Python future performance and speed

Tim Churches tchur at optushome.com.au
Sun Aug 22 06:49:05 CEST 2004


On Sun, 2004-08-22 at 13:59, Paul Rubin wrote:
> aahz at pythoncraft.com (Aahz) writes:
> > >It seems there are quite a few projects aimed to improve Python's
> > >speed and, therefore, eliminate its main limitation for mainstream
> > >acceptance.
> > 
> > What makes you think speed is Python's primary limitation for mainstream
> > acceptance?
> 
> Well, whenever I want to write a mainstream application and think of
> using Python, my first reaction is that Python is too slow...

As a population health epidemiologist whose stock-in-trade is
manipulation and analysis of large health data sets, I have to say that
Python's run-time speed is almost always much faster than I would have
expected from such a dynamic language, but also almost always much
slower than I would like, especially when compared to widely-used (but
vastly expensive and sprawling) data manipulation environments such as
SAS system (see http://www.sas.com) which is the "industry standard" in
my particular field. However the speed of programme creation with Python
is, in general, outstandingly swift, making it the environment of choice
for one-off tasks. But for routinely-executed jobs which process large
amounts of data, especially for jobs which can't be scheduled to run
overnight, Python is much slower than I would like. Numpy is a godsend
in situations in which it can be used, Psyco helps a lot, I am rapidly
warming to Pyrex (if you'll pardon the pun), and I can't wait to try out
Starkiller. But don't get me wrong: I love Python (which my better half
refers to as "ang babaeng ahas" - the "snake woman" - who has firmly
stolen my affections, or punningly, as "ang asawang sawa" - literally
the "python spouse" but with connotations of "the clinging consort" -
and I was recently much amused when a colleague revealed that she
seriously, albeit momentarily, thought that her object-oriented,
dynamic-language-phile programmer husband was having a torrid
extra-marital affair when she discovered hundreds of email in his in-box
referring to someone called Ruby).
-- 

Tim C

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