[off-topic] Pessimal (was: Detecting changes to a dict)

John Posner jjposner at optimum.net
Mon Sep 28 15:53:10 CEST 2009

> If you can enumerate the language of possible inputs you could
> generate a unique binary representation. Against a language of size
> l that would only take you O(l*n) to build the repr for a dict
> and for certain repr sizes the comparison could be O(1), making
> the entire operation O(l*n+l*m) vs O(n*m).
Geremy, I can't comment on the *content* of your observation on 
performance, but ...

This sentence reminds me of the mid-1980s, when I was learning C in 
order to program the very first font cartridge for the HP LaserJet 
printer. The escape sequences seemed to consist entirely of ones and 
small ells and zeros and capital ohs -- apparently designed for maximal 
confusion. Was it around that time that the word "pessimal" was coined?


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