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For my two cents, if people want to speed up Lua (totally unnecessary
in my view :-), you're better off looking at the virtual machine.
This VM uses completely ANSI Standard C (totally awesome in my view).
If you want to go for some gcc extensions, or better yet, dynamic
binary translation, you'll eliminate some significant overhead for
dispatching on bytecodes.  The next level beyond that is to do some
type analysis in the style of Self, to remove most dynamic type

Unfortunately all of this is damn difficult.  If people are curious,
you can look in these places for more information:

  * Ian Piumarta's PLDI paper on using gcc extensions to speed

  * Evelyn Duesterwald et al's PLDI paper on the Dynamo system

  * Urs Hoelzle's work on dynamic compilation for Self