Subsuming methods: finding new optimisation opportunities in object-oriented software

David Maplesden, Ewan Tempero, John Hosking, John C. Grundy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The majority of existing application profiling techniques ag- gregate and report performance costs by method or call- ing context. Modern large-scale object-oriented applications consist of thousands of methods with complex calling pat- terns. Consequently, when profiled, their performance costs tend to be thinly distributed across many thousands of loca- tions with few easily identifiable optimisation opportunities. However experienced performance engineers know that there are repeated patterns of method calls in the execution of an application that are induced by the libraries, design patterns and coding idioms used in the software. Automati- cally identifying and aggregating costs over these patterns of method calls allows us to identify opportunities to improve performance based on optimising these patterns. We have developed an analysis technique that is able to identify the entry point methods, which we call subsuming methods, of such patterns. Our ofiine analysis runs over previously collected runtime performance data structured in a calling context tree, such as produced by a large number of existing commercial and open source profilers. We have evaluated our approach on the DaCapo bench- mark suite, showing that our analysis significantly reduces the size and complexity of the runtime performance data set, facilitating its comprehension and interpretation. We also demonstrate, with a collection of case studies, that our analysis identifies new optimisation opportunities that can lead to significant performance improvements (from 20% to over 50% improvement in our case studies).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th ACM/SPEC International Conference on Performance Engineering
EditorsKai Sachs, Catalina M. Lladó, Herb Schwetman
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450332484
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventACM/SPEC International Conference on Performance Engineering 2015 - Austin, United States of America
Duration: 31 Jan 20154 Feb 2015
Conference number: 6th


ConferenceACM/SPEC International Conference on Performance Engineering 2015
Abbreviated titleICPE 2015
CountryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Dynamic performance analysis
  • Profiling
  • Runtime bloat
  • Subsuming methods

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