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Is OCaml fast?
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Date: -- (:)
From: David Allsopp <dra-news@m...>
Subject: RE: [Caml-list] Re: Is OCaml fast?
Isaac Gouy wrote:
> David Allsopp <dra-news <at> metastack.com> writes:
> 
> -snip-
> > Reducing an entire programming language's strengths (or
> > weaknesses!) to a single number is just not really realistic - the
> > truth is more complex than one single-precision floating point 
> > number (or even an array of them) can describe. (NB. The shootout
> > doesn't claim that the final ranking displayed is anything other than
> > a score of how well the languages did
> > at the various benchmarks given - but a graph like that is easy to
> > interpret erroneously in that way)
> -snip-
> 
> That summary page
> 
> > > (http://shootout.alioth.debian.org/u32/which-programming-languages-a
> > > re-
> > > fastest.php)
> 
> shows box plots (quartiles, outliers, median) of the normalized timing
> measurements for each of the tasks, for each of the language
> implementations.
> 
> A graph like that shows some of those language implementations are very
> fast for some benchmark programs and very slow for others.

I'm not sure I disputed that anywhere, in fact I think if anything implicitly agreed with it...

> To characterize that as "reducing an entire programming language's
> strengths (or weaknesses!) to a single number" seems kind-of misleading.

I'm not clear how you extracted that from what I said which was that reducing a programming language to a single number (or three numbers, if you want bars) is not a good summary of the *total* strengths of that programming language. I then went on to stress that the combined results from the shootout don't claim to do that, they simply show an interpretation of the combined results from the different benchmarks.

My attempt at a point was that ranking programming languages (that's just "programming languages" not "execution speed of programming languages") is a largely futile activity, because it's just too subjective and hard to quantify in a rigorous manner, and importantly that the shootout doesn't try to do that. The relevance and value of that point to Thanassis' original question is for him to decide...

> Especially when the question that page answers is stated 3 times - "Which
> programming language implementations have the fastest benchmark programs?"

Which part of my statement "The shootout doesn't claim that the final ranking displayed is anything other than a score of how well the languages did at the various benchmarks given" (prefixed with the Latin abbreviation for "Note well") caused you to need to write this?


David