May 22, 2018

Which Programming Languages Use the Least Electricity?

Can energy usage data tell us anything about the quality of our programming languages?

Last year a team of six researchers in Portugal from three different universities decided to investigate this question, ultimately releasing a paper titled “Energy Efficiency Across Programming Languages.” They ran the solutions to 10 programming problems written in 27 different languages, while carefully monitoring how much electricity each one used — as well as its speed and memory usage.

It was important to run a variety of benchmark tests because ultimately their results varied depending on which test was being performed. For example, overall the C language turned out to be the fastest and also the most energy efficient. But in the benchmark test which involved scanning a DNA database for a particular genetic sequence, Rust was the most energy-efficient — while C came in third.

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