dual processor

Jorgen Grahn jgrahn-nntq at algonet.se
Thu Sep 8 23:30:56 CEST 2005

On 06 Sep 2005 14:08:03 -0700, Paul Rubin <http> wrote:
> Jorgen Grahn <jgrahn-nntq at algonet.se> writes:
>> I feel the recent SMP hype (in general, and in Python) is a red herring. Why
>> do I need that extra performance? What application would use it?
> How many mhz does the computer you're using right now have?  When did
> you buy it?

I'm not a good example -- my fastest computer is a Mac Mini. Come to think
of it, last time I /really/ upgraded for CPU speed was when I bought my
Amiga 4000/030 in 1994 ;-)

My 200MHz Pentium feels a bit slow for some tasks, but most of the time I
cannot really tell the difference, and its lack of RAM and disk space is
much more limiting.

> Did you buy it to replace a slower one?  If yes, you must
> have wanted more performance.  Just about everyone wants more
> performance.  That's why mhz keeps going up and people keep buying
> faster and faster cpu's.

I'm not sure that is true, for most people. People keep buying faster CPUs
because the slower ones become unavailable!  How this works from an
economical and psychological point of view, I don't know.

> CPU makers seem to be running out of ways to increase mhz.  Their next
> avenue to increasing performance is SMP, so they're going to do that
> and people are going to buy those.  Just like other languages, Python
> makes perfectly good use of increasing mhz, so it keeps up with them.
> If the other languages also make good use of SMP and Python doesn't,
> Python will fall back into obscurity.

I don't believe that will ever happen. Either of them.

My CPU spends almost all its time running code written in C.  That code has
been written over the last thirty years under the assumption that if there
is SMP, it will be taken advantage of on the process level. I cannot imagine
anyone sitting down and rewriting all that code to take advantage of

Thus, I don't believe that SMP and SMP-like technologies will improve
performance for ordinary people. Or, if it will, it's because different
processes will run concurrently, not because applications become concurrent.
Except for some applications like image processing programs, which noone
would dream of implementing in Python anyway.

New, radical and exciting things don't happen in computing very often.


  // Jorgen Grahn <jgrahn@       Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu
\X/                algonet.se>   R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

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