On Fri, Aug 23, 2002 at 01:10:47AM +0900, Gavin Sinclair wrote:
> 
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dan Sugalski" <dan / sidhe.org>
> >
> > Fortran: Yeah, it's older than you are, but it still can't be beat for speed.
> 
> Can I ask why?  People say it all the time, but I point-blank refuse to believe
> that it is faster than optimised C.  They're the same bloody thing, aren't
> they? - low-level procedural languages.  My knowledge of Fortran is small, but
> of course everyone knows it's used for scientific calculations, so it may have
> the edge in numerical calculations (infinite precision, ...) but can't you get
> a C library that equals it?  If not, why not.  It's all machine language in the
> end, and not sufficiently far from that to begin with for me to believe that
> the two should be any different.

When you start comparing language speeds, you really need to add some
context - which platform, compiler, etc.  Fortran for science, math,
or engineering applications on supercomputer platforms as well as PC
platforms with the right compiler, is typically faster than C given
the same developer input time. 

As far as I've been able to gather, one of the factors in this is that
C exposes certain features to the developer that Fortran doesn't - e.g
pointers. This allowed the compiler writers to use a class of
optimizations which can be more globally applied to programs written
in Fortran. It also makes it easier to automatically parallelize (is
that a word?) than C. But that's just my conclusions as a non-compiler
writer in either Fortran or C.

- alan

-- 
Alan Chen
Digikata LLC
http://digikata.com