Hi everyone, I’d like to share a success story of one of my co-workers, who beat C-performance in his first week of learning Rust.
This shows, to me, the great potential rust has as a language: high-level programming, with great low-level performance, accessible to newcomers.
TL;DR: prototypes and benchmark timings here
My coworker is optimising scripts for a bioinformatics web-service our institute hosts (CRISPR AnalyzeR ). It is currently written in a mix of R and Perl, and some parts are
very slow not as fast as we’d like.
On the tram to work, he mentioned that he was rewriting a particularly slow Perl script (0m45.006s on the benchmark file) in C, and had gotten it down to 0m4.409s in low-level C, an admirable 10x speedup.
We talked about the fact that it was quite hard to get back down in all the nitty-gritty pointer handling of C, which was my cue to preach the Rust Gospel: productive high-level concepts, memory safe and fast! (with easy transition to multi-threading for even more performance later!)
I sent him some links to cargo and the rust book, and he said he’d give Rust a try.
The next morning he had an initial working version in Rust, coming in at 0m14.334s.
Now, before we go into the performance, just the fact that he could get a working version in 24 hours is a good sign in itself. The script iterates over a biological data file (fastQ), which has a multi-line record structure. If the record identifier matches a regex, it is copied to the output file. Quite simple all in all, but still, this means my colleague got himself up to speed in:
- The rust language,
- The cargo ecosystem, and
- The regex crate
all in 24 hours. So much for Rust being “too hard to be adopted”
We were both surprised that rust was so much slower than C, and checked the usual “compiled with
--release ?” (yes, it was).
Then I noticed that we were spending a whopping 10s of our 14 seconds in system time, which caused me to look at the code.
Two inserts of
std::io::BufWriter later, and we’re suddenly at 0m3.866s, beating C by 500 ms! (i.e. 11,8%)
Cue great enthusiasm at my colleague’s department, and another 2 people interested in Rust.
All in all, quite the success
P.S. and if the perf story isn’t good enough by itself; when I cloned the rust version, I did “
cargo run --release” and everything magically worked, downloading dependencies and everything.
When I ran the C version with “
make; ./bin/prototype”, all I got was “