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Programming language: Haskell
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Fibon in a Flash

$ git clone git://github.com/dmpots/fibon.git
$ cd fibon
$ git submodule update --init benchmarks
$ cabal configure && cabal build
$ ./dist/build/fibon-run/fibon-run


Fibon is a set of tools for running and analyzing benchmark programs in Haskell. Most importantly, it includes an optional set of new benchmarks including many programs taken from the Hackage open source repository.

Fibon is a pure Haskell framework for running and analyzing benchmarks. Cabal is used for building the benchmarks, and the benchmark harness, configuration files, and benchmark descriptions are all written in Haskell. The benchmark descriptions and run configurations are all statically compiled into the benchmark runner to ensure that configuration errors are found at compile time.

The Fibon tools are not tied to any compiler infrastructure and can build benchmarks using any compiler supported by cabal. However, there are some extra features available when using GHC to build the benchmarks:

  • Support in config files for inplace GHC HEAD builds
  • Support in fibon-run for collecting GC stats from GHC compiled programs
  • Support in fibon-analyse for reading GC stats from Fibon result files


Fibon makes it easy to use either the Fibon benchmarks or your own set of benchmarks. Benchmarks are stored in the benchmarks/Fibon/Benchmarks directory. This directory is setup as a git submodule which means you can easily grab the standard suite or use a suite kept under your own source control.

The default suite of benchmarks is stored in the fibon-benchmarks repository on github.

Benchmark Groups

Benchmarks are named and organized into groups based on the filesystem organization. For example, a benchmark in the directory benchmarks/Fibon/Benchmarks/Hackage/Agum will have the name Agum an be in the benchmark group Hackage.

Benchmark Size

Fibon benchmarks can be run with three different input sizes: Test, Train and Ref. The Test size is useful to make sure that a benchmark can run successfully, but will not give meaningful timings. The Train size can be used to make measurements and should run in less than a minute. The Ref size is adjusted to give timingins similar to the SPEC benchmarks which typically run in 10 - 30 minutes. When possible, the Ref size should be used when reporting results.

Benchmark Tune

Fibon benchmarks can be run under two different tune settings (e.g. compiler optimization settings). The Base and Peak settings can be configured anyway you want to make the desired comparison.

Framework Executables

The fibon package builds three tools:

  1. fibon-run - runs the benchmarks
  2. fibon-analyze - analyzes the results of a run
  3. fibon-init - utility used when adding new benchmarks

Directory Structure

Source directories

./benchmarks -- benchmark code
./config     -- config files
./lib        -- common files used by several executables
./tools      -- source code for executables

Working directories

./log        -- logging output from benchmark runs
./run        -- working directory for benchmark runs

Getting the Benchmarks

The benchmarks are kept in a separate repository as a git submodule. You can get the Fibon benchmarks by updating the submodule from within your Fibon working directory

$ git submodule update --init benchmarks

This will checkout the benchmarks from the fibon-benchmarks repository and place them in your working copy.

Running Benchmarks

The available benchmarks and configurations are discovered when the Fibon package is configured. Benchmarks are searched for in the benchmarks/Fibon/Benchmarks directory and configuration files are searched for in the config directory. If a configuration file or benchmark is added, you will need to re-run cabal configure to make them available to the fibon-run tool.


Fibon comes with a default configuration. The default configuration will run all benchmarks with the Base setting of -O0 and a Peak setting of -O2 on the Ref size. This configuration can take quite a while to run, so it would be best to adjust the configuration to to suite your time constraints. A configuration file can be used to specify more complicated configurations.

You can get some example configuration by doing

$ git submodule update --init config

This will checkout a repository of config files. Note that currently these files contain some user and machine-specific configurations, but should be a useful starting point.

You can also command line options to selectively run benchmarks, groups, sizes, and tune settings as described below.


Benchmarks are run with the fibon-run tool. Running fibon-run with no arguments will use the default config file. An alternate config file can be specified with the -c flag. Also, you can give a list of benchmarks or groups to run on the command line. Use --help to see a full list of options.

Running the benchmarks will produce some logging to standard out and create four output files in the log directory.

  1. *.LOG - the full log of the run
  2. *.SUMMARY - the mean runtimes of each benchmark
  3. *.RESULTS - the full results in binary format (pass to fibon-analyse)
  4. *.RESULTS.SHOW - the full results in text format (pass to fibon-analyse)
  5. *.RESULTS.CONFIG - the configuration values used to run the test

Analyzing Benchmark Results

Benchmarks can be analyzed by the fibon-analyse tool.

$ fibon-analyse log/000.default.RESULTS


$ fibon-analyse log/000.default.RESULTS.SHOW

The binary results (.RESULT) file is much faster to parse. It contains a serialization of a list of FibonResult structures. The .SHOW file contains a FibonResult on each line which can be parsed by using the read function.

Adding New Benchmarks

New benchmarks are added by putting the appropriate files in the benchmarks/Fibon/Benchmarks directory. Each folder in this directory represents a benchmark group. The benchmarks and groups are found at configuration time (i.e. when running cabal configure for the fibon package). You can exclude a benchmark or a group by prefixing the name with and underscore (_).

To add a new benchmark create a new folder in a benchmark group. If the benchmark program has been cabalized, you can typically just do a cabal unpack of the benchmark. The benchmark folder must contain:

  1. A cabal file describing how to build the benchmark
  2. A benchmark description for Fibon stored in Fibon/Instance.hs

The fibon-init tool will read a cabal file from the current directory and generate the Fibon subfolder and a stub Instance.hs file.

The Fibon subfolder of a benchmark contains all of the data that Fibon needs to build and execute the benchmark. The benchmark instance file describes any requried build flags, inputs, and outputs for the benchmark. It is a standard Haskell module that must export the mkInstance function. The mkInstance function takes a benchmark size and returns a BenchmarkInstance structure. An example instance file is show below.

module Fibon.Benchmarks.Hackage.Bzlib.Fibon.Instance(
import Fibon.BenchmarkInstance

sharedConfig = BenchmarkInstance {
    flagConfig = FlagConfig {
        configureFlags = []
      , buildFlags     = []
      , runFlags       = []
    , stdinInput     = Nothing
    , output         = []
    , exeName        = "hsbzip"
flgCfg = flagConfig sharedConfig

mkInstance Test = sharedConfig {
      flagConfig = flgCfg {
          runFlags = ["bzlib.cabal.bz2"]
      , output    = [(OutputFile "bzlib.cabal.bz2.roundtrip",
                      Diff       "bzlib.cabal.bz2")]
mkInstance Ref  = sharedConfig {
      flagConfig = flgCfg {
          runFlags = ["mito.aa.bz2"]
      , output   = [(OutputFile "mito.aa.bz2.roundtrip",
                     Diff       "mito.aa.bz2")]

The input and expected output data should also be stored in the Fibon subdirectory of the benchmark. When the benchmark is run, the contents of the input and output directories for the benchmark size will be copied to the working directory where the benchmark is run. There can also be an all directory which whose data will be copied for all input sizes. None of the data directories are required, but if they exist they must be organized like this:



Why do the benchmarks take so long to run?

All my benchmark runs are timing out. What's going on?

A while back I changed the running time of Ref size on the benchmarks to match more closely what I saw with the SPEC benchmarks, which was around 10 minutes. I didn't update all the config files to take that into account and that can make some benchmark runs take a long time.

There are 5 ways to lower the overall run time:

  1. Run with smaller inputs
  2. Run fewer iterations
  3. Run with only one tune setting
  4. Limit benchmark execution time
  5. Run fewer benchmarks

Some of these changes can be made in the config file or from the command line. See the fibon-config github repo for some example config files.

Run with smaller inputs

Just like the SPEC benchmarks, the Fibon suite has both a "test", a "train", and a "ref" size. The "test" size is not likely to give a very accurate performance difference, but it runs very quickly so it can be useful for testing. The "train" size is a good intermediate value and each benchmark program should execute in less than a minute. The "ref" size will have longer benchmark runs where each program will run for 10-30 minutes per iteration.

You can set the size from the config file:

sizeList = [Train]

or on the command line:

$ fibon-run --size=Train

Run fewer iterations

You can run each benchmark fewer times by specifying the iterations in the config file

iterations = 3

or on the command line

$ fibon-run --iters=3

Run with only one tune setting

I modeled Fibon after the SPEC benchmarks which have a notion of different "tune" settings: base and peak. The default config has base as -O0 and peak as -O2. Having two tune settings means that every benchmark will be compiled twice and run at least twice. A benchmark compiled with -O0 will run very slowly. You can run only one tune setting by setting it in the config file:

tuneList = [Peak]

or on the command line:

$ fibon-run --tune=Peak

Limit benchmark execution time

You can limit the execution time for the benchmarks. This can be an easy way to keep a benchmark from eating up all the execution time for the suite. You can set this in the config file. To limit execution time for all benchmarks, put it in the default builder section:

build :: ConfigBuilder
build ConfigTuneDefault ConfigBenchDefault = do
  setTimeout $ Limit 0 0 15

The constructor Limit takes ints for the maximum number of hours, minutes, and seconds. So Limit 0 0 15 will limit all benchmark runs to 15 seconds. You can also set this on a per-benchmark or per-tune basis:

build (ConfigTuneDefault) (ConfigBench Cpsa) = do
  -- give Cpsa a little longer
  setTimeout $ Limit 0 0 30

This currently only works to limit the actual running time of a benchmark, not the compile time.

Run fewer benchmarks

You can run a subset of the full suite. Cutting out the benchmarks that take a long time to compile or run can make it complete much faster. You can set the run list in the configuration file

runList  =  [RunSingle agum, RunGroup Repa]

or from the command line

$ fibon-run Agum Repa