Cover by Steve McConnell

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Introduction to Code Tuning

What is code tuning's appeal? It's not the most effective way to improve performance— program architecture, class design, and algorithm selection usually produce more dramatic improvements. Nor is it the easiest way to improve performance—buying new hardware or a compiler with a better optimizer is easier. And it's not the cheapest way to improve performance either—it takes more time to hand-tune code initially, and hand-tuned code is harder to maintain later.

Code tuning is appealing for several reasons. One attraction is that it seems to defy the laws of nature. It's incredibly satisfying to take a routine that executes in 20 microseconds, tweak a few lines, and reduce the execution speed to 2 microseconds.

It's also ...

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