[Haskell-cafe] Speed comparison?

John Hughes rjmh at cs.chalmers.se
Wed May 4 07:32:15 EDT 2005

>>Furthermore, the Haskell page says that ghc produces fast programs.
>>So I would guess that Haskell is faster than Python, but not as fast
>>as C.
>>Would that be correct?
>Usually yes.
In a sense. I think it's important to remember that what matters is 
performance of a whole application, not of highly tuned benchmark code, 
and in writing applications with good performance, then the quality of 
profiling tools, and (especially) the amount of time the programmer has 
available for tuning, can be far more important than the compiler. There 
have certainly been occasions where Haskell entries to the ICFP 
programming contest have beat OCaml or even C/C++ entries on 
performance, by a wide margin. Likewise Ericsson's ATM switch, which is 
controlled by a million lines plus of Erlang (running on a byte code 
interpreter!), performs better than all its competitors.

Benchmarks give a very one-sided view, ignoring the large effect that 
ease of programming can have on the final system's performance.

John Hughes

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