Adding binary to the Haskell Platform

Simon Marlow marlowsd at
Wed Aug 5 05:05:30 EDT 2009

On 05/08/2009 08:44, Malcolm Wallace wrote:
>> Let's discuss, then have the steering committee recommend yay/nay.
> We should have _some_ kind of binary library in the Platform, but I
> don't know whether the proposed library is the right one.
> In a recent application, I found Data.Binary very slow, both to encode
> and to decode data. Decoding had stack-overflows, and when I increased
> the stack, it took about 20mins to read in an 8Mb file. When I then
> turned on optimisation with -O, the performance improved considerably
> (down to ~30secs to read the same file). This was using the standard
> instances of Binary for data structures like Data.Map. 30secs was still
> too slow, so we ended up needing to write our own improved instance for
> Data.Map. (Timings were similar with both ghc-6.8.3 and ghc-6.10.3.)

Ok, the way to proceed is to build a set of benchmarks.  I did some 
rough timings myself recently, and found that binary was roughly 
comparable to the Binary module in GHC, which as far as I know is fairly 
fast (though I know there are faster libraries out there).

I suspect we're all measuring different things.  Would someone like to 
work on benchmarking binary and identifying the weak points?


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