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PROMPT: A Fast and Extensible Memory Profiling Framework

Ziyang Xu
Yebin Chon
Yian Su
Zujun Tan
Simone Campanoni
David I. August
Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages, vol. 8, Issue OOPSLA (2024)


Memory profiling captures programs' dynamic memory behavior, assisting programmers in debugging, tuning, and enabling advanced compiler optimizations like speculation-based automatic parallelization. As each use case demands its unique program trace summary, various memory profiler types have been developed. Yet, designing practical memory profilers often requires extensive compiler expertise, adeptness in program optimization, and significant implementation effort. This often results in a void where aspirations for fast and robust profilers remain unfulfilled. To bridge this gap, this paper presents PROMPT, a framework for streamlined development of fast memory profilers. With PROMPT, developers need only specify profiling events and define the core profiling logic, bypassing the complexities of custom instrumentation and intricate memory profiling components and optimizations. Two state-of-the-art memory profilers were ported with PROMPT where all features preserved. By focusing on the core profiling logic, the code was reduced by more than 65% and the profiling overhead was improved by 5.3× and 7.1× respectively. To further underscore PROMPT's impact, a tailored memory profiling workflow was constructed for a sophisticated compiler optimization client. In 570 lines of code, this redesigned workflow satisfies the client’s memory profiling needs while achieving more than 90% reduction in profiling overhead and improved robustness compared to the original profilers.

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