Writing this article while listening to Falco’s Vienna Calling brought up some memories of the software projects nurturing my interest in software optimization. The open source mp3 audio encoder lame is one of those and serves as a good motivational example for today’s topic. Made possible thanks to - at the time - innovative algorithms and a considerable amount of software optimization. More modern examples include projects like OpenCV, compiler frameworks like llvm or video decoders like dav1d. All of these projects have in common that they would be much less useful without optimization. In this blog post I’d like to share some of my thoughts on optimization approaches and the possibilities (GPU programming, vector instructions, parallelization, …) at our fingertips.