Erlang Is Seeing Work On "BeamAsm" - A JIT Compiler Yielding Much Performance Uplift

Written by Michael Larabel in Programming on 13 September 2020 at 07:00 AM EDT. 4 Comments
Lukas Larsson of Erlang Solutions is proposing "BeamAsm" as a JIT compiler for the Erlang virtual machine.

Erlang/OTP could soon be the latest programming language featuring a just-in-time compiler. With BeamAsm, Erlang instructions are turned into native code on x86-64 making use of ASMJIT. While at the moment only x86-64 is working, support for ARM 64-bit is also in the works.

The performance results with BeamAsm for JIT'ing Erlang are quite impressive:
For example, the number of Estones as computed by the estone benchmark suite becomes about 50% larger, meaning about 50% more work can be done during the same time period. Individual benchmarks within the estone benchmark suite vary from a 170% increase (pattern matching) to no change at all (huge messages). So, not surprising, computation heavy workload can show quite a large gain, while communication heavy workloads remain about the same.

If we run the JSON benchmarks found in the Poison or Jason, BeamAsm achieves anything from 30% to 130% increase (average at about 70%) in the number of iterations per second for all Erlang/Elixir implementations. For some benchmarks, BeamAsm is even faster than the pure C implementation jiffy.

More complex applications tend to see a more moderate performance increase, for instance, RabbitMQ is able to handle 30% to 50% more messages per second depending on the scenario.

While having the potential of being much faster, the jIT'ed Erlang uses more system memory (around 10%) compared to its traditional interpreter.

More details on the BeamAsm just-in-time support via this pull request.
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