In the "writing better code" department:
by J. Daniel Garcia and Bjarne Stroustrup
Abstraction based programming has been traditionally seen as an approach that improves software quality at the cost of losing performance. In this paper, we explore the cost of abstraction by transforming the PARSEC benchmark fluidanimate application from low-level, hand-optimized C to a higher-level and more general C++ version that is a more direct representation of the algorithms. We eliminate global variables and constants, use vectors of a user-defined particle type rather than vectors of built-in types, and separate the concurrency model from the application model. The result is a C++ program that is smaller, less complex, and measurably faster than the original. The benchmark was chosen to be representative of many applications and our transformations are systematic and based on principles. Consequently, our techniques can be used to improve the performance, flexibility, and maintainability of a large class of programs. The handling of concurrency issues has been collected into a small new library, YAPL.