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From: Ted Slate <tslateone@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sorry I'm an efficiency guy.

When I started out with computers (circa 1963) I got an
(unpaid) job to help other users at "the computer center".
One guy had a real problem: his program ran for hours
(when computing time cost 1,000 [1963!] dollars per
hour). And he needed to run once a week every week.
So he came to me and that he needed a faster square
root routine. The built-in one calculated 12 significant
digits and he only needed about 3, so he figured that
a tailor-made routine would speed up his program.
Full of youthful enthusiasm I went to work (this was
done in machine code - not even assembler) and after
a week that a routine that made his program run 20 times
as fast. I was mighty proud.
Then I did something really dumb: I asked him how his
program worked, what he used my fancy super-optimized
hyper-efficient square-root routine for. This is what he told
me: "I make weather maps. Weather stations that supply
data are located at irregular places and I need to compute
the data onto a fixed and regular grid. to do this I compute
the distances from each grid-intersection point and all the
weather stations that have data for a particular time. Based
on the distances I pick the five nearest stations and use a
complicated interpolation formula to obtain interpolated
data at the regular gridpoints. You routine makes this sooh
fast, thank you sooh very much". I was crestfallen.



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