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This is the experiment driver for the benchbuild study

Project description

BenchBuild: Empirical-Research Toolkit

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BenchBuild provides a lightweight toolkit to conduct empirical compile-time and run-time experiments. Striving to automate all tedious and error-prone tasks, it downloads, configure and builds all supported projects fully automatic and provides tools to wrap the compiler and any resulting binary with a customized measurement.

All results can be stored as the user desires. BenchBuild tracks the execution status of all its managed projects inside an own database.


  • Wrap compilation commands with arbitrary measurement functions written in python.
  • Wrap binary commands with arbitrary measurement functions written in python.
  • Parallel benchmarking using the SLURM cluster manager.
  • Compile-time support for the gentoo portage tree using the uchroot command.


You need a working PostgreSQL installation (There is no special reason for PostgreSQL, but the backend is not configurable at the moment). In addition to the PostgreSQL server, you need libpqxx available for the psycopg2 package that benchbuild uses to connect.

benchbuild requires a database and a database user. The default setup of PostgreSQL can be created by executing these two queries:

postgres=# CREATE USER benchbuild;
postgres=# CREATE DATABASE benchbuild;

In case you want to adapt the database settings, checkout the db section in the config file.

Advanced features of benchbuild require header of libfuse to be available on the system.


After you have installed all necessary libraries, you can just clone this repo and install via pip.

$ pip install benchbuild

This will pull in all necessary python libraries into your local python installation. The installed program to control the study is called benchbuild.


benchbuild can be configured in various ways: (1) command-line arguments, (2) configuration file in .json format, (3) environment variables. You can dump the current active configuration with the command:

benchbuild run -d


For detailed API information please refer to the full documentation:

You can dump this information in YAML format using the command:

benchbuild run -s

It dumps _all_ configuration to YAML, even those that are usually derived automatically (like UUIDs). In the future, this will be avoided automatically. For now, you should remove all ID related variables from the resulting YAML file. The configuration file is searched from the current directory upwards automatically. Some key configuration variables:

  BB_BUILD_DIR     The directory we place our temporary artifacts in.
  BB_TMP_DIR       The directory we place our downloads in.
  BB_CLEAN         Should the build directory be cleaned after the run?
  BB_CONFIG_FILE   Where is the config file? If you prefere an absolute location over automatic discovery.
  BB_DB_HOST       Hostname of the database
  BB_DB_NAME       Name of the database
  BB_DB_USER       Username of the database
  BB_DB_PASS       Password of the database
  BB_DB_ROLLBACK   For testing Rollback all db actions after a run.
  BB_JOBS          Number of threads to use for compiling / run-time testing.

You can set these in the .json config file or directly via environment variables. However, make sure that the values you pass in from the environment are valid JSON, or the configuration structure may ignore your input (or break).

SLURM Configuration

If you want to run experiments in parallel on a cluster managed by SLURM, you can use BenchBuild to generate a bash script that is compatible with SLURM's sbatch command. The following settings control SLURM's configuration:

  BB_SLURM_ACCOUNT         The resource account log in to.
  BB_SLURM_CPUS_PER_TASK   How many cores/threads should we request per node?
  BB_SLURM_EXCLUSIVE       Should we request the node exclusively or share it with other tasks?
  BB_SLURM_MAX_RUNNING     We generate array-Jobs. This parameter controls the number of array elements that are allowed to run in parallel.
  BB_SLURM_MULTITHREAD     Should Hyper-Threading be enabled or not?
  BB_SLURM_NICE            Adjust our priority on the cluster manually.
  BB_SLURM_NICE_CLEAN      Adjust the priority of the clean jobs.
  BB_SLURM_NODE_DIR        Where can we place our artifacts on the node?
  BB_SLURM_PARTITION       Which partition should we run in?
  BB_SLURM_SCRIPT          Base name of our resulting batch script.
  BB_SLURM_TIMELIMIT       Enforce a timelimit on our batch jobs.

Gentoo Configuration

BenchBuild supports compile-time experiments on the complete portage tree of Gentoo Linux. You need to configure a few settings to make it work:

  BB_GENTOO_AUTOTEST_LOC           A txt file that lists all gentoo package atoms that should be considered.
  BB_GENTOO_AUTOTEST_FTP_PROXY     Proxy server for gentoo downloads.
  BB_GENTOO_AUTOTEST_HTTP_PROXY    Proxy server for gentoo downloads.
  BB_GENTOO_AUTOTEST_RSYNC_PROXY   Proxy server for gentoo downloads.

Convert an automatic Gentoo project to a static one

Gentoo projects are generated dynamically based on the AutoPortage class found in pprof.gentoo.portage_gen. If you want to define run-time tests for a dynamically generated project, you need to convert it to a static one, i.e., define a subclass of AutoPortage and add it to the configuration.

from pprof.projects.gentoo.portage_gen import AutoPortage

class BZip(AutoPortage):
  NAME = "app-arch"
  DOMAIN = "bzip2"

  def run_tests(self, run):
    """Add your custom test routines here."""

Now we just need to add this to the plugin registry via benchbuild's configuration file @ CFG["plugins"]["projects"].

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