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Markos,
While ALTIVEC optimizing of PHP, Perl, Python etc or MySQL, other database might be possible - I fear that the benefits will be very low compared to the amount of invested work.
You may be right, but I thought that for example what if I replaced the hashing algorithm in MySQL/PostgreSQL with an optimized one, or what if I finished that Levenshtein algorithm? Wouldn't that be worth the effort and warrant a more than 10% speed increase? Perhaps you're right and it might not be worth it, but at least I have to consider the possibility :-)
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There are some computer tasks where Altivec can give you a 10% performance increase and there are tasks where Altivec
might be able to give a 1000% performance increase.
I would recommend to focus on something that
will give the user a WOW - this is fast experience.
Maybe something like Matlab?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MATLAB
Or GNU Octave
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Octave
Or A finite Element software?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite_element_analysis
Or very interesting would be optimizing "Monte Carlo"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_method
Finite elements simulation is used by the industry and they buy walls full of computers to run these jobs.
The same is true for Monte Carlo. Banks even use similar algorythms to estimate the development of Wall street courses.
Optimizing these jobs for Altivec might be wise as - Altivec is very good in these tasks and the people needed this software have real budgets to spend - They have the budget to easely buy 100 or 1000 PPC/CELL systems for such a task.
Exactly right. But scientific software like the ones you mentioned (MatLab, Octave) is orders of magnitute more complicated than the other software I mentioned. To scientists, it doesn't matter if it runs faster, they need scientific proof that the faster method is *equivalent* to the older one. I'd need to provide a mathematical paper for each of the routines optimized. If the 8th decimal digit is wrong they will not accept the newer method, period. I know I've done scientific simulations years ago. And of course I have to consider the time involvement. 8 months might seem like a lot, but in reality it's not. It's going to take much more for optimizing eg MatLab. The rest you mention are methods and I'd still have to find the respective software that implements these methods.
I have to find some software that fits right between the two extremes that you mentioned, but is much more popular. (Don't forget that it's going to be a proof of concept project, so that I can hunt afterwards the bigger projects you mentioned :-)
So, I need software that will benefit the majority of users, will have a strong WOW-factor, and will be possible to implement in the 8 months. If I can find 2-3 like these that are smaller but are equally important/popular, so much the better :-)
Konstantinos