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Idaho State University

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Bum*
  • vt. To make highly efficient, either in time or space, often at the expense of clarity. "I managed to bum three more instructions out of that code. " "I spent half the night bumming the interrupt code. " In elder days, John McCarthy (inventor of LISP) used to compare some efficiency-obsessed hackers among his students to "ski bums"; thus, optimization became "program bumming", and eventually just "bumming".
  • To squeeze out excess; to remove something in order to improve whatever it was removed from (without changing function; this distinguishes the process from a featurectomy).
  • n. A small change to an algorithm, program, or hardware device to make it more efficient. "This hardware bum makes the jump instruction faster. " Usage now uncommon, largely superseded by v. tune (and n. tweak, hack), though none of these exactly capture sense 2.
  • All these uses are rare in Commonwealth hackish, because in the parent dialects of English `bum' is a rude synonym for `buttocks'.