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An Empirical Comparison of Seven Programming Languages
October 2000 (vol. 33 no. 10)
pp. 23-29

Often heated, debates regarding different programming languages' effectiveness remain inconclusive because of scarce data and a lack of direct comparisons. The author addresses that challenge, comparatively analyzing 80 implementations of the phonecode program in seven different languages (C, C++, Java, Perl, Python, Rexx, and Tcl). Further, for each language, the author analyzes several separate implementations by different programmers. The comparison investigates several aspects of each language, including program length, programming effort, run-time efficiency, memory consumption, and reliability. The author uses comparisons to present insight into program language performance. For example, the study indicates that Java's memory overhead is still huge compared to C or C++, but its runtime efficiency has become quite acceptable. The scripting languages, however, offer reasonable alternatives to C and C++, even for tasks that must handle fair amounts of computation and data.

Lutz Prechelt, "An Empirical Comparison of Seven Programming Languages," Computer, vol. 33, no. 10, pp. 23-29, Oct. 2000, doi:10.1109/2.876288
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