Beating the Compiler

Posted Sat 28 February 2015 14:33 under category programming

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. Yet we should not pass up our opportunities in that critical 3%.

— Donald Knuth

Measure. Don't tune for speed until you've measured, and even then don't unless one part of the code overwhelms the rest.

— Rob Pike

We spend a lot of our time in the modern, web services-driven technology industry ignoring performance issues. What's the point of micro-optimizing a 3ms function call when each request spends 8 or 9 seconds inside the SQLAlchemy ORM? Well, sometimes it's nice to practice those optimizion skills anyway, and today I'm going to walk you through micro-optimizing a simple problem and we'll see just how much better we can do than a naive solution... even though we probably normally shouldn't.

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