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Statistical profiling for Python

Project Description

This package provides a simple statistical profiler for Python.

Python’s default profiler has been lsprof for several years. This is an instrumenting profiler, which means that it saves data on every action of interest. In the case of lsprof, it runs at function entry and exit. This has problems: it can be expensive due to frequent sampling, and it is blind to hot spots within a function.

In contrast, statprof samples the call stack periodically (by default, 1000 times per second), and it correctly tracks line numbers inside a function. This means that if you have a 50-line function that contains two hot loops, statprof is likely to report them both accurately.


This package does not yet work on Windows! See the implementation and portability notes below for details.

How to get it

Use pip!

pip install statprof-smarkets

Warning: it uses statprof as Python module name so this will conflict with original statprof installation if present.

GitHub project page:

PyPI page:

Basic usage

It’s easy to get started with statprof:

import statprof


Or with a contextmanager:

import statprof

with statprof.profile():

Or from command line:

$ python -m statprof
# or
$ python -m statprof -m script
# or (this may depend on bash because
$ python -m statprof -c "import hashlib"$'\n'"for i in range(10000): hashlib.md5(str(i)).hexdigest()"

For more comprehensive help, run pydoc statprof.


Because statprof uses the Unix itimer signal facility, it does not currently work on Windows. (Patches to improve portability would be most welcome.)

Implementation notes

The statprof profiler works by setting the Unix profiling signal ITIMER_PROF to go off after the interval you define in the call to reset(). When the signal fires, a sampling routine is run which looks at the current procedure that’s executing, and then crawls up the stack, and for each frame encountered, increments that frame’s code object’s sample count. Note that if a procedure is encountered multiple times on a given stack, it is only counted once. After the sampling is complete, the profiler resets profiling timer to fire again after the appropriate interval.

Meanwhile, the profiler keeps track, via os.times(), how much CPU time (system and user – which is also what ITIMER_PROF tracks), has elapsed while code has been executing within a start()/stop() block.

The profiler also tries (as much as possible) to avoid counting or timing its own code.



  • forked
  • refactored
  • added configurable display format (displays full paths by default now)
  • ability to run whole scripts under statprof from command line (thanks to Vincent Driessen and Antony Lee
  • added support for python -mstatprof -c cmd invocation (thanks to Antony Lee)


This package was originally written and released by Andy Wingo. It was ported to modern Python by Alex Frazer, and posted to GitHub by Jeff Muizelaar. Maintained by Bryan O’Sullivan, was forked by Smarkets due to package not being maintaned anymore.

Reporting bugs, contributing patches

Please report bugs using the GitHub issue tracker.

If you’d like to contribute patches, please do - the source is on GitHub, so please just issue a pull request.

$ git clone git://

Release History

This version
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