Three commonly used highlevel programming languages are compared for their use in numerically intensive computation. A sparse matrix multiply which contains a typical mix of floatingpoint arithmetic and indirect addressing has been written in each language and is run on a variety of machines under several different compilers. The results show that speed of executed code varies as much from compiler implementation as from choice of language. C and Fortran90 perform very similarly, but Java is still too slow to be a serious contender for high performance numerical programming 1
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