Most of the time, Lamps in Cycles are just a constant emission closure, no texturing etc. Therefore, running a full shader evaluation is wasteful.
To avoid that, Cycles now detects these constant emission shaders and stores their value in the lamp data along with a flag in the shader.
Then, at runtime, if this flag is set, the lamp code just uses this value and only runs the full shader evaluation if it is neccessary.
In scenes with a lot of lamps and with "Sample all direct/indirect" enabled, this saves up to 20% of rendering time in my tests.