C++ as a research language

Ansif Ibrahimkutty
2 min readSep 19, 2023

C++ is commonly used as a research language in various fields due to its flexibility, performance, and extensive libraries. Here are some reasons why C++ is a popular choice for research:

  1. Performance: C++ allows researchers to write high-performance code, making it suitable for computationally intensive tasks. Its ability to work closely with hardware and provide low-level control over memory and resources is crucial for many research applications, such as simulations and numerical analysis.
  2. Portability: C++ code can often be easily ported across different platforms, which is important for researchers who need to run experiments on various hardware and operating systems.
  3. Extensive Libraries: C++ has a vast ecosystem of libraries and frameworks that cover a wide range of research areas. Researchers can leverage existing libraries to speed up their work and focus on solving research-specific problems.
  4. Compatibility: C++ can be integrated with other programming languages, such as Python, through various interfaces (e.g., Boost.Python or SWIG). This allows researchers to combine the strengths of C++ for performance-critical components with the ease of use of other languages for scripting and data analysis.
  5. Parallelism and Multithreading: C++ offers support for multithreading and parallelism through features like the Standard Template Library (STL), which includes thread support. This is essential for research involving concurrent processing, simulations, and distributed systems.
  6. Object-Oriented and Generic Programming: C++ supports both object-oriented and generic programming paradigms, making it suitable for a wide range of research methodologies and approaches.
  7. Low-Level Control: Researchers can have fine-grained control over memory management and system resources in C++, which is important for research in areas like operating systems, embedded systems, and hardware design.
  8. Legacy Code: In some research fields, there may be existing C or C++ codebases that researchers need to build upon or interface with. C++ allows seamless integration with legacy code, enabling incremental research advancements.
  9. Community and Documentation: C++ has a large and active community of developers and researchers. This community provides valuable resources, including documentation, forums, and open-source projects, which can aid researchers in their work.

While C++ offers many advantages for research, it’s important to note that it can have a steeper learning curve compared to some other languages due to its complexity. Researchers often choose C++ when they require the combination of high performance, low-level control, and access to a wide range of libraries and tools. However, the choice of programming language for research should ultimately depend on the specific needs and goals of the research project.