Is there a way to tell if ANY machine on ANY input will halt in fewer than n steps OTHER than running the machine for n steps?
I've read the similar questions and answers such as here, but I wanted to make sure that they were talking about any machine on any input, not a particular machine or on a particular input.
If it is possible, I'd love for someone to explain intuitively how it's possible generally. Is it done by simulating the Turing machine more efficiently, or is it done by analyzing the Turing machine syntactically and deducing that it must run in n or fewer steps? I'm also curious how it's possible in the specific case, but that is not this question.
I'm trying to come at it from Rice's Theorem, here. It's clearly a decidable property, even generally, since you can run the machine for n steps, but is it decidable by any method other than that?