On Proebsting's Law

Author:Scott, Kevin, Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Virginia

In 1965 Gordon Moore observed that the capacity of semiconductor ICs doubled every 18 to 24 months. This trend, now known as Moore's Law, has held for over 25 years and is responsible for the exponential increase in microprocessor performance over this period. In 1998 Todd Proebsting made a similar-in-spirit, but altogether less optimistic observation about optimizing compilers. His observation, henceforth known as Proebsting's Law, is that improvements to compiler technology double the performance of typical programs every 18 years. Proebsting has suggested an experiment to evaluate the veracity of his observation. This paper presents the results of this experiment and some comments on what Proebsting's Law portends for compiler research.

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Source Citation:

Scott, Kevin. "On Proebsting's Law." University of Virginia Dept. of Computer Science Tech Report (2001).

University of Virginia, Department of Computer Science
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