The fast inverse square root function I talked about yesterday is often attributed to John Carmack. The fact is, no one really knows where it came from, but it speaks to Carmack’s legendary status that such an amazing feat of engineering is commonly assumed to be written by him.
So I thought, for today, I’d muse about something Carmack once said:
Because of the nature of Moore’s law, anything that an extremely clever graphics programmer can do at one point can be replicated by a merely competent programmer some number of years later.
John Carmack, speaking to Tom Ham from GameSpy
The amazing thing about Moore’s law is that the impossible becomes possible, and the difficult becomes trivial, in just a few years.
The awful thing about Moore’s law is that programmers take advantage of it to produce software that runs at the same speed as before, despite the fact that processors have double the number of components they had two years ago.
I remember Microsoft Word in the 1990s. Word 95 was roughly as fast on my 100 MHz desktop as Word 2016 is on my quad-core, 2.9 GHz laptop.
Just because you have the power, doesn’t mean you have to use it. Less is more.
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