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Python speed

People are often worried about the speed of their Python programs; doesn't using Python mean an unacceptable loss in performance? Some people just jump to the conclusion that "hey, it's an interpreted scripting language, and those all run very slow!" Other people have actually tried Python and have found it performs well enough. Sometimes, though, you have a program that just runs too slowly.

Why is raw speed important? Or isn't it?

Some people are inappropriately obsessed with speed and think that just because C can provide better performance for certain types of problem, it must therefore be a better language for all purposes. Other people think that speed of development is far more important, and choose Python even for those applications where it will run slower. Often, they are surprised to find Python code can run at quite acceptable speeds, and in some cases even faster than what they could get from C/C++ with a similar amount of development time invested.

Usually it is not the absolute speed that is important, you should think about what would be an acceptable speed of execution. Optimisations beyond achieving this acceptable speed are wasteful of resources (usually: your time. And thus: money.).

Techniques for Improving Performance and Scalability

Here are some coding guidelines for applications that demand peak performance (in terms of memory utilization, speed, or scalability).

Use the best algorithms and fastest tools

Take advantage of interpreter optimizations

Take advantage of diagnostic tools

Performance can dictate overall strategy

Consider external tools for enhancing performance

More Performance Tips

More performance tips and examples can be found at PythonSpeed/PerformanceTips.


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