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· 15 min read
Dunfan Lu

Ever since the Python programming language was born, its core philosophy has always been to maximize the readability and simplicity of code. In fact, the reach for readability and simplicity is so deep within Python's root, that if you type import this in a Python console, it will recite a little poem:

Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
Flat is better than nested.
Sparse is better than dense.
Readability counts.

Simple is better than complex. Readability counts. No doubt, Python has indeed been quite successful at achieving these goals: it is by far the most friendly language to learn, and an average Python program is often 5-10 times shorter than equivalent C++ code. Unfortunately, there is a catch: Python's simplicity comes at the cost of reduced performance. In fact, it is almost never surprising for a Python program to be 10-100 times slower than its C++ counterpart. It thus appears that there is a perpetual trade-off between speed and simplicity, and no programming language shall ever possess both.

But don't you worry, all hope is not lost.