1 Toplevel Interface
profile-thunk
profile
2 Collecting Profile Information
create-sampler
3 Analyzing Profile Data
analyze-samples
profile
node
edge
4 Profile Renderers
4.1 Textual Rendering
render
4.2 Graph Rendering
render
Version: 4.2.1

Profile: Statistical Profiler

The profile collection implements a statistical profiler. The profiling is done by running a background thread that collects stack snapshots via continuation-mark-set->context, meaning that the result is an estimate of the execution costs and it is limited to the kind of information that continuation-mark-set->context produces (most notably being limited to functions calls, and subject to compiler optimizations); but the result is often useful. In practice, since this method does not require recompilation of your source and has very little runtime overhead, it can be used for longer runs which compensates for these limits.

    1 Toplevel Interface

    2 Collecting Profile Information

    3 Analyzing Profile Data

    4 Profile Renderers

      4.1 Textual Rendering

      4.2 Graph Rendering

1 Toplevel Interface

 (require profile)

This module provides one procedure and one macroxs that are convenient high-level entry points for timing expressions. This hides the details that are available through other parts of the library, and is intended as a convenient tool for profiling code.

(profile-thunk thunk    
  [#:delay delay    
  #:repeat iterations    
  #:threads threads?    
  #:render renderer    
  #:periodic-renderer periodic-renderer])  void?
  thunk : (-> any/c)
  delay : nonnegative-number? = 0.05
  iterations : exact-nonnegative-integer? = 1
  threads? : any/c = #f
  renderer : (profile? . -> . any/c) = text:render
  periodic-renderer : (or/c #f (list/c nonnegative-number? (profile? . -> . any/c)))
   = #f
Executes the given thunk while collecting profiling data, and render this data when done. Keyword arguments can customize the profiling:
  • The profiler works by create-sampler starting a “sampler” thread whose job is to collect stack samples periodically (using continuation-mark-set->context). delay determines the amount of time the sampler sleeps for between samples. Note that this is will be close, but not identical to, the frequency in which data is actually sampled.

  • When the profiled computation takes a short amount of time, the collected data will not be accurate. In this case, you can specify an iterations argument to repeat the evaluation a number of times which will improve the accuracy of the resulting report.

  • Normally, the sampler collects snapshots of the current-thread’s stack. If there is some computation that happens on a different thread, that work will not be reflected in the results: the only effect will be suspiciously small value for the observed time, because the collected data is taking into account the cpu time that the thread actually performed (it uses current-process-milliseconds with the running thread as an argument). Specifying a non-#f value for the threads? argument will arrange for all threads that are started during the evaluation to be tracked. Note that this means that the computation will actually run in a new sub-custodian, as this is the only way to be able to track such threads.

  • Once the computation has finished, the sampler is stopped, and the accumulated data is collected. It is then analyzed by analyze-samples, and the analyzed profile data is fed into a renderer. Use an identity function (values) to get the analyzed result, and render it yourself, or use one of the existing renderers (see Profile Renderers).

  • The periodic-renderer argument can be set to a list holding a delay time and a renderer. In this case, the given renderer will be called periodically. This is useful for cases where you want a dynamically updated display of the results. This delay should be larger than the sampler delay.

(profile expr keyword-arguments ...)
A macro version of profile-thunk. The keyword arguments can be specified in the same was as for a function call: they can appear before and/or after the expression to be profiled.

2 Collecting Profile Information

 (require profile/sampler)

(create-sampler to-track delay [super-cust])
  ((symbol?) (any/c) . ->* . any/c)
  to-track : 
(or/c thread? custodian?
      (listof (or/c thread? custodian?)))
  delay : nonnegative-number?
  super-cust : custodian? = (current-custodian)
Creates a sample collector thread, which tracks the given to-track value every delay seconds. The to-track value can be either a thread (track just that thread), a custodian (track all threads managed by the custodian), or a list of threads and/or custodians. If a custodian is given, it must be subordinate to super-cust, which defaults to the current custodian.

The resulting value is a controller function, which consumes a message consisting of a symbol and an optional argument, and can affect the sampler. The following messages are currently supported:
  • 'pause and 'resume will stop or resume data collection. These messages can be nested. Note that the thread will continue running it will just stop collecting snapshots.

  • 'stop kills the controlled thread. It should be called when no additional data should be collected. (This is currently irreversible: there is no message to start a new sampler thread.)

  • 'set-tracked! with a value will change the tracked objects (initially specified as the to-track argument) to the given value.

  • 'set-tracked! with a value will change the delay that the sampler us taking between snapshots. Note that although changing this means that the snapshots are not uniformly distributed, the results will still be sensible – this is because the cpu time between samples is taken into account when the resulting data is analyzed.

  • Finally, a 'get-snapshots message will make the controller return the currently collected data. Note that this can be called multiple times, each call will return the data thatis collected up to that point in time. In addition, it can be (and usually is) called after the sampler was stopped.

    The value that is returned should be considered as an undocumented internal detail of the profiler, to be sent to analyze-samples for analysis. The reason this is not done automatically, is that a future extension might allow you to combine several sampler results, making it possible to combine a profile analysis from several individual runs, possibly from different machines.

3 Analyzing Profile Data

 (require profile/analyzer)

Once a profile run is done, and the results are collected, the next step is to analyze the data. In this step the sample time are computed and summed, a call-graph representing the observed function calls is built, and per-node and per-edge information is created. This is the job of the main function provided by profile/analyzer.

(analyze-samples raw-sample-data)  profile?
  raw-sample-data : any/c
This function consumes the raw result of the sampler (which is given in an undocumented form), analyzes it, and returns a profile value holding the analyzed results. Without this function, the results of the sampler are meaningless.

(struct profile (total-time
    cpu-time
    sample-number
    thread-times
    nodes
    *-node))
  total-time : exact-nonnegative-integer?
  cpu-time : exact-nonnegative-integer?
  sample-number : exact-nonnegative-integer?
  thread-times : 
(listof (cons exact-nonnegative-integer?
              exact-nonnegative-integer?))
  nodes : (listof node?)
  *-node : node?
Represents the analyzed profile result.

(struct node (id src thread-ids total self callers callees))
  id : (or/c #f symbol?)
  src : (or/c #f srcloc?)
  thread-ids : (listof exact-nonnegative-integer?)
  total : exact-nonnegative-integer?
  self : exact-nonnegative-integer?
  callers : (listof edge?)
  callees : (listof edge?)
Represents a function call node in the call graph of an analyzed profile result.

(struct edge (total caller caller-time callee callee-time))
  total : exact-nonnegative-integer?
  caller : node?
  caller-time : exact-nonnegative-integer?
  callee : node?
  callee-time : exact-nonnegative-integer?
Represents an edge between two function call nodes in the call graph of an analyzed profile result.

4 Profile Renderers

After collecting the profile samples and analyzing the data, the last aspect of profiling is to render the results. The profile collection provides several renderers, each providing a rendering function that consumes a profile instance. See the analyzer section for a description of the profile struct if you want to implement your own renderer.

4.1 Textual Rendering

 (require profile/render-text)

(render profile-data    
  [#:truncate-source truncate-source    
  #:hide-self hide-self%    
  #:hide-subs hide-subs%])  void?
  profile-data : profile?
  truncate-source : exact-nonnegative-integer? = 50
  hide-self% : (between/c 0 1) = 1/100
  hide-subs% : (between/c 0 1) = 1/50
Prints the given profile results as a textual table.

The printout begins with some general facts about the profile, and then a table that represents the call-graph is printed. Each row in this table looks like:

                          B [M1] M2%
  [N1] N2(N3%) N4(N5%)  A ...path/to/source.ss:12:34
                          C [M3] M4%

Where actual numbers appear in the printout. The meaning of the numbers and labels is as follows:
  • A – the name of the function that this node represents, followed by the source location for the function if it is known. The name can be “???” for functions with no identifier, but in this case the source location will identify them.

  • N1 – an index number associated with this node. This is important in references to this function, since the symbolic names are not unique (and some can be missing). The number itself has no significance, it simply goes from 1 up.

  • N2 – the time (in milliseconds) that this function has been anywhere in a stack snapshot. This is the total time that the execution was somewhere in this function or in its callees. (Corresponds to the node-total field.)

  • N3 – this is the percentage of the node’s total time (N2) from the total observed time of the profile. An entry with a 100% refers to a function that was active throughout the whole execution.

  • N4 – the time (in milliseconds) that this function has been at the top of the stack snapshot. This is the time that this function consumed doing work itself rather than calling other functions. (Corresponds to the node-self field.)

  • N5 – this is the percentage of N4 out of the total observed time of the profile. Functions with high values here can be good candidates for optimization, But, of course, they can represent doing real work due to one of its callers that need to be optimized.

  • B and C – these are labels for the callers and callees of the function. Any number of callers and callees can appear here (including 0). The function itself can also appear in both places if it is (non-tail) recursive.

  • M1 and M3 – the index numbers for B and C. They can be used to disambiguate functions with the same name, as well as a quick way to find the corresponding entry in the table.

  • M2 and M4 – the percentages of the time A spent being called by B and calling C. These percentages represent the time that this edge was found on a stack snapshot, divided by the number of occurrences of A on the same snapshot. The number is the percentage of these times out of N2, the total time A has been active.

    The total percentages for the all caller and for all callees should be close to 100% minus the time A was the leaf or the root.

    These values correspond to the edge-caller-time and edge-callee-time fields; see the documentation for further details.

The function has a few keyword arguments to customize its output:
  • The truncate-source argument determines the length that the source string should take (together with its label).

  • hide-self% and hide-subs% control hiding some of the nodes. A node is hidden if its self time (N3 in the above example) is smaller than hide-self% and if all places where it occurs as a caller or a callee have percentages that are smaller than hide-subs%. The reason for requiring both conditions is to avoid having “dangling references” to hidden nodes.

4.2 Graph Rendering

 (require profile/render-graphviz)

(render profile-data    
  [#:hide-self hide-self%    
  #:hide-subs hide-subs%])  void?
  profile-data : profile?
  hide-self% : (between/c 0 1) = 1/100
  hide-subs% : (between/c 0 1) = 1/50
Prints the given profile results as a Graphviz directed graph.

This is an experimental module, provided mostly as a proof-of-concept. It renders the profile’s call-graph as a graph representation for one of the Graphviz tools to render. Nodes are colored according to their `self’ percentages, and edges.

The keyword arguments control hiding nodes in the same way as with the textual renderer.