Now that I've had some time to kick it around, this is actually a great example. My Python program solves the sample problem in 1 second. In Perl, using Math::BigInt with the default backend, it takes 10 seconds. With the GMP backend, 5 seconds. With Math::GMP, 1 second, same as Python. By resorting to vile trickery, I was able to get the Perl to run in 0.5 seconds with no modules at all. Here's the kicker, though: the Python program runs in 0.1 second under PyPy (basically JIT compiled Python).