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Lazy programs are beautiful, but they are slow because they build many thunks. Simple measurements show that most of these thunks are unnecessary: they are in fact always evaluated, or are always cheap. In this paper we describe Optimistic Evaluation -an evaluation strategy that exploits this observation. Optimistic Evaluation complements compile-time analyses with run-time experiments: it evaluates a thunk speculatively, but has an abortion mechanism to back out if it makes a bad choice. Adoi:10.1145/944746.944731 fatcat:vs4vh64egfcvpi72xfvilkbceq