Monday, August 4, 2014

Programming Languages for Big Data, Part 3

And now, one more word on the subject of R's speed. At my prodding, Tommy Jones contacted the authors of the study on programming language speed, and a productive discussion ensued. It turns out that the task in question was one that couldn't be vectorized, which means that R's main strength couldn't be applied in this case. However, it was possible to speed it up by writing C++ functions in R using Rcpp. The authors tried this, and revised their paper, reporting that, using Rcpp, R performed the task only 4-5 times slower than C++. For details, see Tommy's blog post, and the revised paper.

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