Re: Why are intepreters so slow today

Seth Breidbart (
17 Apr 1994 23:34:12 -0400

In article <>, John Nagle <> wrote:
> Lately, I've been looking at interpreters suitable for use as
>extension languages in a control application. I need something that
>can do computation reasonably fast, say no worse than 1/10 of the
>speed of compiled C code. Interpreters have been written in that speed
>range quite often in the past. But when I try a few of the interpreters
>available on the Mac, performance is terrible.
> My basic test is to run something equivalent to
> int i; double x = 0.0;
> for (i = 0; i < 1000000; i++) x = x + 1.0;
>The Smalltalk and Python versions are slower than the C version by factors
>of greater than 1000. This is excessive. LISP interpreters do a bit
>better, but still don't reach 1/10 of C. What interpreters do a decent
>job on computation?

Have you tried APL? I don't have a mac, but an equivalent expression
(using APL properly, +/1000000 .rho 1.0 ) should run at least as fast
as compiled C.