[Haskell-cafe] Re: [Haskell] [Fwd: Re: Computer Language Shootout]

SevenThunders mattcbro at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 25 16:27:52 EST 2007

Neil Mitchell wrote:
> The problem is that something like GHC is very complex, with lots of
> transformations. When transformations are firing other
> transformations, which in turn fire other transformations, it doesn't
> take a great deal to disrupt this flow of optimisation and end up with
> a result which doesn't accurately reflect the particular change you
> made. Better knowledge of the end effects on a program isn't
> necessarily going to translate to better knowledge of the
> optimisations effect.
> Maybe if we had a greater number and variety of optimising compilers
> we'd be able to more freely experiment with optimisation techniques in
> different settings. At the moment GHC is all there is (with Jhc not
> ready for mainstream use yet)
> Thanks
> Neil
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> Haskell-Cafe at haskell.org
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Although there may not be a lot of optimizing Haskell compilers, there are
compilers for languages similar to Haskell that consistently perform well. 
One could point to O'caml or others in the ML family, or even more
interesting is the case of Clean, whose syntax heavily borrows from Haskell.

What do the Clean folks do that has made their compiler so consistently
competitive?  Is it the abc machine?  Frankly I'm amazed that a three stack
based virtual machine can be translated into such efficient machine code in
register centric CPU architecture.  Can Haskell compiler writers learn
something from this?  Supposedly someone is working on a Haskell compiler
that will use the clean compiler back end.  I can't believe that Clean is so
fundamentally different, even with uniqueness types, that it has an edge in
compiler optimization.
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