Java IoT Authors: David Paquette, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Reader Feedback Special: Java vs C++ Benchmark Brouhaha

Reader Feedback Special: Java vs C++ Benchmark Brouhaha

  • Java vs C++ "Shootout" Revisited
  • Read/Join the Feedback to the original article 

    On Monday we published an article about Keith Lea's one-man attempt to take the benchmark code for C++ and Java from the now outdated Great Computer Language Shootout conducted by Doug Bagley in Fall 2001 and run the tests himself. Within 12 hours 40,000 people had read the piece and by the end of the day Bagley's "Shootout" had even been revived as an ongoing Debian Alioth project.

    But while the team behind that project cheerfully says on its Web site "Contributions are welcomed for revised implementations, bug fixes, or ideas for new benchmarks," not everyone agrees with this kind of activity.

    When Bagley did the original shootout, he said it was "To learn and to have fun," adding that he would continue continue "as long as the fun holds out." This notion of enjoyment has been revived by the Debian Alioth update: 

    "The project goals have not changed substantially since Doug's original project. This work is continuing so that we all can learn about new languages, compare them in various (possibly meaningless) ways, and most importantly, have some fun!"
    But many of those who troubled to record their views in the course of the past few days did not recognize benchmarking/microbenchmarking as anything worth doing at all.

    Some took issue with Lea's choice of performance speed as the parameter to compare Java and C++. One, Lachlan Stuart, wrote:

    "What you must realize is that C++ and Java have much different targets, it's rare that you will encounter a situation where both are equally suitable. No matter what, unless you forget to turn debug compile off, C++ will beat Java in real world situations on the performance front..."

    "Try praising something else about Java...like its security, or ease of programming," Stuart continued.

    GooberToo concurred. "The more I read the code, it sure is starting to look more and more like an apples and oranges comparison; which is usually what happens when people do Java benchmarks." And Iain too was unhappy: "Aside from perhaps demonstrating that you know Java far better than you know C++, I don't think these tests were a particularly useful exercise."

    Others too felt that Lea's relative unfamiliarity with C++ compromised the exercise. "This article is completely useless and only shows the lack of understanding of C++ by the author," wrote Dr Valentin Samko. "This reminds me of a person who clamed that qbasic is faster than C++ because his program which outputs a few million blank lines works faster in qbasic than in C++."

    Glen Low queried the shootout's methodology on a number of counts. Here is one:

    "The small size of the programs are a definite advantage for Java's runtime optimizer. A run-time optimizer can't spend forever optimizing, but it has access to actual run-time data, AND can specialize its optimization for the specific processor. (G++, and most other C++ compilers, have flags to allow this as well.) Given the small size, a complete analysis of the program is possible in the limited time available, and given the other additional data, I would find it rather worrisome if Java didn't do better. I'm more sceptical with regards to real programs, however. If there really is one small critical loop, Java should win; that's not the case for most of my programs, however."
    Scott Ellsworth disagreed with those who dismissed Lea's shootout, though. "The point is that many C++ users feel that Java is too slow and uses too much memory. Microbenchmarks like this show that this off the cuff response is as silly as claiming that exceptions cost too much just because cfront compilers had that cost," he wrote. 

    Ellsworth continued:

    "I spent seven years doing C++ in a shrink wrap environment, and five doing Java. In my experience with real world apps, Java code gets done faster, works better out of the box, and is easier to maintain. Tricks like custom memory allocators and carefully crafted templates can make faster C++ code, but I reserve those for time critical parts of the program. Where I do not spend some programmer cycles profiling and optimizing, the two environments are pretty close.

    Thus - if Java is producing code reasonably close or ahead in fairly straightforward usage, and the code gets written faster and more portably, then Java is a win for my work. I can always choose to use C++, assembly, or FORTRAN for the time critical routines, and then link in."
    Patrik Beno issued a challenge. "I suggest that now it's time for C++ experts to optimize C++ code and compilation, run the very same tests again and post the results."

    "Don't blame Lea, he did his best, now it's your turn, C++ experts," he added.

    Perhaps SWagner would be someone who will rise to the challenge in due course. S/he wasn't at all happy with Lea, writing:

    "As an experienced C++ developer (and Java as well) I only see that the C++ code is optimized for minimum performance. Especially the methodcall where the class has virtual constructors or destructors which is seldom useful and significantly hurts performance. Just because you can't turn this off in Java does not mean that you have to make it slow in C++."
    "In my practical experience," continued Wagner, "normal Java code is 1000 times slower [compared] to OPTIMIZED C++. However if you make severe design flaws you can make any program slow. And if you base on a bad benchmark and make it even worse you should better stop any benchmarking you planned for the future."

    Somewhat less disgruntled was m, who wrote: "The benchmarks are interesting, but frankly with real applications, I have never experienced Java performance equal to or better than that of C++."

    "I have done a number of home-grown benchmarks for XML parsing, and C/C++ (think expat) are 3-9 times faster," m continued. "The difference there is that the server JVM does indeed optimize over a series of many runs. Java certainly allows us to develop faster, and quite often time to market performance is more important than the performance differences in these two (great in my opinion) platforms. They each have specific advantages."

    This, not surprisingly, was the essence of quite a few of the comments. "Java is faster for some applications than C++, and for others C++ is faster. It depends on what you want to do with it," said RebelCool

    But Iain's objection was to the choice of tools to compare, to the entire premise of the shootout in other words: 
    "The comparison [Lea is] trying to make between C++ and Java is not particularly meaningful. At the end of the day, if a VM is faster, then there is nothing to stop you implementing a VM in C++ and running the 'C++ program' within that framework. What times would then be valid? The tools you are comparing are very different.
    In addition, the C++ code is seriously sub-optimal. To take one example, the 'matrix.cpp' is definitely not written for speed. A general purpose C function is being used to repeatedly allocate rows, when a single large block of size 'mn' could have been used. For that matter, why is malloc( ) being used at all? (A custom memory manager optimised for small blocks could have been used instead - malloc( ) is slow.)

    If you insist on writing simple C, then at least use memset( ) for the zeromatrix( ) function. Fast template matrix libraries exist for C++ - these could have been used instead - the result would have been shorter, clearer and considerably faster. Aside from perhaps demonstrating that you know Java far better than you know C++, I don't think these tests were a particularly useful exercise."

    NotZed disagreed with the premise too, writing: "Java works well as a COBOL replacement, a backend application language for boring buisiness apps. That's what it should be benchmarked against. Comparing it to C is like comparing apples and oranges."

    Chris countered: "Surely the benchmark is no less meaningful than when it was originally used to show C++ was faster than Java."  

    And Christopher White commented:

    "Thanks for the comparison Keith. I enjoyed reading your commentary.

    Many people have stated in response to this article that Java, as everyone knows, is slow... This is certainly not the case. I am team leader of a Java development team. We have six applications in production on a certain open source application server. We have 1200 users of these applications. The applications are load-balanced over two machines (each machine : HP DL380 2*2.8GHz 2Gb RAM). We have on average 2% Cpu utilisation. Whilst this is of course just a subjective view of Java performance, I can say that we certainly do not have the impression that Java is at all slow.

    I accept that for memory deallocation C++ can be tailored to the needs of the application at hand so it will be difficult to beat on this score, however one must remember that the just in time compiler compiles code into native machine language and that this compiler is very much optimized on a per platform basis so I don't see why C++ should produce naturally faster compiled code.

    Whichever is faster, Java is easily fast enough for most applications and I strongly believe that the overhead in development time incurred by using C++ is rarely justified except in specialized applications such as driver or game coding."

    For the moment let's give the last word to SB:

    "Java and C++ are different languages, with different advantages/drawbacks, and different philosophies. My experience, from a large company that produces tons of software, is that performance always comes down to the quality of the developers, not the language itself. And we also found out that in today's world, most developers are only average, and this class of developers yields better results with Java than C++."
    The debate, as they say, will doubtless continue...

  • More Stories By Java News Desk

    JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

    Comments (3) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

    Most Recent Comments
    icube 06/29/04 05:47:18 AM EDT

    shootout has a great interest but not between C++ and java but between ocaml and java .... :-))))
    java .net .... are marketing tools they all lay on their
    own performance ... only OCAML can be put in a nuclear plant (see the java license ;-) ! why ? no compromise ... with complexity and strenght ... strongly typed when java start at jdk 1.5 ( ~ with 20 years) but with bad ;-) tools many people can do business ... write books .... java performance tuning (a good book also for java world!) and provide services ... version of jVm etc ... java and .net are arifacts of the object marketing big bazard ...
    put the programmers community attention on OCAML and let programmers discover concepts and features, performance of vm ;-),let them, develop OCaml stack and one again check performance with J2EE or .NET ? ;-) who wins ?
    In shootout performance, OCAML is closer to C++ and C, overall winner of minimal line of code ... , platform independant.
    Why Microsoft R&D investigate on F# an OCAML sub language for its CLR layer ;-) and why OCAML is the best programming languge of MIT and INRIA(French R&D) teams ?

    be aware & wake up !!!
    by a java tuning specialist ... ocamly converted @;-)
    (ps: new strategic anti-pattern :
    "strongly type client" : If you are a client for a j2ee or .net application asks your computing service contractor to give you a proof of program in your new brillant and with 6 zero contract, it will be a little bit disappointed ... in this case if you are the contractor check for OCAML ;-)

    microbenchmarks 06/21/04 06:47:50 AM EDT

    Doug Bagley''s original Great Computer Language Shootout was a neat idea: a collection of little benchmarks written in several dozen languages for the purposes of comparing speed, memory usage, and lines of code. He used to say that his favorites of all the languages were those in the ML family, and in particular Ocaml.

    Robert McGovern 06/20/04 04:33:36 PM EDT

    comp.lang.c++.moderated list at Google Groups. At least be accurate and say on the newsgroup comp.lang.c++.moderated, rather than push the notion that the group is only available via Google groups.

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
    Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
    November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
    For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
    Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
    The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
    In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
    WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
    The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
    In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
    We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
    A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
    In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...