Friday, September 20, 2013

Joe Armstrong on Programmer Productivity (groups.google.com)

Once upon a very long time ago we did a project to compare the efficiency of Erlang to PLEX. We implemented "the same things" (TM) in Erlang and PLEX and counted total man hours. We did this for several different things. Erlang was "better" by a factor of 3 or 25 (in total man hours) - the weighted average was a factor 8. They asked "what is the smart programmer effect". We said "we don't know". We revised the figure 8 down to 3 to allow for "the smart programmer effect" - this was too high to be credible, so we revised it down to 1.6. (the factors 3 and 1.6 where just plucked out of the air with no justification). Experiments that show that Erlang is N times better than "something else" won't be believed if N is too high. Read more...