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how is C good at expressing algorithms

Fundamental algorithms can't be expressed sanely in anything other than C. How the heck do you implement a hash table in perl, for example?

Sure, higher-level languages provide some data structures; but they're not always going to have the internal tradeoffs required to make them a good fit for your problem space. A few weeks ago I had to rewrite malloc (well, technically I added a caching layer in front of it) in order to get a 4x speedup to my code -- you're never going to do that in a language which doesn't even admit that malloc exists.

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