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New tech promises browser apps at near native speed
"That's a big improvement from earlier this year, when as mentioned before things were closer to 2x slower than native," Mozilla researcher Alon Zakai said in a blog post on Friday.
Specifically, the newest builds of Firefox and Emscripten both include support for instructions that allow SpiderMonkey to run some kinds of floating-point calculations using 32-bit values rather than the typical 64-bit double-precision ones.
According to Zakai, with these optimizations enabled, Asm.js code running in SpiderMonkey can run nearly as fast, and on rare occasions even faster, than native code benchmarks produced by C compilers like clang and gcc.
"Overall, what this shows is that 'native speed' is not a single number, but a range," Zakai wrote. "It looks like asm.js on Firefox is very close to that range – that is, while it's on average slower than clang and gcc, the amount it is slower by is not far off from how much native compilers differ amongst themselves."