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MathGroup Archive 1995

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Re: Comparison of MMA on Various Machines

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg2713] Re: Comparison of MMA on Various Machines
  • From: ianc (Ian Collier)
  • Date: Sat, 9 Dec 1995 01:54:34 -0500
  • Organization: Wolfram Research, Inc.

In article <4a3el9$qnc at dragonfly.wri.com>, sinan at u.washington.edu (Sinan
Karasu) wrote:

> In article <49dp82$8a6 at dragonfly.wri.com>,
> Gerhard Braunshausen  <braunshausen at embl-heidelberg.de> wrote:
> >Could anyone offer an explanation for the vast differences
> >in speed particularly in comparing the PowerMac 9500 series
> >with the SparcStation 20 series?
> >
> >To my knowledge, the Sparcstations were supposed to be very
> >powerful numbercrunchers. So why do they perform so poorly
> >with Mathematica?
> >
> >Thanks for any hints
> 
> I tried Mathematica on an UltraSparc, the results were very good.
> They were somewhat better than PowerMac 9500.
> I suspect that Mathematica memory management is written for Mac.
> I also suspect that Wolfram Research uses gcc as the compiler
> for minimum hassle when supporting various platforms.
> 
> Maybe it is time for Sun to donate some compilers and an 
> UltraSparc machine to Wolfram Research.
> 


As far as explaining performance differences for 
Mathematica on Sparc 20 and Power Macintosh 9500s it is 
worth bearing in mind that Sparc 20s have RISC processors 
with clock speeds ranging from 50 to 125MHz, whereas the 
9500 has either a 120 or 132 MHz RISC processor. Just 
based on that information one could expect Mathematica to 
run anywhere from about the same to possibly as much as 
2 1/2 times faster on the Power Macintosh. Without 
knowing exactly which machines were involved it would be 
fruitless to speculate further.

Mathematica has not been yet been optimised for the Ultra 
Sparc. I am glad to hear that it nonetheless performed 
well on that platform. A future release of Mathematica 
will be optimised for Ultra Sparc.

With regards to memory management and compilers Wolfram 
Research uses Sun's acc compiler to compile versions of 
Mathematica for Sun Sparc. We use custom memory management
routines that, for the purposes of Mathematica, perform
better than native memory managers on both the Mac and
Sun computers.

I hope this helps.

--Ian

-----------------------------------------------------------
Ian Collier
Technical Sales Support
Wolfram Research, Inc.
-----------------------------------------------------------
tel:(217)-398-0700     fax:(217)-398-0747      ianc at wri.com
Wolfram Research Home Page:             http://www.wri.com/
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