Linked by Christopher W. Cowell-Shah on Thu 8th Jan 2004 19:33 UTC
General Development This article discusses a small-scale benchmark test run on nine modern computer languages or variants: Java 1.3.1, Java 1.4.2, C compiled with gcc 3.3.1, Python 2.3.2, Python compiled with Psyco 1.1.1, and the four languages supported by Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET 2003 development environment: Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, and Visual J#. The benchmark tests arithmetic and trigonometric functions using a variety of data types, and also tests simple file I/O. All tests took place on a Pentium 4-based computer running Windows XP. Update: Delphi version of the benchmark here.
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Trig tests
by Rich Gibbs on Thu 8th Jan 2004 23:06 UTC

I think there are a couple of issues surrounding the trig tests in the benchmark.

The first is obvious: all of the computational "heavy lifting" is being done by the run-time library. Performance differences in the code you actually wrote are likely to be unimportant.

The second is that results like this are almost meaningless unless they are accompanied by some measure of the accuracy of the result. Without going into the gory details, functions like sine and cosine are typically calculated from power series approximations. Taking fewer terms is faster, but less accurate. For example, I can write a very fast C routine to approximate the value of pi:

double pi() {
return 3.0 ;

The result is correct to one significant figure, after all. ;-)

(Numerical accuracy is not just a theoretical concern. Early versions of Lotus 1-2-3 implemented calculation of standard deviation wrong, and consequently got the wrong answer for the set of numbers {999999, 1000000, 1000001}.)