Dr. Christian Wimmer

Context-Sensitive Trace Inlining for Java

Christian Häubl, Christian Wimmer, Hanspeter Mössenböck: Context-Sensitive Trace Inlining for Java. In Computer Languages, Systems & Structures, volume 39, issue 4, pages 123–141. Elsevier, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.cl.2013.04.002


Method inlining is one of the most important optimizations in method-based just-in-time (JIT) compilers. It widens the compilation scope and therefore allows optimizing multiple methods as a whole, which increases the performance. However, if method inlining is used too frequently, the compilation time increases and too much machine code is generated. This has negative effects on the performance.

Trace-based JIT compilers only compile frequently executed paths, so-called traces, instead of whole methods. This may result in faster compilation, less generated machine code, and better optimized machine code. In previous work, we implemented a trace recording infrastructure and a trace-based compiler for Java, by modifying the Java HotSpot VM. Based on this work, we evaluate the effect of trace inlining on the performance and the amount of generated machine code.

Trace inlining has several major advantages when compared to method inlining. First, trace inlining is more selective than method inlining, because only frequently executed paths are inlined. Second, the recorded traces may capture information about virtual calls, which simplifies inlining. A third advantage is that trace information is context sensitive so that different method parts can be inlined depending on the specific call site. These advantages allow more aggressive inlining while the amount of generated machine code is still reasonable.

We evaluate several inlining heuristics on the benchmark suites DaCapo 9.12 Bach, SPECjbb2005, and SPECjvm2008 and show that our trace-based compiler achieves an up to 51% higher peak performance than the method-based Java HotSpot client compiler. Furthermore, we show that the large compilation scope of our trace-based compiler has a positive effect on other compiler optimizations such as constant folding or null check elimination.