[erlang-questions] No, really, please stop misinterpreting what I wrote
Sun Sep 20 23:11:23 CEST 2009
On 17-Sep-09, at 7:05 AM, Michael Turner wrote:
> In a paper I can't immediately identify right now, the authors
> that Erlang programmers often spend a fair amount of time trying to
> measure what's fast in Erlang, then writing stuff using what they
> discover is fast. The authors were disturbed, saying that they'd
> prefer that Erlang programmers implement things so as to be *clear* in
> Erlang, so that maintainers of the Erlang interpreter and compiler
> know what to target for optimization.
This is true of any language, I think, and particularly true of
declarative languages (I am thinking of SQL, for example).
> And now we have James Hague pointing out that an ambiguity (?) in
> semantics means that he's now got a great optimization, but one that
> might go away if Erlang is allowed to optimize it out. Well, C is
> really great for optimizing stuff, but I've had my "lightweight
> semantics" optimizations in that language optimized out by a
> release of the compiler, and I deserved what I got. One of C's
> co-designers contributed the now-famous saying: "Premature
> is the root of all evil in software."
To be pedantic, I think that was actually Professor Knuth*.
> Probably because, with that
> language being what it is, he'd seen a lot more evil than most of us.
> It's hard habit to acquire (because optimization can be so much fun),
> but it's a good one: the habit of asking yourself, in contemplating an
> optimization, "Would this solve the real problem? Or just compensate
> for it?" ...
> -michael turner
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