Re: Program Translation - Nov. 14, 2013

Discussion in 'Perl Misc' started by Roy Smith, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Roy Smith

    Roy Smith Guest

    In article <>,
    Henry Law <> wrote:

    > On 17/11/13 14:37, E.D.G. wrote:
    > > All of my own important programs are written using Perl. I am starting
    > > to run into calculation speed limitations with one of the programs.

    > Your Perl code is, er, sub-optimal. There is absolutely no point in
    > doing benchmarks until you've improved the code.

    Having spent many years in science (molecular biology), I disagree with
    this sentiment.

    Scientists view computer programs as tools, no different from any other
    piece of lab equipment or instrumentation they use. When picking a tool
    to use, it's perfectly reasonable to evaluate what performance you can
    get out of that without having to be an expert in its use. If I'm using
    a spectrophotometer, there may be many things that instrument is capable
    of doing, but as long as I'm getting the data I need from it, it's
    serving my purpose. My goal is to do science, not to be an expert on
    optics, or electronics, or data processing.

    The same goes for programming languages. Most programs I've seen
    written by scientists are horrible from a computer science point of
    view, but they serve their purpose. A language which makes is easy for
    a non-(computer)-expert to write decent programs is a good tool.

    To get back to the original point, let's say I (as a computer expert) am
    comparing two programming languages, L1 and L2. If I write a fully
    optimized program in L1 and a piece of crap in L2, then try to say, "L1
    is better than L2", that's a poor comparison. Until I've optimized my
    L2 code, it is, as Henry says, pointless to try to compare them.

    But, for a non-expert, it may be that while L2 is capable of computing a
    solution in less time than L1, it takes a lot of expert knowledge to get
    the L2 program to that state. For the limited amount of programming
    expertise and time available, L1 may actually be better for this use
    Roy Smith, Nov 17, 2013
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  2. Tim Prince

    Tim Prince Guest

    On 11/17/2013 8:25 AM, E.D.G. wrote:
    > "Roy Smith" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Scientists view computer programs as tools, no different from any other

    > I agree totally. There are many scientists who learn how to
    > write programs to help with their scientific work. I doubt that there
    > are too many programmers who go out and get an additional degree in
    > biology, chemistry, or physics to help with their programming work. And
    > there appears to me to often be a gap between how people in the two
    > different worlds go about getting things done.
    > Since this program translation will be done by someone who
    > actually wrote program code for a living it will at least actually look
    > like a program when it is finished. There will be indentation etc.

    Perhaps you would start with an automatic indentation tool before
    translating. You may have a rule against using current syntax and
    indentation for Fortran, but others don't.

    Tim Prince
    Tim Prince, Nov 17, 2013
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