Mark Bell added the comment:

I ran some timing tests of the patch I submitted to compare it to the current 
build of Python. Using timit on the current master branch I got:

    python.exe -m timeit "sum(())"    .... 1.12 usec per loop
    python.exe -m timeit "sum((), 0)" .... 1.22 usec per loop

And for the patched version:

    python.exe -m timeit "sum(())"    .... 1.46 usec per loop
    python.exe -m timeit "sum((), 0)" .... 1.57 usec per loop

However my patch wasn't just the simple argument clinic change suggested by 
serhiy.storchaka, so maybe that would be more efficient and easier to 


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