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Staying out in the open

Back in July, Anandtech publicized some research about possible benchmark optimizations in the Galaxy S4. Yesterday, Anandtech published a much more comprehensive article, “The State of Cheating in Android Benchmarks.” It’s well worth the read.

Anandtech doesn’t accuse any of the benchmarks of being biased—it’s the OEMS who are supposedly doing the optimizations. I will note that none of the XPRT benchmarks are among the whitelisted CPU tests. That being said, I imagine that everyone in the benchmark game is concerned about any implication that their benchmark could be biased.

When I was a kid, my parents taught me that it’s a lot harder to cheat in the open. This is one of the reasons we believe so strongly in the community model for software development. The source code is available to anyone who joins the community. It’s impossible to hide any biases. At the same time, it allows us to control derivative works. That’s necessary to avoid biased versions of the benchmarks being published. We think the community model strikes the right balance.

However, any time there is a system, someone will try to game it. We’ll always be on the lookout for optimizations that happen outside the benchmarks.


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