Harvard, MIT develop code that makes webpages load 34 percent faster

By Shawn Knight
Mar 9, 2016
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  1. Advancements in technology have allowed us to load websites at breakneck speeds compared to what was possible just a couple of decades ago. As these technologies have evolved, so too have the complexity of the websites we call upon. It's sort of like leveling up your character in a video game only to be met by tougher enemies.

    Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Harvard have been working on the matter since 2014 and have come up with a solution they say can improve page load times by an average of 34 percent. The framework is called Polaris and here's how it works (in Layman's terms).

    When you navigate to a website, a lot of back-and-forth communication is happening in the background to fetch the site. This travel takes time and the more trips that are needed, the more time is wasted which ultimately results in a slower loading website for the end-user. Polaris aims to minimize the number of round trips and ultimately speed up page load times.

    Harvard professor James Mickens likens it to a travelling businessperson. When the person visits one city, they may sometimes discover more cities they need to visit before returning home. If the businessperson had the entire list of cities ahead of time, they could then plan the fastest route possible. Without the list, they're left discovering new cities as they go, resulting in unnecessary zigzagging between far-away cities.

    For a web browser, he says, loading all of a page's objects is like visiting all of the cities. Polaris effectively provides a list of all the cities before the trip begins which is what allows it to speed up page load times.

    Because it is written in JavaScript, Polaris can be used with virtually any browser and deployed on a site-by-site basis. The end game, however, is to eventually have the functionality baked into web browsers as that would allow for additional optimizations for even more speed.

    Image via Zurijeta, Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 616   +143

    34% faster....makes me think which pages and what type of connection...faster is better
  3. fl21289

    fl21289 TS Booster Posts: 57   +37

    When I read its a Javascript I lost all interest to this. I want nothing to do with Java or Flash on my webpages. I'll be my ad blocker which already loads pages fast as it is.
  4. SolarisGuru

    SolarisGuru TS Rookie

    Java is to JavaScript as Car is to Carpet... They are very different things.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
    Tuxie and Arturo like this.
  5. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    So pages that normally take less than a second will take less than a second now, fantastic.
  6. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,291   +55

    Why not compile them?
  7. lalaman

    lalaman TS Member Posts: 25

  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,936

    I'll bet Google's got their bloodshot, beady eyes on this.
  9. deemon

    deemon TS Booster Posts: 199   +46

    Isn't this like.... reinventing wheel? Hasn't this been around for like 3 decades now in one form or another?
  10. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Maniac Posts: 161   +197

  11. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    So, your 78 + their 34 will have pages loading before you click a link.
    Reminds me of the gas saving devices for cars in the 70s and early 80s. Put enough on your car and you'd need to keep stopping to drain the fuel tank.
  12. turismozilla

    turismozilla TS Enthusiast Posts: 53   +10

    This is nice, but it also opens the door for more ads, heavier ads.

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