The F#.NET Journal just published an article about data representations:
"Computations such as graph traversals are often most naturally expressed in terms of raw data such as the strings names of the entities involved. This simplicity is valuable but comes at a cost in terms of performance because operations over strings from a finite set are substantially slower than operations over an equivalent representation. Symbol tables offer the ability to replace strings with ints in order to accelerate computations over them. This article looks at a typical example application that stands to benefit from the use of a symbol table and then demonstrates how a symbol table can be implemented along with an efficient specialized dictionary for keys that are symbols, culminating in a 14× performance improvement..."
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