Hop, skip, & jump: Practical on-stack replacement for a cross-platform language-neutral VM

Kunshan Wang, Stephen M. Blackburn, Antony L. Hosking, Michael Norrish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

On-stack replacement (OSR) is a performance-critical technology for many languages, especially dynamic languages. Conventional wisdom, apparent in JavaScript engines such as V8 and SpiderMonkey, is that OSR must be implemented in a low-level (i.e., in assembly) and language-specific way. This paper presents an OSR abstraction based on Swapstack, materialized as the API for a low-level virtual machine, and shows how the abstraction of resumption protocols facilitates an elegant implementation of this API on real hardware. Using an experimental JavaScript implementation, we demonstrate that this API enables the language implementation to perform OSR without the need to deal with machine-level details. We also show that the API itself is implementable on concrete hardware. This work helps crystallize OSR abstractions and, by providing a reusable implementation, brings OSR within reach for more language implementers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalACM SIGPLAN Notices
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2018

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