Blog Archives

Changes in optimization performance of gcc over time

September 16, 2012
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Changes in optimization performance of gcc over time

The SPEC benchmarks came out a year after the first release of gcc (in fact gcc was and still is one of the programs included in the benchmark). Compiling the SPEC programs using the gcc option -O2 (sometimes -O3) has always been the way to measure gcc performance, but after 25 years does this way

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Descriptive statistics of some Agile feature characteristics

September 2, 2012
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Descriptive statistics of some Agile feature characteristics

The purpose of software engineering research is to figure out how software development works so that the software industry can improve its quality/timeliness (i.e., lower costs and improved customer satisfaction). Research is hampered by the fact that companies are not usually willing to make public good quality data about the details of their software development

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My no loops in R hair shirt

July 27, 2012
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Being professional involved with analyzing source code I get to work with a much larger number of programming languages than most people. There is a huge difference between knowing the intricate details of the semantics of a language and being able to fluently program in a language like a native developer. There are languages whose

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Success does not require understanding

July 23, 2012
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I took part in the second Data Science London Hackathon last weekend (also my second hackathon) and it was a very different experience compared to the first hackathon. Once again Carlos and his team really looked after us. The data was released 24 hours before the competition started and even though I had spent less

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Impact of hardware characteristics on detectable fault behavior

June 29, 2012
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Impact of hardware characteristics on detectable fault behavior

Preface. This is the first of what I hope will be many posts analysing experimental data, that will eventually end up in my empirical software engineering with R book (this experiment was chosen because it happens to be the one I am currently working on; having just switched to using Asciidoc I have a backlog

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Background to my book project “Empirical Software Engineering with R”

June 21, 2012
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This post provides background information that can be referenced by future posts. For the last 18 months I have been working in fits and starts on a book that has the working title “Empirical Software Engineering with R”. The idea is to provide broad coverage of software engineering issues from an empirical perspective (i.e., the

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EU rules that computer languages cannot be copyrighted

May 2, 2012
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EU rules that computer languages cannot be copyrighted

The European Court of Justice has published its decision in SAS v WPL; the title of the press release says it all “The functionality of a computer program and the programming language cannot be protected by copyright”. To summarise the background, World Programming Ltd developed a system that was capable of emulating the input/output behavior

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Incompetence borne of excessive cleverness

April 29, 2012
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I have just got back from the 24 hour Data Science Global Hackathon; I was an on-site participant at Hub Westminster in London (thanks to Carlos and his team for doing such a great job looking after us all {around 50 turned up from the 100 who registered; the percentage was similar in other cities

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An academic programming language paper about R

April 27, 2012
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An academic programming language paper about R

The R language has passed another milestone, a paper aimed at the academic programming language community (or at least one section of this community) has been written about it, Evaluating the Design of the R Language by Morandat, Hill, Osvald and Vitek. Hardly earth shattering news, but it may have some impact on how R

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Go faster R for Google’s summer of code 2012

March 28, 2012
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The R Foundation has been accepted for Google’s summer of code and I thought I would suggest a few ideas for projects. My interests are in optimization and source code analysis, so obviously the suggestions involve these topics. There are an infinite number of possible optimizations that can be applied to code (well, at least

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