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Jake
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"Once upon a time lots of problems had this issue because RAM was expensive, I remember writing little games in c + x86 asm and trying to squeeze as much info as possible out of every byte of RAM, these days it often doesn't make sense solving these "problems" because they aren't problems" This is somewhat surprising coming from someone who has programmed in assembly. You must have not done much of it because this doesn't make much sense at all, especially for embedded development, when the cost of RAM really isn't as much of a factor as the limitation of it due to design constraints. I do agree that there is a time space trade off in that the more space you take up in writing an algorithm, the faster it can be and vice versa. This is observed in the use of look up tables and hash tables. However, being able to index those tables can be rather complicated depending on the accuracy you want in your choice of hash function or other index method. It is also hard to analyze their efficiency given their non-deterministic nature and the fact that they rely on heavy sparsing of the data in order to be effective due to the possibility of collisions. And this is just talking about storing the data, you still may want to search it, sort it, and do other forms of manipulation which wouldn't be possible without algorithms. And in that post, you were only talking about the dataset itself and not about the code and other processes occupying the RAM at that time. My main point is, you're right that RAM is relatively inexpensive and I wasn't implying that 1 GB of RAM is a rare commodity or anything like that. However, the development or use of algorithms shouldn't be attributed based solely on how much RAM you have and any respected computer scientist would agree with that, and it's shocking to me that a professor said that. And I'm not even going to waist my time commenting on the ridiculousness of Mdaj79's comment.
"Algorithms are for people who don't know how to buy RAM." What!? A computer science professor said this!? Well, I guess having a doctorate doesn't make you smart... That professor obviously doesn't understand the difference between time complexity and space complexity. You're not going to make selection sort (aka. bubble sort) any faster by putting more RAM into your computer, nor are you going to be able to do the Floyd-Warshall algorithm for finding the all-[airs shortest paths in a weighted graph. I agree with the people above me, that is the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.
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Feb 10, 2011