Beating C with 1 line of Brainfuck

#brainfuck, #shitpost -

Following on the recent "faster than wc" blogposts, I decided to end this fad once and for all, using the best language ever created : Brainfuck.


Well, obviously, that's not very readable. We just needed to put that in for the sweet clickbait ;)

Here is the actual code :

VARIABLES (in cell order) :
    total = 0
  > was_letter = 0
  > input ,+
  > tmp0

while the input isn't EOF : we count words <[-
  ---------- if input is not a newline [
    ---------------------- if input is not a space [
      >+         tmp0 = 1
      <<-[<+>+]> if not was_letter increment total

  <[-]       clear was_letter
  >>[<<+>>-] move tmp0 to was_letter

  <, take input again


print the total (nothing new)

To get the maximum performance out of it, I choose to use funkicrab, which totally doesn't compile to C (I used clang with -O3, if you are wondering). Since cells need to be 32-bit for counting more than 255 words, you'll also need to replace the few occurrences of char to int.

So, how fast can it run ?

$ cat words.txt | time wc -w
0.52 user
0.01 system
0:00.55 elapsed

$ cat words.txt | time ./bfwc
0.50 user
0.02 system
0:00.54 elapsed

Looks like we won a hundredth of a second counting the number of words in a 85 Megabyte file. Which I do all day, every day, so I'm now relaxing by thinking about all the free time I gained.

Wait, of course not, this was a complete waste of time. Hope you enjoyed it nonetheless :)