Side by side comparison - CPython, nuitka, PyPy

Anthony Flury anthony.flury at
Fri Dec 21 03:06:23 EST 2018

I thought I would look at a side by side comparison of CPython, nuitka 
and PyPy

*The functionality under test**

I have a library (called primelib) which implements a Sieve of 
Erathoneses in pure Python - it was orginally written as part of my 
project Euler attempts

Not only does it build a sieve to test primality, it also builds an 
iterable list of primes, and has functionality to calculate the prime 
factors (and exponents) and also calculate all divisors of a given 
integer (up to the size of the sieve).

To test the primelib there is a simple harness which :

  * Builds a sieve for integers from 2 to 104729 (104729 is the 10,000th
    prime number)
  * Using a pre-built list from -
      o For every integer from 2 to 104729 the prime sieve and pre-built
        list agree on the primality or non-primality
      o confirm that the list of ALL primes identified by the sieve is
        the same as the pre-built list.
      o For every integer from 2 to 104729, get primelib to generate the
        prime factors and exponents - and comfirm that they multiply up
        to the expected integer
      o For every integer from 2 to 104729 get primelib to generate the
        divisors on the integer, and confirm that each divisor does
        divide cleanly into the integer

The Sieve is rebuilt between each test, there is no caching of data 
between test cases, so the test harness forces a lot of recalculations.

I have yet to convert primelib to be Python 3 compatible.

Exactly the same test harness was run in all 3 cases :

  * Under CPython 2.7.15, the execution of the test harness took around
    75 seconds to execute over 5 runs - fastest 73, slowest 78.
  * Under Nuitka 0.6, the execution of the test harness after compiler
    took around 85 seconds over 5 runes, fastest 84, slowest 86.
  * Under PyPy, the execution of the test harness took 4.9 seconds on
    average over 5 runs, fastest 4.79, slowest 5.2

I was very impressed at the execution time improvement under PyPy, and a 
little surprised about the lack of improvement under Nuitka.

I know Nuitka is a work in progress, but given that Nuitka compiles 
Python to C code I would have expected some level of gain, especially in 
a maths heavy implementation.

This comparison is provided for information only, and is not intended as 
any form of formal benchmark. I don't claim that primelib is as 
efficient as it could be - although every effort was made to try to make 
it as fast as I could.

Anthony Flury
*Email* : anthony.flury at <mailto:Anthony.flury at>
*Twitter* : @TonyFlury <>

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