[self-interest] StrongTalk combined with Self?

Gilad Bracha gilad.bracha at Sun.COM
Thu Jan 8 18:45:45 UTC 2004

Jonas Bosson wrote:

>Just a thought.
>Could optional typing be a way to trim Self performance?
>I spotted the Strong Talk project: 
>I know that this is somewhat controversial, but it could, without 
>altering what is, also bridge to other typed languages and deliver
>'pass by value...' ;-)
>Am I Wrong?

I worked on Strongtalk, and in particular on the type system.
Strongtalk typing was never intended to be used as a performance boost.  
It's main value is as documentation and as a design discipline. It has 
relatively small value for early error detection, and no effect on 

The performance of the system came from VM technology, especially 
adaptive dynamic compilation, which was very close to what Self already 
does, and indeed inspired by Self.  Strongtalk differed from Self in 
requiring a much smaller footprint - however, Self could be engineered 
to do the same (at least, Lars Bak, who worked on both Self and 
Strongtalk, thought so). Another difference that might effect the 
perceived responsiveness of the system was the absence of a morphic GUI 
(replaced by a flyweight glyph-based GUI on top of native Windows widgets).

We did experiment with using type information for performance in one 
area - floating point arithmetic. You can get around 60% of optimized C 
speed on certain floating point codes, using types as a hint to the JIT, 
which then verifies the type information and optimizes based on it, 
stictly intra- (not inter-)procedurally. Check out the Mandelbrot demo 
in the Strongtalk release to see an example.

Cheers, Gilad


Gilad Bracha
Computational Theologist
Sun Java Software

More information about the Self-interest mailing list