In a bunch of recent "code golfs" (code golf offs?) on SO, best answers are always those that work and have the fewest characters. For compiled and interpreted languages, though, the latter criterion produces code that is short but hard to read (bad code, in the eyes of those who favor clarity over concision... it does produce cool code though.)
I'm thinking of some kind of criterion that is not "bytes of code." I'm thinking of something like "number of instructions," but I have no idea if that criterion would work. The idea is for the code to be as efficient as possible for the compiler/interpreter, but as humanly readable as possible. What criterion would work? How would you express it? How would you measure code (time benchmarks, perhaps)?
Lastly, are there any code golf-offs like this? How do they work?