Why I love Python: More rambling...

Bryan belred1 at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 2 05:07:31 CET 2003

> Data point (real world, from a few weeks ago): after spending ~2 weeks (spread
> over a month) writing about 1400 lines of C++, debugging a nasty coredump, and
> pounding the documentation, I had my 'fast' extension module finished for some
> numerical work.  Great, sweaty and exhausted but all proud of myself, I turn
> my attention to the problem of writing a unittest.  I decided to write it in
> python, since I figured it would be easier, and an independent implementation
> of the algorithm (simple one) should suffice, if tested with enough random
> data.
> Python code: 15 lines (no, it's NOT a typo: fifteen).  Time to write it: 10
> minutes.
> The sad part (to my ego, at least:)?  The python runs faster!  The C++ version
> is now in the dustbin.  At least I learned a bunch about the STL and
> templates.  The consolation...
> Cheers,
> f.
> ps for those thinking: you must be an idiot of a C++ programmer. That may well
> be true.  But still, there are reasons for the difference.  The C++ version
> uses a heavily templated library for handling multidimensional arrays with a
> bearable syntax, and g++ isn't the best compiler out there for that kind of
> code.  The python version relies on Numeric.innerproduct(), which is very well
> optimized, and tackles head-on the problem I was avoiding with the templates,
> namely very annoying pointer manipulations for multidimensional tensors.  The
> Numeric guys got their hands dirty, did it once RIGHT, and it works extremely
> well.

i don't think this is an apples-to-apples comparison.  in c++ you wrote everything yourself.  in python, you used the 
numeric package which someone else wrote.  i'm interested in knowing _why_ you chose to write it yourself in c++. and 
_why_ you didn't try to write it yourself in python, but instead chose to use an already written library.  i just did a 
google search for "open source c++ numeric" and got several hits.  i'm not putting you down in any way. i'm just 
interested in knowing why you made these different decisions for each language.


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