Dr. Christian Wimmer

Tracing for Web 3.0 - Trace Compilation for the Next Generation Web Applications

Mason Chang, Edwin Smith, Rick Reitmaier, Michael Bebenita, Andreas Gal, Christian Wimmer, Brendan Eich, Michael Franz: Tracing for Web 3.0 - Trace Compilation for the Next Generation Web Applications. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, pages 71–80. ACM Press, 2009. doi:10.1145/1508293.1508304

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Today's web applications are pushing the limits of modern web browsers. The emergence of the browser as the platform of choice for rich client-side applications has shifted the use of in-browser JavaScript from small scripting programs to large computationally intensive application logic. For many web applications, JavaScript performance has become one of the bottlenecks preventing the development of even more interactive client side applications. While traditional just-in-time compilation is successful for statically typed virtual machine based languages like Java, compiling JavaScript turns out to be a challenging task. Many JavaScript programs and scripts are short-lived, and users expect a responsive browser during page loading. This leaves little time for compilation of JavaScript to generate machine code.

We present a trace-based just-in-time compiler for JavaScript that uses run-time profiling to identify frequently executed code paths, which are compiled to executable machine code. Our approach increases execution performance by up to 116% by decomposing complex JavaScript instructions into a simple Forth-based representation, and then recording the actually executed code path through this low-level IR. Giving developers more computational horsepower enables a new generation of innovative web applications.