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Regular Expression Matching Can Be Simple And FastWith Peter's observation that everything good in Computer Science happened during the "Golden Age" freshly in mind, I found Russ Cox's recent article on regular expressions to be enjoyable reading.
Combining implementation details, finite automata, and a foray into decadesold theory, this article shows how most of our favorite little languages have an enormous performance bottlenecks for certain categories of string comparisons. An additional data point: The Shootout benchmarks have a large string comparison test. It's interesting that Tcl is at the top of the heap for performance. Guess which one is using the Thompson NFA algorithm for regular expressions? 
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