Performance of LispZeroGo vs LispZero (C) 150 150 craig

Performance of LispZeroGo vs LispZero (C)

Over the past several weeks, I turned my attention to assessing the performance of various Lisp implementations, focusing on suitability for short scripts, launched as processes, very frequently as is consistent with the traditional Unix model and exploited by messaging systems such as qmail.

Here are some interesting results on the use of Go, versus C, as an implementation language for a Lisp interpreter (Clojure in particular, though that’s not involved in these results):

tl;dr: Go is. Really, really fast, at least on this simple code and its few tests. It’s certainly not enough slower than C to justify implementing a Lisp interpreter in C, especially when there’s already a decent, albeit young, Clojure interpreter written in Go.

There’s plenty to be said (and has already been said) about Go versus C. I found debugging Go code to be challenging, as the use of GDB was discouraged, and Delve does not meet my requirements for easily debugging such low-level code. But the packaging system (the go tool) is fairly well-thought-out, easy to come up to speed on, and surprisingly free of warts.

Great job, Go people!


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