Python is a programming language that I learnt somewhat recently (something like 2, 3 years ago) and that I like very much. It is simple, to the point, and has several functional-like constructs that I am already familiar with. But Python is slow compared to other programming languages. But it was unclear to me just how slow Python was compared to other languages. It just felt slow.
So I have decided to investigate by comparing the implementation of a simple, compute-bound problem, the eight queens puzzle generalized to any board dimensions. This puzzle is most easily solved using, as Dijkstra did, a depth-first backtracking program, using bitmaps to test rapidly whether or not a square is free of attack1. I implemented the same program in C++, Python, and Bash, and got help from friends for the C# and Java versions2. I then compared the resulting speeds.