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Erlang on LLVM? or: Outsource your JIT!
Has anyone been working on using LLVM to do just-in-time code generation for the Erlang virtual machine?

Depending on the design and structure of the Erlang virtual machine, it doesn't seem like it would be all that tough a project. And it could provide a nice performance boost for those projects that are starting to use Erlang like CouchDB and ejabberd.

For an example of what I'm talking about, there's a project called VMKit that has implemented the Java and .NET virtual machines atop LLVM with reasonable performance. Essentially, if you have a virtual machine, rather than skipping either just-in-time or static code generation entirely, or trying to do it all yourself for some specific platform on which you want to run, take a look at what you can do with LLVM and see if you can leverage its code generation instead.

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The VMKit performance is reasonable if you ignore the compilation overhead. If you take that into consideration, it's substantially slower than both the Java and .NET VMs.

Yeah, I'm referring to performance of compiled code.

It also doesn't do any form of hotspotting yet, so that's to be expected. It's still a prototype ;-)


This would be one interesting project.

One thing you mention, an optimizer for specific platforms, exists in form of HIPE ( warning, eye-cancer (sorry guys :)).

The basic idea of the Erlang VM characteristics, is that with high load, latency grows and if latency is too big, you add more hardware instead of just failing when a certain level of concurrency is reached. Individual request performance is not a primary concern, concurrency and fault-tolerance is.

That said, if you could process more requests to begin with, you could save buying new hardware. And we certainly wouldn't mind if CouchDB would run a lot faster as a result from such a project.

Is anyone picking this up?

Apache CouchDB Team

Some parts may be difficult - depending on how the erlang virtual machine handles the message passing between processes.

but yes, it could be very interesting to do something similar to vmkit with it.


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