|Just another Perl shrine|
I had to pick correct. This question reminds me of a story I read in The Psychology of Computer Programming by Gerald Weinberg, referenced in this short excerpt from Code Complete by Steve McConnell (shamelessly stolen from here):
A fast program is just as important as a correct one--False! It's hardly ever true that programs need to be fast or small before they need to be correct. Gerald Weinberg tells the story of a programmer who was flown to Detroit to help debug a program that was in trouble. The programmer worked with the team of programmers who had developed the program, and after several days he concluded that the situation was hopeless.
On the flight home, he mulled over the last few days and realized the true problem. By the end of the flight, he had outlined the necessary code. He tested it for several days and was about to return to Detroit when he got a telegram saying the project had been cancelled because the program was impossible to write. He headed back to Detroit anyway and convinced the executives that the project could be completed.
He then had to convince the project's original programmers. They listened to his presentation, and when he'd finished, the creator of the old system asked,
"And how long does your program take?"
"That varies, but about ten seconds per input."
"Aha! But my program takes only one second per input." The veteran leaned back, satisfied that he'd stumped the upstart programmer. The other programmers seemed to agree, but the new programmer wasn't intimidated.
"Yes, but your program doesn't work. If mine doesn't have to work, I can make it run instantly and take up no memory. "