A really interesting paper about comparison between AST based tree walking interpreters and byte code interpreters: Larose, Kaleba, Burchell and Marr  AST vs. Bytecode: Interpreters in the Age of Meta-Compilation at OOPSLA'23. They compared Python and Smalltalk interpreters with tree walking and bytecode based implementation. Their finding is that AST interpreters using meta compilation (RPython and Truffle+Graal) were faster than byte code counterparts even after applying all relevant optimizations possible for bytecodes.

This is a very interesting result because AST tree walkers are much more easier to construct and to teach (personal experience). #SE @seresearchers