Naïve Transient Cast Insertion Isn't (That) Bad


Transient gradual type systems often depend on type-based cast insertion to achieve good performance: casts are inserted whenever the static checker detects that a dynamically-typed value may flow into a statically-typed context. Transient gradually typed programs are then often executed using just-in-time compilation, and contemporary just-in-time compilers are very good at removing redundant computations.

In this paper we present work-in-progress to measure the ability of just-in-time compilers to remove redundant type checks. We investigate worst-case performance and so take a naïve approach, annotating every subexpression to insert every plausible dynamic cast. Our results indicate that the Moth VM still manages to eliminate much of the overhead, by relying on the state-of-the-art SOMns substrate and Graal just-in-time compiler.

We hope these results will help language implementers evaluate the tradeoffs between dynamic optimisations (which can improve the performance of both statically and dynamically typed programs) and static optimisations (which improve only statically typed code).


Erin Greenwood-Thessman, Isaac Oscar Gariano, Richard Roberts, Stefan Marr, Michael Homer, James Noble

Published in

Workshop on Implementation, Compilation, Optimization of OO Languages, Programs and Systems (ICOOOLPS), 2021

The final copy of this publication is available from the publisher.


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Michael Homer — 2021