Proebsting's Law

Simon Wistow simon at
Wed Dec 14 13:10:39 GMT 2005

On Wed, Dec 14, 2005 at 11:35:33AM +0000, James Davis said:
> No it won't. Think about it. If gcc with all optimizations off does more
> optimizations than say an 35 year old compiler but he's expecting them
> to behave identically it will *weaken* the case for compilers.

You are of course, right. But I'll think we'll have to agree to disagree
on the amount of optimisation between a naive, 40 year old compiler and
and a naive modern compiler. I certainly don't think it's enough to skew
the results significantly.

Put it this way - since Moore's law has doubled computing power
9roughly) every 18 months (or roughly a million times in 30 years) that
means the speed up between a a naive 35 year old compiler and gcc with
no optimisations would need to be 250,000 fold (if I'm doing my maths
right, I'm probably not) to make a significant difference.

How much optimisation can you do to the basic compiler cycle. Have there 
been amazing new innovations in Tokenising?

> I know compilers go back even further than 35 years ago, that was my
> point. Why pick 35 years? 

Because, according to the 
A0 compiler was written in 1952 and this law was first posited in 


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