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SPUR: A Trace-Based JIT Compiler for CIL

SPUR is a research prototype of a tracing just-in-time compiler (TJIT) for CIL.

What is SPUR?

Tracing just-in-time compilers (TJITs) determine frequently executed traces (hot paths and loops) in running programs and focus their optimization effort by emitting optimized machine code specialized to these traces. Prior work has established this strategy to be especially beneficial for dynamic languages such as JavaScript, where the TJIT interfaces with the interpreter and produces machine code from the JavaScript trace.

This direct coupling with a JavaScript interpreter makes it difficult to harness the power of a TJIT for other components that are not written in JavaScript, e.g., the DOM implementation or the layout engine inside a browser. Furthermore, if a TJIT is tied to a particular high-level language interpreter, it is difficult to reuse it for other input languages as the optimizations are likely targeted at specific idioms of the source language.

We try to addresses these issues in the SPUR research project, where we are developing a prototype TJIT for Microsoft’s Common Intermediate Language CIL (the target language of C#, VisualBasic, F#, and many other languages). Working on CIL enables TJIT optimizations for any program compiled to this platform.