To show just how significant parallelized algorithms can be, today I discovered pxz, a parallelized version of the xz compression utility, which I use constantly. The proof is in the numbers:

Command Before After Ratio Time
xz 2937M 305M 0.104 32m
pxz -9e 2937M 281M 0.096 4m(!)

I put this alias in my .zshrc:

alias tar='tar --use-compress-program=pxz'

Note that to build pxz on the Mac, I had to comment out a reference to MAP_POPULATE, which the OS X’s mmap function doesn’t support.