Winning the performance war 5% at a time

19 April 2006

A really fascinating piece by Rico Mariani on what to do when your program is still "too slow" but you've addressed all the obvious performance hotspots.

He makes the observation again that if you can make dramatic improvements in speed it's usually due to a major design flaw. If you spot this flaw and fix it you'll become a superhero, which is all fun and all, but hopefully if the program is well-designed these stupendous efficiency gains will be few and very far between.

I well remember one project in my previous job where my team and I were able to speed up a section of code so that it ran in half the time and took up half the memory to do so. This was one of those examples where there was a huge design problem whose eradication meant we were able to achieve these large efficiency gains. However, after that, our gains were much smaller and harder won.


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