simon at thegestalt.org
Tue Dec 13 17:27:44 GMT 2005
Proebsting's Law states
"Compiler Advances Double Computing Power Every 18 Years"
I claim the following simple experiment supports this depressing claim.
Run your favorite set of benchmarks with your favorite state-of-the-art
optimizing compiler. Run the benchmarks both with and without
optimizations enabled. The ratio of of those numbers represents the
entirety of the contribution of compiler optimizations to speeding up
those benchmarks. Let's assume that this ratio is about 4X for typical
real-world applications, and let's further assume that compiler
optimization work has been going on for about 36 years. These
assumptions lead to the conclusion that compiler optimization advances
double computing power every 18 years. QED.
This means that while hardware computing horsepower increases at roughly
60%/year, compiler optimizations contribute only 4%. Basically, compiler
optimization work makes only marginal contributions.
Perhaps this means Programming Language Research should be concentrating
on something other than optimizations. Perhaps programmer productivity
is a more fruitful arena.
it's the last line that interests me.
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