[Python-Dev] Second milestone of FAT Python

Victor Stinner victor.stinner at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 03:50:33 EST 2015


I'm writing a new "FAT Python" project to try to implement optimizations in
CPython (inlining, constant folding, move invariants out of loops, etc.)
using a "static" optimizer (not a JIT). For the background, see the thread
on python-ideas:

See also the documentation:

I implemented the most basic optimization to test my code: replace calls to
builtin functions (with constant arguments) with the result. For example,
len("abc") is replaced with 3. I reached the second milestone: it's now
possible to run the full Python test suite with these optimizations
enabled. It confirms that the optimizations don't break the Python semantic.

>>> def func():
...     return len("abc")
>>> import dis
>>> dis.dis(func)
  2           0 LOAD_GLOBAL              0 (len)
              3 LOAD_CONST               1 ('abc')
              6 CALL_FUNCTION            1 (1 positional, 0 keyword pair)
              9 RETURN_VALUE

>>> len(func.get_specialized())
>>> specialized=func.get_specialized()[0]
>>> dis.dis(specialized['code'])
  2           0 LOAD_CONST               1 (3)
              3 RETURN_VALUE
>>> len(specialized['guards'])

>>> func()

>>> len=lambda obj: "mock"
>>> func()
>>> func.get_specialized()

The function func() has specialized bytecode which returns directly 3
instead of calling len("abc"). The specialized bytecode has two guards
dictionary keys: builtins.__dict__['len'] and globals()['len']. If one of
these keys is modified, the specialized bytecode is simply removed (when
the function is called) and the original bytecode is executed.

You cannot expect any speedup at this milestone, it's just to validate the
implementation. You can only get speedup if you implement *manually*
optimizations. See for example posixpath.isabs() which inlines manually the
call to the _get_sep() function. More optimizations will be implemented in
the third milestone. I don't know yet if I will be able to implement
constant folding, function inlining and/or moving invariants out of loops.

Download, compile and test FAT Python with:

    hg clone http://hg.python.org/sandbox/fatpython
    ./configure && make && ./python -m test test_astoptimizer test_fat

Currently, only 24 functions are specialized in the standard library.
Calling a builtin function with constant arguments in not common (it was
expected, it's only the first step for my optimizer). But 161 functions are
specialized in tests.

To be honest, I had to modify some tests to make them pass in FAT mode. But
most changes are related to the .pyc filename, or to the exact size in
bytes of dictionary objects.

FAT Python is still experimental. Currently, the main bug is that the AST
optimizer can optimize a call to a function which is not the expected
builtin function. I already started to implement code to understand
namespaces (detect global and local variables), but it's not enough yet to
detect when a builtin is overriden. See TODO.rst for known bugs and

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