"Strong typing vs. strong testing"

BartC bc at freeuk.com
Fri Oct 1 22:47:02 CEST 2010

"Pascal J. Bourguignon" <pjb at informatimago.com> wrote in message 
news:87sk0qkzhz.fsf at kuiper.lan.informatimago.com...

> Nothing extraordinary here.  Common Lisp is more efficient than C.
> http://www.lrde.epita.fr/~didier/research/verna.06.ecoop.pdf
> http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1144168
> Actually, it's hard to find a language that has no compiler generating
> faster code than C...

I had a quick look at Lisp to see if your claims had any basis. I tried this 

(defun fib (n)
   (if (< n 2)
       (+ n (fib (- n 1)) (fib (- n 2)) )

But it gave the wrong results and it took ages to figure out why. Even after 
downloading a working version for comparison, it's was difficult to spot the 
extraneous 'n' (I think I was concentrating on getting the round brackets 
all in the right places).

I thought you were saying that Lisp (and dynamic typing in general) was 
better for pointing out errors? The above error in C would have been picked 
up more easily I think (due to less parentheses clutter, and more obvious 
separators between terms).

As for speed, executing fib(38) took about 60 seconds on my machine (gnu 
clisp with no switches set). (Compared with 3.5 seconds, for my own 
interpreted, dynamic language, and 0.6 seconds for C.)


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