Re: Why are intepreters so slow today

Graham Matthews (
Wed, 20 Apr 1994 11:16:04 GMT

John E. Davis ( wrote:
> I think that you are being *far* too optimistic about the speed of an
> interpreter. Interpreters implement all sorts of run time type checking and
> range checking that compilers do not. In addition, a good interpreter will
> implement some form of garbage collection so that one does not have to worry
> about memory allocation. All of this takes up tremendous overhead.

I think you are being far to pessimistic about the speed of interpreters.
Some interpreters do all the checks you talk about. But good quality
implementations do a lot of compile time work (like type inferencing) to
"move" all these checks from run time to compile time.


         I would gladly die for a man who was looking for the 
        truth, but would just as gladly kill a man who thought 
                he had actually found it -- Voltaire