premature optimization

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

It was first coined by Donald Knuth in his 1974 monograph The Art of Computer Programming which won a Turing Award.

Noun edit

premature optimization (countable and uncountable, plural premature optimizations)

  1. (programming) The act of wasting resources on optimising source code that does not represent a significant bottleneck.
    • 1973, Donald Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming:
      The real problem is that programmers have spent far too much time worrying about efficiency in the wrong places and at the wrong times; premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming.
    • 2016, Amitt Mahajan, Why you’re mispricing your VR seed round, VentureBeat
      Similar to engineering, premature optimization can cause you to focus on items that don’t materially affect your outcome and can divert your attention away from those that do.

Hypernyms edit