'm guessing that is very vague or possibly not answerable because there might be no equivalence between the two operations. Lemme try a simpler case, what are the machine costs of doing some integer operations as opposed to doing comparisons or searching for something?