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Re: ICFP'00 programming contest
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Date: 2000-09-06 (21:02)
From: ortmann@u...
Subject: Re: ICFP'00 programming contest

Last year one of IBM's simulator developers discovered that a Fortran
of the simulator was faster because the generated code happened to fit well
into the processor code/data cache.  The performance difference was


Daniel Ortmann, IBM Circuit Technology, Rochester, MN 55901-7829 / internal 8.553.6795 / external 507.253.6795 home 507.288.7732

"The answers are so simple, and we all know where to look,
but it's easier just to avoid the question." -- Kansas

John Max Skaller <> on 09/06/2000 12:21:54 AM

To:   Xavier Leroy <>
Subject:  Re: ICFP'00 programming contest

Xavier Leroy wrote:

> Good idea.  I added some timings to the Web page above.  Not being
> familiar with the state of the art in ray tracing, we have no idea if
> these are good or bad timings.  But from examination of the code
> produced by ocamlopt, I can say that those floating-point
> optimizations finally paid off...

It would be interesting to see how good ocaml is now with FP.
I believe Fortran is king, with C being roughly 50% slower.
If ocaml were 100% slower than Fortran, it would be a significant
achievement: many numerical people are looking for better
_structured_ programs than one can get with Fortran and will pay
with some loss of performance: C++ has been used by many for this
reason. But much numerical programming is 'conceptually functional'
with some crucial optimisations to objects, which would make
ocaml a far better choice if it can achieve reasonable performance.

I'm not a numerical programmer, but I have considerable 'sympathy'
for that art form, so I'd like to thank the ocaml team for the
hard work of tuning ocaml to make it suitable for numerical
programming use. Thanks!

John (Max) Skaller,
10/1 Toxteth Rd Glebe NSW 2037 Australia voice: 61-2-9660-0850
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