[Python-Dev] PEP 564: Add new time functions with nanosecond resolution

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Sat Oct 21 23:01:40 EDT 2017

On 22 October 2017 at 09:32, Victor Stinner <victor.stinner at gmail.com>

> Le 21 oct. 2017 20:31, "francismb" <francismb at email.de> a écrit :
> I understand that one can just multiply/divide the nanoseconds returned,
> (or it could be a factory) but wouldn't it help for future enhancements
> to reduce the number of functions (the 'pico' question)?
> If you are me to predict the future, I predict that CPU frequency will be
> stuck below 10 GHz for the next 10 years :-)

There are actually solid physical reasons for that prediction likely being
true. Aside from the power consumption, heat dissipation, and EM radiation
issues that arise with higher switching frequencies, you also start running
into more problems with digital circuit metastability ([1], [2]): the more
clock edges you have per second, the higher the chances of an asynchronous
input changing state at a bad time.

So yeah, for nanosecond resolution to not be good enough for programs
running in Python, we're going to be talking about some genuinely
fundamental changes in the nature of computing hardware, and it's currently
unclear if or how established programming languages will make that jump
(see [3] for a gentle introduction to the current state of practical
quantum computing). At that point, picoseconds vs nanoseconds is likely to
be the least of our conceptual modeling challenges :)


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metastability_in_electronics

Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia
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