Macro-economic consequences of Moore's law?

By: VertexMaster (nope.delete@this.nope.com), April 19, 2017 8:13 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Doug S (foo.delete@this.bar.bar) on April 19, 2017 12:36 pm wrote:

> The way software is developed has changed little from the mid 80s when the IBM PC and Mac were just getting
> started. It is long overdue for a wholesale change in methodology to improve how it is done (don't ask
> me how, if I knew that I'd be shopping for a private island from all the money I'd be making)

The whole industry moved on from waterfall development methodologies to a variety of incremental ("agile") development methodologies starting in the mid-90s. Lots of people got private islands along the way as a result...

> The problem with the software industry today isn't a lack of performance - programmers were getting
> multiple orders of magnitude more functionality per MHz / per MB than they do today.

They were delivering orders of magnitude less features. You might not appreciate today's functionality but that doesn't mean developers are delivering "multiple orders of magnitude less functionality per MHz".

Compilers/Interpreters have continuously generated faster code over the last two decades. The literature here is quite strong, but just to start off:
- GCC https://vmakarov.fedorapeople.org/spec/index.html
- Javascript performance has improved an order of magnitude. Fuck man, just the last couple of years is crazy: https://arewefastyet.com/
- Java improved an order of magnitude from the early 90s (byte code) to JIT. etc etc.

Michael Abrash noted in his famous book "Zen of Assembly" that compilers were already starting to beat average programmers in assembly code generation. That book was published in 1990!

That basically leaves the possibility that developers are just writing poor quality slow code, using poorly chosen data structures and algorithms. Most software today (more than ever) is written against standard data collections / algorithm libraries all of which have improved over time.
- C++ STL, Boost etc.
- Java Collections etc.

Quality programming advice has never been more accessible with the explosion of internet resources (i.e. Stack Overflow) too.

Excel 15 might seem like a bloated mess compared to Excel 1.0 to you, but the reality is that it has about 1000x additional functional points. Software is several orders of magnitude more complex and feature rich today than 20+ years ago. So yeah, it uses proportionally more memory. The performance "per/MHz" tho has probably gone up.
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