Ha ha, I am a design/controls engineer who deals with speeds and accelerations on a daily basis and yet I was also confused by Walter's statement.

I guess the confusion arises from what one expects (as opposed to understands) by the word "speed" in the given context.

In the context of compiling my SW programs, I only see a dark console with a blocked cursor which I cannot use and every second waited will be felt directly. I don't see any action or hint of speed. This makes me think that a faster compiler supposed to make me wait less. This creates a kind of mental link between the word "speed" and the feeling of waiting. Hence the expectation: 50% faster compiler should make me wait less by 50%.

Instead of a dark console with a blocked cursor, if I see lots of lines which are been compiled scrolling at very high speed on the screen (like when installing some programs) then I would relate speed with the number of lines scrolling. And my expectation would probably change to: 50% faster compiler would compile 50% more lines per second.

What I am saying is that even though technically we understand what speed is, its the intuitive subjective feeling based on the context which causes an experience of "something doesn't add up".

I will stop blabbering now.

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