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efficify - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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efficify [Oct. 22nd, 2007|10:47 am]
Lindsey Kuper

All right, so I need a verb for "to make (code) more efficient". I guess that's how people use "optimize", but that rubs me the wrong way, because to me, "optimize" implies "as much as mathematically possible", which I don't necessarily need; I just need it to be more efficient. And I can't accept that the computer science definition of "optimize" is fuzzier than the math definition. No! Me scientist, too!

This must be where jargon comes from. We'd sooner make up a ridiculous new word than use an existing one in a way we don't like.

Also, argh. I could've been done writing this thing fifteen minutes ago if only I didn't care about this crap.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: keystricken
2007-10-22 06:38 pm (UTC)
I can't even look at "optimize" any more, it's been abused so badly. (And my time in business has been so short! My immune system must be weak.) All these buzzwords flow together until they sound like synergoptimidigm.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2007-10-22 06:40 pm (UTC)
Going forward, let's utilize this vocabulization, and increase customer satisfaction.
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2007-10-22 06:42 pm (UTC)
Sir, you bastard.
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[User Picture]From: pmb
2007-10-22 06:45 pm (UTC)
Colloquially, you can call it "bumming some cycles" or simply say "speeding it up". But optimizing sounds okay to me - I thought it's definition was "to make more optimal" rather than "to make optimal". In particular, I believe it is Turing-equivalent to determine if there is a faster program for solving a particular problem.
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[User Picture]From: pmb
2007-10-22 06:46 pm (UTC)
Where by "turing equivalent" I mean equivalent to the halting problem.
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[User Picture]From: underwhelm
2007-10-22 06:54 pm (UTC)
IAWTC. The computer science definition reflects a pragmatic response to complex dynamic systems that may never be "optimal," but can approach it.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2007-10-22 07:32 pm (UTC)

perfectly cromulent

Fast-ify? Speed-up? Quicken? Redesign-for-efficiency? ...

(Language is so weird. When we build the word "embiggen", why does that sound more natural than "enbiggen"?)
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[User Picture]From: linettasky
2007-10-22 07:58 pm (UTC)

Re: perfectly cromulent

It's because of the B. In many words, the letter used to be an N. I don't know the proper linguistic terminology, but because you have to put your lips together to make the B anyway, the N in "enbiggen" gets lost and slides into an M. If this happens often enough, like in the word "imbibe," the N in the words where it happens change into Ms. Soon, when we make new words like "embiggen," we just stop using the N.
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[User Picture]From: oniugnip
2007-10-22 08:34 pm (UTC)

Re: perfectly cromulent

Yes! I knew the word for that at one point.

...

...

Phonotactics is what we mean, yes?
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[User Picture]From: linettasky
2007-10-22 08:36 pm (UTC)

Re: perfectly cromulent

That looks like the right word! It wasn't quite the one I was looking for -- I was looking for the linguistic word to describe letters like B and M -- labials, maybe? I know that P is a plosive.
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[User Picture]From: qousqous
2007-10-22 10:01 pm (UTC)

Re: perfectly cromulent

Phonotactics isn't quite what your looking for—that generally refers to what combinations of sounds can go together and which can't. For example, in English you can have two consonants go together without a vowel in between (but only certain consonants), but in Japanese this isn't possible. A word in Nahuatl may start with tl, but this is impossible in English. English speakers see a word like "tsunami" and can't figure out how to say it, coming out with things like "sue-nami" and "chew-nami", because ts never starts a word in English, even though we can say the same exact sound at the end of a word, as in "nuts!", but in Japanese this is no problem at all.

While the question of whether it is possible to have an n before a b in English is one of phonotactics, what is going on here is assimilation. One sound changes before the other to become more alike, to make it easier to say. The alveolar (where you make the sounds n, t, d, s, and z) nasal (sounds you make with air flowing out through your nose) n in "in-" becomes the bilabial (with both lips, where you make m, p, b) nasal m before bilabial stop b. I think this is pretty much a pervasive phonological rule in English: nasals prior to another consonant assimilate to the same place of articulation as the following consonant.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-10-22 08:48 pm (UTC)

spacey

If this happens often enough, like in the word "imbibe," the N in the words where it happens change into Ms. Soon, when we make new words like "embiggen," we just stop using the N.

I totally parsed that all as one sentence, and wondered who "Ms. Soon" was.

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[User Picture]From: linettasky
2007-10-22 09:12 pm (UTC)
Crap! That N has changed into Ms. Soon!
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[User Picture]From: stingmeyer
2007-10-22 07:59 pm (UTC)
All right, so I need a verb for "to make (code) more efficient"

(How do you define "need"?)

I generally use "improve performance".

O~
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[User Picture]From: joyquality
2007-10-22 10:32 pm (UTC)
I have to resist my urge to use "improve performance" to mean "get a better f-measure" (or whatever), because I don't want people to think I'm talking about efficiency.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-10-22 10:54 pm (UTC)
Could you maybe say "improve accuracy"? Or even, like, "correctness"?

*realizes that both terms are loaded*
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[User Picture]From: joyquality
2007-10-23 12:19 am (UTC)
I guess the term "performance" is particularly problematic for me because my program is a mix of people with CS backgrounds and linguistics backgrounds. The CS people tend to assume performance refers to efficiency, but a lot of the linguists had never heard the term used that way. So if my code is both slow and gives lousy results, and I say I need to improve the performance, half the people will assume I mean one thing and half the people think I mean something else. This has caused confusion in class.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-10-23 03:13 am (UTC)
That's what I figured you were talking about, yeah. It's one reason why I'm glad I went to a small liberal arts school. I may not be much of a programmer, but darn it, I know how to not make assumptions!
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[User Picture]From: phthoggos
2007-10-22 11:06 pm (UTC)
"streamline"
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2007-10-23 05:25 am (UTC)
I hate, hate, HATE misuse of this term. People use "streamlined" to refer to something that moves quickly. But "streamlined" actually means that whatever is SURROUNDING the object, not the object itself, can move quickly. It's aerodynamic. Something that air or water can flow around quickly.
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[User Picture]From: lx
2007-10-23 12:37 am (UTC)
Smarten.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-10-23 03:17 am (UTC)
One of my old teachers suggested 'ameliorate', which is suitably humble. (I always think of it as meaning 'make not so bad'.)
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2007-10-23 03:27 am (UTC)
Elegantize!

I agree, "optimize" sucks.
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2007-10-23 03:36 am (UTC)
Elegize?

Or does that smack too much of "elegy"?
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2007-10-23 05:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, to elegize actually is to write an elegy. So, not so much. Unless your code is particularly mournful.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-10-24 02:01 am (UTC)
Oh, IT IS.
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[User Picture]From: oranges4oranges
2007-10-23 04:23 am (UTC)
If the term is up for grabs, I'm going to suggest "nathanize." ;)
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[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2007-10-24 02:16 am (UTC)
Catchy!

Nathanasia: the painless killing of unnecessary cycles.
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