[Haskell-cafe] Re: Why can't Haskell be faster?

Ketil Malde ketil+haskell at ii.uib.no
Thu Nov 1 03:45:49 EDT 2007

Don Stewart <dons at galois.com> writes:

> goalieca:

>>    So in a few years time when GHC has matured we can expect performance to
>>    be on par with current Clean? So Clean is a good approximation to peak
>>    performance?

If I remember the numbers, Clean is pretty close to C for most
benchmarks, so I guess it is fair to say it is a good approximation to
practical peak performance.

Which proves that it is possible to write efficient low-level code in

> And remember usually Haskell is competing against 'high level' languages
> like python for adoption, where we're 5-500x faster anyway...

Unfortunately, they replaced line counts with bytes of gzip'ed code --
while the former certainly has its problems, I simply cannot imagine
what relevance the latter has (beyond hiding extreme amounts of
repetitive boilerplate in certain languages).

When we compete against Python and its ilk, we do so for programmer
productivity first, and performance second.  LOC was a nice measure,
and encouraged terser and more idiomatic programs than the current
crop of performance-tweaked low-level stuff.

BTW, Python isn't so bad, performance wise.  Much of what I do
consists of reading some files, building up some hashes (associative
arrays or finite maps, depending on where you come from :-), and
generating some output.  Python used to do pretty well here compared
to Haskell, with rather efficient hashes and text parsing, although I
suspect ByteString IO and other optimizations may have changed that

If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants

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