can a lazy language give fast code?

Josef Svenningsson
Tue, 30 Jul 2002 13:57:58 +0200 (MET DST)


On Mon, 29 Jul 2002, Scott J. wrote:

> Can one write withthe Haskell compliler faster code than in the
> examples of where GHC (old
> Haskell 98?) seems to be much slower than Ocaml or Mlton both strict
> functional languages. Can one expect any improvements in speed in the
> future?
There have been speed improvements in the past. I recommend reading Urban
Boquists thesis where he describes a whole program Haskell compiler which
generates pretty fast code. The thesis is very readable and I recommend it
heartily to everyone with just the slightest interest in compiling lazy
It can be found here:

While we're on the subject there are a few things that I need to let out.

I think the reason why Haskell compilers aren't generating any faster code
is that there is a lack of competition among different compilers. And I
think that the lack of competition depends on that noone wants to write a
front-end to Haskell. It's simply too complicated and too much boring work
before one comes down to the interesting details. I know there is work on
creating standardised front-ends and this is a step in the right
direction. But the current state of affairs is the price we've had to pay
to have such a feature-rich language.

All the best,