So Google has launched the unladen swallow project with this first goal:
Produce a version of Python at least 5x faster than CPython.
We discussed some details with Collin Winter, Jeffrey Yasskin and Thomas Wouters during the VM summit yesterday. We were a bit confused about usage of the term JIT, because as far as we understood, it's going to be upfront compilation into LLVM. In the past we have looked into LLVM – at one point PyPy extensively use it but it wasn't clear how we could make good use to it. They also consider changing to something else than LLVM. It's gonna be interesting to see how this works out.
It's good to see friendly competition, and we think that should take up the challenge and see if we can produce faster pickling, run 2to3 and Django faster than what they can come up with. We also talked to IronPython and Jython developers and all agreed that some common benchmarks would be good. And maybe do weekly press releases about small speed increases? :)
The idea of the VM summit here in Chicago was to bring together implementors of various virtual machine languages. There were members of the communities of IronPython, CPython, GemStone's MagLev, Rubinius, Mozilla's TraceMonkey, Parrot, Sun's Da Vinci Machine, Microsoft's DLR, Jython and JRuby. Everybody got to talk 5-10 minutes on their current status and challenges. It is clear that you cannot begin to cover the complexities and architectures of the involved projects. But that wasn't too much of a problem because the rest of the day everybody freely and dynamically grouped on their issues of choice. We established some more personal contacts, was great to chat with people like Andreas Gal from the University of California, Irvine, who have a very similar idea about the JIT that we have. Actually, we could probably haved mixed our two presentations and nobody would have actually noticed :-).
At the end of the presentation part, John Rose presented his slides. John is a Hotspot developer, and while not precisely a dynamic language implementor, he has a lot of experience in virtual machine implementation. It's very good to see the JVM being extended towards supporting dynamic-language specific things, in order to be something more than just a good platform for Java. We'll probably have some extra meetup with him the next days.cheers,
holger and fijal