Check out Codon: A Python compiler if you have a need for C/C++ speed

Trending 6 months ago

Python is among nan 1 of nan astir celebrated programming languages, yet it's mostly not nan first prime erstwhile velocity is required.

While it tin beryllium optimized for amended performance, Python is prized for qualities different than speed, specified arsenic readability, a manageable learning curve, an expansive ecosystem, and inferior successful some academia and business.

MIT machine scientists and their colleagues, however, judge they've recovered a measurement to person it each – nan approachability of a high-level connection pinch nan velocity of a low-level language. They've developed a Python compiler called Codon that turns Python codification into autochthonal instrumentality codification without a runtime capacity hit.

"Typical speedups complete Python are connected nan bid of 10-100x aliases more, connected a azygous thread," nan Codon repo declares. "Codon's capacity is typically connected par pinch (and sometimes amended than) that of C/C++."

There's a hitch, of course, different than its delayed-open-source license. Codon implements astir but not each of nan Python language. Some Python modules person not been incorporated into Codon. And it omits features specified arsenic move type manipulation and runtime reflection that make codification much difficult to analyse and optimize. In doing so, it tin trust connected a statically-typing compiler motor that – successful conjunction pinch different innovations specified arsenic a much optimizable and elastic intermediate practice (IR) [PDF] – generates faster code.

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Codon was primitively developed arsenic a model for creating high-performance domain circumstantial languages (DSLs) successful Python. DSLs are languages focused connected a circumstantial purpose, arsenic opposed to a wide intent programming connection for illustration Python aliases C. Examples of DSLs see CSS, SQL, and nan ancient runes make understands.

Derived from Seq, a DSL for bioinformatics and genetics, Codon has grown into a connection compiler that's mostly compatible pinch Python 3. As described successful a paper [PDF] provided to The Register successful beforehand of its planned March 16 release, "Codon: A Compiler for High-Performance Pythonic Applications and DSLs," nan toolchain "enables nan improvement of DSLs that stock Python’s syntax and semantics together pinch added domain-specific features and IR optimizations."

The authors of nan insubstantial – Ariya Shajii (Exaloop), Gabriel Ramirez (MIT CSAIL), Haris Smajlović (University of Victoria, Canada), Jessica Ray (MIT CSAIL), Bonnie Berger (MIT CSAIL) Saman Amarasinghe (MIT CSAIL), and Ibrahim Numanagić (University of Victoria) – opportunity that because Codon tin output autochthonal instrumentality codification without immoderate Python runtime overhead, they're capable to execute C-like capacity pinch Python scripts.

"Unlike different performance-oriented Python implementations (such arsenic PyPy aliases Numba), Codon is built from nan crushed up arsenic a standalone strategy that compiles ahead-of-time to a fixed executable and is not tied to an existing Python runtime (e.g., CPython aliases RPython) for execution," nan insubstantial says. "As a result, Codon tin execute amended capacity and flooded runtime-specific issues specified arsenic nan world expert lock."

Instead of needing to ... wholly rewrite successful a connection for illustration C, Codon tin usage nan aforesaid Python implementation and springiness nan aforesaid capacity you'll get by rewriting successful C

The authors talk various Codon-based, high-performance DSLs designed for bioinformatics, information compression, and parallel programming that return advantage of Codon's compiler infrastructure. But Codon tin besides accelerate modular Python programs substantially, though those that trust connected outer libraries specified arsenic Django aliases DocUtils person to trust connected a CPython span which limits capacity to that of CPython. For example, connected nan Codon forum, immoderate enterprising developer reports that a elemental Codon-compiled Fibonacci book ran much than 70x faster than nan CPython version.

MIT Professor and CSAIL Principal Investigator Saman Amarasinghe told nan MIT News work successful a merchandise provided to The Register that Python is often utilized by domain experts who are not programming experts and haven't optimized their applications for performance.

"Instead of needing to rewrite nan programme utilizing a C-implemented room for illustration numpy aliases wholly rewrite successful a connection for illustration C, Codon tin usage nan aforesaid Python implementation and springiness nan aforesaid capacity you'll get by rewriting successful C," explained Amarasinghe. "Thus, I judge Codon is nan easiest way guardant for successful Python applications that person deed a limit owed to deficiency of performance."

Codon, we're told, is already being utilized commercially successful fields from quantitative finance and bioinformatics to heavy learning. And successful nan months ahead, expect Codon's developers to instrumentality immoderate missing Python features. ®

PS: Yes, location are, of course, different Python compilers retired there, arsenic good arsenic Codon, if you'd for illustration to try them out.