I've documented the Ahl benchmark's history, and now I would like to do the same for Byte's version of the sieve. Does anyone have a pointer to the first appearance of this code as a benchmarking tool in that magazine?


2 Answers 2


The earliest use, as far as I can determine, of the sieve of Eratosthenes as a benchmark in Byte’s editorial content is in the September 1981 issue, page 180: “A High-Level Language Benchmark”. The article introduces the algorithm and a number of implementations, and uses it to compare various interpreters and compilers on different platforms.

This approach was revisited in the January 1983 issue, page 283: “Eratosthenes Revisited — Once More through the Sieve”, and again in the August 1984 issue, page 132, when the Byte Unix benchmark was introduced.

  • That's exactly what I'm looking for, thanks! I also found another later article on the PC so it could go out to larger numbers, but that was not a bench. May 1, 2019 at 20:24
  • Oh, and an MPI printer on the facing page! May 1, 2019 at 20:25

Not exactly what you are looking for, but meets the technical statement of "a pointer to the first appearance of this code as a benchmarking tool in that magazine" and is earlier than Stephen Kitt's answer. November 1980:


This is in an ad for Digital Research PL/I, and specifically refers to "Erastothenes Sieve" as a benchmark. Though I suppose that leaves open the question of how Digital Research's Sieve compares to the BYTE Magazine Sieve.

  • 3
    It all depends on whether “this code” refers to any implementation of the sieve, or Byte’s in particular — I assumed the latter. May 1, 2019 at 17:51
  • 1
    Ahh, I think this is an interesting point! The original article mentions that Gary Kildal personally supplied a version in PL/1 to be included in the article, and it also mentions that it was six months from start to end, so in fact I think this version IS the same one as September 1981, just way out in front due to publishing timelines! May 2, 2019 at 19:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .