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Debugging Long Compilations

  • When the compiler takes a long time time to compile (like 20 to 30 minutes) how does one find out the reason?
  • Is there any option to tell the time taken for each phase, so I know which phase is sinking more time?

Find out where the compiler is spending its time

The first thing to do is to run the compiler with the -v option. That will give you a phase-by-phase breakdown about where the compiler is spending its time. As for debugging long compilation times. it depends on which phase is taking the time. Depending on the particular phase, there are different debugging strategies.

Debugging Strategies by Phase


If scheduling is taking a long time, you can try:

  • To turn down the -scheduler-effort (so the compiler does less aggressive disjointness testing).
  • To break up your design into more modules (since scheduling is O(n^2) in the number of rules, generally speaking).

Static Elaboration

If expanded (i.e. static elaboration) is taking a long time, usually what makes sense is trying to think about what sort of elaboration is going on and trying to make it simpler

  • Replace Lists with Vectors
  • Expressing a computation in a way

where the compiler has to do less optimization and/or rewriting

  • Break the design up into more synthesized modules so there is less inlining, etc.).


If transform (an optimization phase) is taking a long time, usually trying to make boolean predicates simpler and less involved helps, and so on.

Check the Statistics

A second flag you can use is -show-stats, that will tell you various statistics the compiler has noticed about the design (e.g. the number of rules and interface methods). That might be a clue to what's taking all the time. Remember that scheduling is O(n^2) in the number of rules and methods (since the compiler has to at least consider every pair of rules/methods for conflicts). This is one of the reasons breaking up the design into multiple modules can help (since breaking the rules into smaller groups can give you a decent speedup). Another reason is that if a module is instantiated and inlined 10 times, there are 10 copies of its code that the compiler needs to analyze and schedule (a synthesis boundary is what permits the compiler to do this once and remember the results).

Disjointness Testing

One other reason that the scheduler takes a lot of time is disjointness testing. This can be an issue if you have a few rules, but they have very complicated predicates. One way to check if this is an issue is to compile with -scheduler-effort 0 (which effectively turns off disjointness testing). One thing that is a good idea to do with that is to turn on the -warn-scheduler-effort flag, so the compiler will complain if it gives up on disjointness testing (so you know if the lack of disjointness testing is having an impact on the final schedule you're getting).