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Re: LispM Market Share

Received: from BLAISE.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com by ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com via CHAOS with CHAOS-MAIL id 16515; 16 Jan 90 15:53:24 PST
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 90 15:53 PST
From: Montgomery Kosma <kosma@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com>
Subject: Re: LispM Market Share 
To: slug@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com
In-Reply-To: <9001161602.AA05697@uunet.uu.net>
Message-ID: <19900116235323.3.KOSMA@BLAISE.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com>

       [...misc deleted...]
	  4. File read performance is crummy on the Lispms.  Since that's done so
	     often, it leaves the impression that the Lispms are slow machines. 
      This has got to be one of the most frustrating things about the
      Symbolics for me.  The symbolics may not be an inherently slow machine
      but compared to a sparcstation (or even my amiga :-) it gives the feel
      of being quite sluggish (disk i/o, keyboard response in certain
      situations, changing windows, etc. etc.).  Of course, I use a Connection
      Machine so I'm not used to waiting around unless I *really* have to ;-).
    Lets get quantitative about this.

okay, if frustration level isn't quantitative enough :-).

    ?  Why is LISPM I/O is slow?
    ?  What is a good way to measure relative performance given hardware

In my experience, the most obvious way to measure relative hard disk
performance (for the overall HD system including drive, interface, and
SW) is through a measurement of KBytes per second on reading and on
writing.  I don't have any numbers for the symbolics (I suppose I could
generate some if I were so inclined) but for example my amiga does about
300 KBytes per second, and by putting in a faster disk drive I could
push that to 600 KBytes per second.  

	  8. Lisp is still has the aura of being the "AI" language.  Lisp
	     machines are for AI hackers, no?
      I don't know quite how rare it is for somebody to be doing computational
      physics on a Symbolics (probably extremely rare aside from the
      occasionaly Connection Machine front end) but I guess some (at least
      one) people are.  If it wasn't for the Connection Machine I would be
      doing fortran on a sun right now (****DEFINITELY**** not by choice), and
      as it is, we will probably be concentrating more on Sun SPARC front ends
      for the connection machine rather than the symbolics, primarily due to
      issues of speed.
    I find LISPM a wonderful place to crunch numbers as well as symbols
    and objects.  Selling a LISPM as JUST an AI machine is certainly
    selling it short.

    Is the issue of speed the fact that you can't hang array processors off
    your LISPM, or that the number crunching performance of a LISPM isn't
    good enough.  I find that with some care in coding, LISPM number
    crunch as well as the SUN 3's i have access to.

My AMIGA can number crunch as well as the sun 3's.  My symbolics (which
costs at least 10 times as much) doesn't compare too well with our
recently-acquired SPARCstations.  I'm not at ALL satisfied with
Symbolics being comparable to one of Sun's outdated models.


monty kosma