The Bottom Line

In the end, C is a much more efficient language than many of its peers. However, it doesn't work well when prototyping is involved.

My approach is to use interpreted languages like Python, R, Octave/Matlab, etc., for prototyping – that is, for exploring small amounts of data, for developing an approach, and algorithms, for analyzing data, and for generating graphics.

When I have a computation, or a simulation, or a series of operations that are time-consuming, I think about implementing them in C.

Interpreted languages should be used for prototyping, and C for performance.

On the practical side, the nature of C makes it optimal for many processing-based applications:

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