The lost art (Was: The VAX is running

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Tue Apr 7 23:31:28 CDT 2009

On 7 Apr 2009 at 20:25, Richard wrote:

> There's an in-depth understanding and then there's wasting time
> learning details that don't matter.  Where the line is drawn depends
> on the task at hand and the needs driving the software.  There are
> times where "slow and simple" is the design win, not "I understand
> what every bit of my 400 MB executable is doing!". 

No, but there's a line at "I'm a (C++, Java,  name-your-poison))  
programmer. "I don't care about the machine architecture or 
instruction set because the compiler handles all that for me.  If the 
code doesn't run fast enough, I tell the client to get a faster 

Sometimes there is no faster machine.  I remember working on a 
proposal back in the dark ages (we didn't get the contract)  for 
ECMWF (European Medium Range Weather Forecasts) and chatting with one 
of the customer's technical people. His statement "Your system is 
very nice, but we could really use something about a thousand times 
faster" really hit me.

Of course, that was when 100 MFlop was very fast, not something you'd 
find on a slow GPU.


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