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The query optimizer faces the same limitations as an optimizing compiler - improving the query as much as it can given limited information, in as short a time as possible.

And it's frequently unsuccessful, for the exact same reasons as optimizing compilers - proper query optimizations require more information and time than what is available to those optimizers.

Hand tuned code created by an expert will always be faster than that produced by an optimizing compiler; hand tuned SQL created by an expert will always be faster than that produced by the query optimizer.




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