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Benchmarking Implementations of Functional Languages with ``Pseudoknot'', a Float-Intensive Benchmark

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  • Biology


Over 25 implementations of different functional languages are benchmarked using the same program, a floatingpoint intensive application taken from molecular biology. The principal aspects studied are compile time and execution time for the various implementations that were benchmarked. An important consideration is how the program can be modified and tuned to obtain maximal performance on each language implementation. With few exceptions, the compilers take a significant amount of time to compile this program, though most compilers were faster than the then current GNU C compiler (GCC version 2.5.8). Compilers that generate C or Lisp are often slower than those that generate native code directly: the cost of compiling the intermediate form is normally a large fraction of the total compilation time. There is no clear distinction between the runtime performance of eager and lazy implementations when appropriate annotations are used: lazy implementations have clearly come of age when it comes to implementing largely strict applications, such as the Pseudoknot program. The speed of C can be approached by some implemtations, but to achieve this performance, special measures such as strictness annotations are required by non-strict implementations. The benchmark results have to be interpreted with care. Firstly, a benchmark based on a single program cannot cover a wide spectrum of 'typical' applications.j Secondly, the compilers vary in the kind and level of optimisations offered, so the effort required to obtain an optimal version of the program is similarly varied.

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