Hi-tech upgrade: New AI tool supercharges computer speed by 1,000 times!

AMHERST, Mass. — Computer scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to accelerate computing speed by thousands of times. The tool dubbed Scalene was designed to optimize Python — one of the slowest but most popular programming languages.

Python has gained immense popularity in data science and machine learning sectors due to its user-friendly nature.

“Python is a ‘batteries-included’ language, and it has become very popular in the age of data science and machine learning because it is so user-friendly,” says Emery Berger, who is a professor of computer science in the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst, in a university release.

However, Python’s performance is also its Achilles heel.

“Python is crazy inefficient,” explains Berger. “It easily runs between 100 to 1,000 times slower than other languages, and some tasks might take 60,000 times as long in Python.”

Stressed man at work, suffering from headache at office
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To tackle this inefficiency, programmers use “profilers” — tools that run programs to pinpoint performance issues. Many current profilers, though, merely highlight slow areas without offering actionable solutions.

That’s where Scalene comes in. Unlike its predecessors, Scalene doesn’t just identify the sluggish parts of a program. The tool delves deep into three critical areas responsible for Python’s sloth-like speed: the CPU, GPU, and memory usage.

Once the trouble spots are identified, Scalene employs AI technology — the same driving force behind ChatGPT — to suggest improvements.

“This is an actionable dashboard,” says Berger. “It’s not just a speedometer telling you how fast or slow your car is going, it tells you if you could be going faster, why your speed is affected and what you can do to get up to maximum speed. Computers are no longer getting faster. Future improvements in speed will come less from better hardware and more from faster, more efficient programming.”

The tech community seems to be on board with this vision, as Scalene has already been downloaded over 750,000 times since its debut on GitHub. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the research behind Scalene was recognized at this year’s USENIX Conference on Operating System Design and Implementation, where it secured the Best Paper Award.

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