Eliminating Abstraction Overhead of Java Stream Pipelines using Ahead-of-Time Program Optimization

Anders Møller and Oskar Haarklou Veileborg

Java 8 introduced streams that allow developers to work with collections of data using functional-style operations. Streams are often used in pipelines of operations for processing the data elements, which leads to concise and elegant program code. However, the declarative data processing style comes at a cost. Compared to processing the data with traditional imperative language mechanisms, constructing stream pipelines requires extra heap objects and virtual method calls, which often results in significant run-time overheads.

In this work we investigate how to mitigate these overheads to enable processing data in the declarative style without sacrificing performance. We argue that ahead-of-time bytecode-to-bytecode transformation is a suitable approach to optimization of stream pipelines, and we present a static analysis that is designed to guide such transformations. Experimental results show a significant performance gain, and that the technique works for realistic stream pipelines. For 10 of 11 micro-benchmarks, the optimizer is able to produce bytecode that is as effective as hand-written imperative-style code. Additionally, 77% of 6879 stream pipelines found in real-world Java programs are optimized successfully.

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