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Julia vs. Rust

Educative Answers Team

Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic programming language. It uses a just-in-time compiler, is garbage-collected, and provides an interactive REPL environment. Although it is a general-purpose language, Julia is well-suited for numerical analysis and computational science.

Rust is a multi-paradigm, statically typed programming language focused on performance and safety (especially safe concurrency). Rust provides memory safety without using garbage collection and has a syntax similar to C++. Rust is used for systems and application development, where excellent performance and safety is required. Rust is how C would have looked if it was developed in the 21st century.

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Julia

  • Julia has a robust ecosystem for scientific computing and data analysis. There are numerous libraries for scientific computing and graphical visualization in Julia.
  • Julia is a high-level programming language.
  • Julia uses a just-in-time (JIT) compiler.
  • Julia is dynamically typedvariable types are checked during run-time.
  • Julia is focused on being easy to use.
  • Julia has a garbage collector.

Rust

  • Rust is mainly for systems programming, where stability and memory safety are crucial.
  • Rust is a low-level systems programming language.
  • Rust uses an ahead-of-time compiler.
  • Rust is statically typedvariable types are explicitly declared and thus checked during compile time.
  • Rust concentrates on providing better safety by ensuring strong compile-time correctness.
  • Rust prevents segfaults and robust thread-safety.
  • Rust doesn’t have a garbage collector.

Similarities

Both Julia and Rust use LLVM, so compilation performance is likely to be similar. Julia, however, also includes an interactive REPL for more comfortable experimenting, while Rust doesn’t have stable REPL yet.

Which do you choose?

Although both languages are general-purpose, the motivation behind each of them is very different. You can use Rust for scientific computing and Julia for systems programming if you are dedicated enough. However, it is always better to choose the right tools for the job.

Use Julia if you want to do interactive scientific computing and build programs focusing on calculations or data analysis, where errors and crashes aren’t necessarily the end of the world and performance isn’t a high priority. Basically, use Julia where you might use Python or MATLAB.

Use Rust if you want to program for systems, games, web servers, basically anywhere performance and memory usage need to be consistently good. You can also use Rust to build applications that have high security and memory safety requirements. In short, use Rust where you would use C or C++ otherwise.

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