The psyco module has been around for a while and has been used to speed up the Python interpreter. For those of you who think speed is all important, take a look at a typical example. Psyco is similar to Java's just in time compiler.

How does psyco do it? Well, Python normally compiles source code to byte-code. Byte-code is machine code for the Python Virtual Machine (PVM). Byte-code is cross platform and works on many different CPU types. The interpreter then takes the byte-code and translates it to CPU specific machine code for execution of the program.

Psyco works only on Intel i386 CPU machines, as it compiles much of the Python source code directly to i386 machine code. This takes the load off the interpreter and speeds things up about 2 to 100 times.

# time a function using time.time() and the @ function decorator
# uses Psyco to speed up code (on my computer 1.6 sec with Psyco, 4.4 sec without)
# download psyco-1.4.win32-py2.4.exe from
# tested with Python24    vegaseat    22aug2005

import time
from psyco import full


def print_timing(func):
    def wrapper(*arg):
        t1 = time.time()
        res = func(*arg)
        t2 = time.time()
        print '%s took %0.3f ms' % (func.func_name, (t2-t1)*1000.0)
        return res
    return wrapper

# declare the @ decorator just before the function, invokes print_timing()
def getPrimeList(n):
    """ returns a list of prime numbers from 2 to < n using a sieve algorithm"""
    if n < 2:  return []
    if n == 2: return [2]
    # do only odd numbers starting at 3
    s = range(3, n+1, 2)
    # n**0.5 is slightly faster than math.sqrt(n)
    mroot = n ** 0.5
    half = len(s)
    i = 0
    m = 3
    while m <= mroot:
        if s[i]:
            j = (m*m-3)//2
            s[j] = 0
            while j < half:
                s[j] = 0
                j += m
        i = i+1
        m = 2*i+3
    return [2]+[x for x in s if x]

if __name__ == "__main__":
    print "prime numbers from 2 to <10,000,000 using a sieve algorithm"
    print "(speed improved with the psyco module)"
    primeList = getPrimeList(10000000)
my output -->
prime numbers from 2 to <10,000,000 using a sieve algorithm
(speed improved with the psyco module)
getPrimeList took 1650.000 ms
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