A flexible framework for studying trace-based just-in-time compilation

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Just-in-time compilation has proven an effective, though effort-intensive, choice for realizing performant language runtimes. Recently introduced JIT compilation frameworks advocate applying meta-compilation techniques such as partial evaluation or meta-tracing on simple interpreters to reduce the implementation effort. However, such frameworks are few and far between. Designed and highly optimized for performance, they are difficult to experiment with. We therefore present STRAF, a minimalistic yet flexible Scala framework for studying trace-based JIT compilation. STRAF is sufficiently general to support a diverse set of language interpreters, but also sufficiently extensible to enable experiments with trace recording and optimization. We demonstrate the former by plugging two different interpreters into STRAF. We demonstrate the latter by extending STRAF with e.g., constant folding and type-specialization optimizations, which are commonly found in dedicated trace-based JIT compilers. The evaluation shows that STRAF is suitable for prototyping new techniques and formalisms in the domain of trace-based JIT compilation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-47
Number of pages26
JournalComputer Languages, Systems and Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Operational semantics
  • Optimization
  • Trace-based JIT compilation


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