The conclusion of this lengthy and interesting thread is obvious: the 
original claim, "For performance, write it in C", has been convincingly 
debunked.

Along with all the other conventional wisdom about premature 
optimization and profiling and 80/20 points, we have seen it 
demonstrated that several other languages, of many different types, can 
come so close to C's performance that it's difficult to measure the 
difference.

The *real* lesson is: Achieving good performance is hard; it requires 
analysis and experimentation, and any simple prescription (e.g. "Use 
programming language X") is dangerously misleading.

And finally: In the real world, the only benchmark that matters is your 
application.

   -Tim