Thue-Morse and performance: Squeak v.s. Strongtalk v.s. VisualWorks

Andreas Raab andreas.raab at
Sun Dec 17 10:52:36 UTC 2006

Klaus D. Witzel wrote:
> I'm disappointed, Strongtalk was always advertised as being the fastest 
> Smalltalk available "...executes Smalltalk much faster than any other 
> Smalltalk implementation...", and now it shows to be in almost the same 
> class as Squeak is :) :(
> Can somebody reproduce the figures, any other results? Have I done 
> something wrong?

Yes. First, you are equating the result of a single micro-benchmark with 
overall system performance. Micro-benchmarks are used to measure 
specific aspects of a particular implementation. Your benchmark measures 
highly polymorphic send performance. Which is not typical for Smalltalk 
code to begin with.

In other words, your claim is based on measuring a single atypical 
performance characteristic. This has *nothing* to do with "Smalltalk 
performance". If you want to measure "Smalltalk performance" you should 
run a number of the standard benchmarks (Richards, Slopstone) that come 
with Strongtalk and compare those.

Quite honestly, I'm surprised to see a person like you who obviously 
understands enough about dynamic systems to measure PIC effects to make 
such unsubstantiated claims. I would expect that you know how to 
evaluate the results of a micro-benchmarks, and I would in particular 
expect that you know that 80-90% of all call-sites in realistic code are 
mono-morphic to begin with which render your benchmark results 
absolutely useless for "Smalltalk code".

   - Andreas

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