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Software development tool to visualize runtime statistics about your program and correlate them with its phases

Project description

Chrones is a software development tool to visualize runtime statistics (CPU percentage, GPU percentage, memory usage, etc.) about your program and correlate them with the phases of your program.

It aims at being very simple to use and provide useful information out-of-the box and at being customizable to your specific use cases.

Here is an example of graph produced by Chrones about a shell script launching a few executables (single-threaded, custom multi-threaded, OpenMP multi-threaded, and CUDA):

@todo Insert example image

Chrones was sponsored by Laurent Cabaret from the MICS and written by Vincent Jacques.

@todo (Laurent) Review the paragraph about sponsoring above

It's licensed under the MIT license. Its documentation and source code are on GitHub.

@todo (Laurent) Is MIT license above OK?

Questions? Remarks? Bugs? Want to contribute? Open an issue!

Conceptual overview

Chrones consist of three parts: instrumentation (optional), monitoring and reporting.

The instrumentation part of Chrones runs inside your program after you've modified it. It's used as a library for your programming language. To use it, you add one-liners to the functions you want to know about. After that, your program logs insider timing information about these functions.

The monitoring part is a wrapper around your program. It runs your program as you instruct it to, preserving its access to the standard input and outputs, the environment, and its command-line. While doing so, it monitors your program's whole process tree and logs resource usage metrics.

The reporting part of Chrones reads the logs produced by the instrumentation and monitoring, and produces human-readable reports including graphs.

The instrumentation part of Chrones is completely optional. You can use the monitoring part on non-instrumented programs, or even on partially instrumented programs like a shell script calling an instrumented executable and a non-instrumented executable. The graphs produced by Chrones' reporting will just miss information about your program's phases.

We've chosen the command-line as the main user interface for Chrones' to allow easy integration into your automated workflows. It can also be used as a Python library for advanced use-cases.

Please note that Chrones currently only works on Linux. Furthermore, the C++ instrumentation requires g++. We would gladly accept contributions that extend Chrones' usability.

Chrones' instrumentation libraries are available for Python, C++ and the shell language.

Expected performance

The instrumentation part of Chrones accurately measures and reports durations down to the millisecond. Its monitoring part takes samples a few times per second. No nanoseconds in this project; Chrones is well suited for programs that run for longer than a dozen seconds.

Overhead introduced by Chrones in C++ programs is less than a second per million instrumented blocks. Don't use it for functions called billions of times.

Get started

Install Chrones

The monitoring and reporting parts of Chrones are distributed as a Python package on PyPI. Install them with pip install Chrones.

And at the moment that's all you need.

The instrumentation parts are distributed in language-specific ways.

The Python version comes with the Chrones Python packages you've just installed.

The C++ and shell languages don't really have package managers, so the C++ and shell versions happen to also be distributed within the Python package.

Versions for other languages will be distributed using the appropriate packages managers.

(Optional) Instrument your code


The instrumentation libraries are based on the following concepts:


The coordinator is a single object that centralizes measurements and writes them into a log file.

It also takes care of enabling or disabling instrumentation: the log will be created if and only if it detects it's being run inside Chrones' monitoring. This lets you run your programm outside Chrones' monitoring as if it was not instrumented.


A chrone is the main instrumentation tool. You can think of it as a stopwatch that logs an event when it's started and another event when it's stoped.

Multiple chrones can be nested. This makes them particularly suitable to instrument structured code with blocks and functions (i.e. the vast majority of modern programs). From the log of the nested chrones, Chrones' reporting is able to reconstruct the evolution of the call stack(s) of the program.

@todo Talk about name, label, and index


@todo Define, explain the added value

Language-specific instructions

The Chrones instrumentation library is currently available for the following languages:


First, import Chrones and initialize the coordinator with:

eval $(chrones shell activate program-name)

where program-name is... the name of your program.

You can then use the two functions chrones_start and chrones_stop to instrument your shell functions:

function foo {
    chrones_start foo

    # Do something


@todo Name, label, and index


First, #include <chrones.hpp>. The header is distributed within Chrones' Python package. You can get is location with chrones config c++ header-location, that you can pass to the -I option of you compiler. For example, g++ foo.cpp -I$(chrones config c++ header-location) -o foo.

Create the coordinator at global scope, before your main function:


int main() {
    // Do something

where program-name is... the name of your program.

Then you can instrument functions and blocks using the CHRONE macro:

void foo() {

    // Do something

void bar() {
    // Do something

        CHRONE("block label");

Chrones' instrumentation can be statically disabled by passing -DCHRONES_DISABLED to the compiler. In that case, all macros provided by the header will be empty and your code will compile exactly as if it was not using Chrones.

@todo Name, label, and index


First, import Chrones' decorator: from chrones.instumentation import chrone.

Then, decorate your functions:

def foo():
    # Do something

You can also instrument blocks that are not functions:

with chrone("bar"):
    # Do something

@todo Name, label, and index

Run using chrones run

Compile your executable(s) if required. Then launch them using chrones run -- your_program --with --its --options.

Everything before the -- is interpreted as options for chrones run. Everything after is passed as-is to your program. The standard input and output are passed unchanged to your program.

Have a look at chrones run --help for its detailed usage.

Generate report

Run chrones report to generate a report in the current directory.

Have a look at chrones report --help for its detailed usage.

Use Chrones as a library

Out of the box, Chrones produces generic reports and graphs, but you can customize them by using Chrones as a Python library.

@todo Describe

Code of the example image

As a complete example, here is the code of the shell script that was used to generate the example image at the top of this file:

@todo Create shell script

And the various executables called by the script:

@todo Create code for each executable

This code is compiled using these commands:

@todo Create shell script for compiling

And executed like this:

@todo Create shell script for running

@todo Generate the example image using codes and commands above (literraly, by automating extracting them from this very file during ./

Developing Chrones itself


  • a reasonably recent version of Docker
  • a reasonably recent version of Bash

To build everything and run all tests:

./ --long

To skip particularly long tests:


Or even:

./ --quick

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