An experimental analysis of self-adjusting computation

Umut A. Acar, Guy E. Blelloch, Matthias Blume, Robert Harper, Kanat Tangwongsan
2009 ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems  
Recent work on adaptive functional programming (AFP) developed techniques for writing programs that can respond to modifications to their data by performing change propagation. To achieve this, executions of programs are represented with dynamic dependence graphs (DDGs) that record data dependences and control dependences in a way that a change-propagation algorithm can update the computation as if the program were from scratch, by re-executing only the parts of the computation affected by the
more » ... hanges. Since change-propagation only re-executes parts of the computation, it can respond to certain incremental modifications asymptotically faster than recomputing from scratch, potentially offering significant speedups. Such asymptotic speedups, however, are rare: for many computations and modifications, change propagation is no faster than recomputing from scratch. In this article, we realize a duality between dynamic dependence graphs and memoization, and combine them to give a change-propagation algorithm that can dramatically increase computation reuse. The key idea is to use DDGs to identify and re-execute the parts of the computation that are affected by modifications, while using memoization to identify the parts of the computation that remain unaffected by the changes. We refer to this approach as self-adjusting computation. Since DDGs are imperative, but (traditional) memoization requires purely functional computation, reusing computation correctly via memoization becomes a challenge. We overcome this challenge with a technique for remembering and reusing not just the results of function calls (as in conventional memoization), but their executions represented with DDGs. We show that the proposed approach is realistic by describing a library for self-adjusting computation, presenting efficient algorithms for realizing the library, and describing and evaluating an implementation. Our experimental evaluation with a variety of applications, ranging from simple list primitives to more sophisticated computational geometry algorithms, shows that the approach is effective in practice:
doi:10.1145/1596527.1596530 fatcat:vmcusq2xdfb77mwxn5zimf52d4