Skip to content
Switch branches/tags

Latest commit

The plugin class does not need to be specified on the command-line.

Instead it is read from Renaissance-Plugin property inside the JAR.

Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.

Renaissance Benchmark Suite

The Renaissance Benchmark Suite aggregates common modern JVM workloads, including, but not limited to, Big Data, machine-learning, and functional programming. The suite is intended to be used to optimize just-in-time compilers, interpreters, GCs, and for tools such as profilers, debuggers, or static analyzers, and even different hardware. It is intended to be an open-source, collaborative project, in which the community can propose and improve benchmark workloads.

Building the suite

To build the suite and create the so-called fat JAR (or super JAR), you only need to run sbt build tool as follows:

$ tools/sbt/bin/sbt assembly

This will retrieve all the dependencies, compile all the benchmark projects and the harness, bundle the JARs and create the final JAR under the target directory.

Running the benchmarks

To run a Renaissance benchmark, you need to have a JRE installed. This allows you to execute the following java command:

$ java -jar '<renaissance-home>/target/renaissance-gpl-0.12.0.jar' <benchmarks>

Above, the <renaissance-home> is the path to the root directory of the Renaissance distribution, and <benchmarks> is the list of benchmarks that you wish to run. For example, you can specify scala-kmeans as the benchmark.

The suite generally executes the benchmark's measured operation multiple times. By default, the suite executes each benchmark operation for a specific number of times. The benchmark-specific number of repetitions is only intended for quick visual evaluation of benchmark execution time, but is not sufficient for thorough experimental evaluation, which will generally need much more repetitions.

For thorough experimental evaluation, the benchmarks should be repeated for a large number of times or executed for a long time. The number of repetitions and the execution time can be set for all benchmarks using the -r or -t options. More fine-grained control over benchmark execution can be achieved by providing the harness with a plugin implementing a custom execution policy (see below for details).

Complete list of command-line options

The following is a complete list of command-line options.

Renaissance Benchmark Suite, version 0.12.0
Usage: renaissance [options] [benchmark-specification]

  -h, --help               Prints this usage text.
  -r, --repetitions <count>
                           Execute the measured operation a fixed number of times.
  -t, --run-seconds <seconds>
                           Execute the measured operation for fixed time (wall-clock).
  --operation-run-seconds <seconds>
                           Execute the measured operation for fixed accumulated operation time (wall-clock).
  --policy <class-path>!<class-name>
                           Use policy plugin to control repetition of measured operation execution.
  --plugin <class-path>[!<class-name>]
                           Load external plugin. Can appear multiple times.
  --with-arg <value>       Adds an argument to the plugin or policy specified last. Can appear multiple times.
  --csv <csv-file>         Output results as CSV to <csv-file>.
  --json <json-file>       Output results as JSON to <json-file>.
  -c, --configuration <conf-name>
                           Use benchmark parameters from configuration <conf-name>.
  -o, --override <name>=<value>
                           Override the value of a configuration parameter <name> to <value>.
  --scratch-base <dir>     Create scratch directories in <dir>. Defaults to current directory.
  --keep-scratch           Keep the scratch directories after VM exit. Defaults to deleting scratch directories.
  --no-forced-gc           Do not force garbage collection before each measured operation. Defaults to forced GC.
  --no-jvm-check           Do not check benchmark JVM version requirements (for execution or raw-list).
  --list                   Print the names and descriptions of all benchmarks.
  --raw-list               Print the names of benchmarks compatible with this JVM (one per line).
  --group-list             Print the names of all benchmark groups (one per line).
  benchmark-specification  List of benchmarks (or groups) to execute (or 'all').

List of benchmarks

The following is the complete list of benchmarks, separated into groups.


  • als - Runs the ALS algorithm from the Spark ML library. (default repetitions: 30)

  • chi-square - Runs the chi-square test from Spark MLlib. (default repetitions: 60)

  • dec-tree - Runs the Random Forest algorithm from the Spark ML library. (default repetitions: 40)

  • gauss-mix - Computes a Gaussian mixture model using expectation-maximization. (default repetitions: 40)

  • log-regression - Runs the Logistic Regression algorithm from the Spark ML library. (default repetitions: 20)

  • movie-lens - Recommends movies using the ALS algorithm. (default repetitions: 20)

  • naive-bayes - Runs the multinomial Naive Bayes algorithm from the Spark ML library. (default repetitions: 30)

  • page-rank - Runs a number of PageRank iterations, using RDDs. (default repetitions: 20)


  • akka-uct - Runs the Unbalanced Cobwebbed Tree actor workload in Akka. (default repetitions: 24)

  • fj-kmeans - Runs the k-means algorithm using the fork/join framework. (default repetitions: 30)

  • reactors - Runs benchmarks inspired by the Savina microbenchmark workloads in a sequence on Reactors.IO. (default repetitions: 10)


  • db-shootout - Executes a shootout test using several in-memory databases. (default repetitions: 16)

  • neo4j-analytics - Executes Neo4J graph queries against a movie database. (default repetitions: 20)


  • future-genetic - Runs a genetic algorithm using the Jenetics library and futures. (default repetitions: 50)

  • mnemonics - Solves the phone mnemonics problem using JDK streams. (default repetitions: 16)

  • par-mnemonics - Solves the phone mnemonics problem using parallel JDK streams. (default repetitions: 16)

  • rx-scrabble - Solves the Scrabble puzzle using the Rx streams. (default repetitions: 80)

  • scrabble - Solves the Scrabble puzzle using JDK Streams. (default repetitions: 50)


  • dotty - Runs the Dotty compiler on a set of source code files. (default repetitions: 50)

  • philosophers - Solves a variant of the dining philosophers problem using ScalaSTM. (default repetitions: 30)

  • scala-doku - Solves Sudoku Puzzles using Scala collections. (default repetitions: 20)

  • scala-kmeans - Runs the K-Means algorithm using Scala collections. (default repetitions: 50)

  • scala-stm-bench7 - Runs the stmbench7 benchmark using ScalaSTM. (default repetitions: 60)


  • finagle-chirper - Simulates a microblogging service using Twitter Finagle. (default repetitions: 90)

  • finagle-http - Sends many small Finagle HTTP requests to a Finagle HTTP server and awaits response. (default repetitions: 12)

The suite also contains a group of benchmarks intended solely for testing purposes:


  • dummy-empty - A dummy benchmark which only serves to test the harness. (default repetitions: 20)

  • dummy-failing - A dummy benchmark for testing the harness (fails during iteration). (default repetitions: 20)

  • dummy-param - A dummy benchmark for testing the harness (test configurable parameters). (default repetitions: 20)

  • dummy-setup-failing - A dummy benchmark for testing the harness (fails during setup). (default repetitions: 20)

  • dummy-teardown-failing - A dummy benchmark for testing the harness (fails during teardown). (default repetitions: 20)

  • dummy-validation-failing - A dummy benchmark for testing the harness (fails during validation). (default repetitions: 20)

Using plugins to customize the harness

If you are using an external tool to inspect a benchmark, such as an instrumentation agent, or a profiler, then you may need to make this tool aware of when a benchmark's measured operation is about to be executed and when it finished executing.

If you need to collect additional metrics associated with the execution of the measured operation, e.g., hardware counters, you will need to be notified about operation execution, and you may want to store the measured values in the output files produced by the harness.

If you need the harness to produce output files in different format (other than CSV or JSON), you will need to be notified about values of metrics collected by the harness and other plugins.

If you need more fine-grained control over the repetition of the benchmark's measured operation, you will need to be able to tell the harness when to keep executing the benchmark and when to stop.

To this end, the suite provides hooks for plugins which can subscribe to events related to harness state and benchmark execution. A plugin is a user-defined class which must implement the Plugin marker interface and provide at least a default (parameter-less) constructor. However, such a minimal plugin would not receive any notifications. To receive notifications, the plugin class must implement interfaces from the Plugin interface name space depending on the type of events it wants to receive, or services it wants to provide. This is demonstrated in the following example:

class SimplePlugin extends Plugin
  with AfterHarnessInitListener
  with AfterOperationSetUpListener
  with BeforeOperationTearDownListener {

  override def afterHarnessInit() = {
    // Initialize the plugin after the harness finished initializing

  override def afterOperationSetUp(benchmark: String, index: Int) = {
    // Notify the tool that the measured operation is about to start.

  override def beforeOperationTearDown(benchmark: String, index: Int) = {
    // Notify the tool that the measured operations has finished.

The following interfaces provide common (paired) event types which allow a plugin to hook into a specific point in the benchmark execution sequence. They are analogous to common annotations known from testing frameworks such as JUnit. Harness-level events occur only once per the whole execution, benchmark-level events occur once for each benchmark executed, and operation-level events occur once for each execution of the measured operation.

  • AfterHarnessInitListener, BeforeHarnessShutdownListener
  • BeforeBenchmarkSetUpListener, AfterBenchmarkTearDownListener
  • AfterBenchmarkSetUpListener, BeforeBenchmarkTearDownListener
  • AfterOperationSetUpListener, BeforeOperationTearDownListener

The following interfaces provide special non-paired event types:

  • MeasurementResultListener, intended for plugins that want to receive measurements results (perhaps to store them in a custom format). The harness calls the onMeasurementResult method with the name of the metric and its value, but only if the benchmark operation produces a valid result.
  • BenchmarkFailureListener, which indicates that the benchmark execution has either failed in some way (the benchmark triggered an exception), or that the benchmark operation produced a result which failed validation. This means that no measurements results will be received.

And finally the following interfaces are used by the harness to request services from plugins:

  • MeasurementResultPublisher, intended for plugins that want to collect values of additional metrics around the execution of the benchmark operation. The harness calls the onMeasurementResultsRequested method with an instance of event dispatcher which the plugin is supposed to use to notify other result listeners about custom measurement results.
  • ExecutionPolicy, intended for plugins that want to control the execution of the benchmark's measured operation. Such a plugin should implement other interfaces to get enough information to determine, per-benchmark, whether to execute the measured operation or not. The harness calls the canExecute method before executing the benchmark's measured operation, and will pass the result of the isLast method to some other events.

To make the harness use an external plugin, it needs to be specified on the command line. The harness can load multiple plugins, and each must be enabled using the --plugin <class-path>[!<class-name>] option. The <class-path> is the class path on which to look for the plugin class, and <class-name> is a fully qualified name of the plugin class (the class-name can be omitted when specified as a Renaissance-Plugin property inside META-INF/MANIFEST.MF of the plugin JAR). Custom execution policy must be enabled using the --policy <class-path>!<class-name> option. The syntax is the same as in case of normal plugins (and the policy is also a plugin, which can register for all event types), but this option tells the harness to actually use the plugin to control benchmark execution. Other than that, policy is treated the same was as plugin.

When registering plugins for pair events (harness init/shutdown, benchmark set up/tear down, operation set up/tear down), the plugins specified earlier will "wrap" plugins specified later. This means that for example plugins that want to collect additional measurements and need to invoked as close as possible to the measured operation need to be specified last. Note that this also applies to an external execution policy, which would be generally specified first, but any order is possible.

Plugins (and policies) can receive additional command line arguments. Each argument must be given using the --with-arg <arg> option, which appends <arg> to the list of arguments for the plugin (or policy) that was last mentioned on the command line. Whenever a --plugin (or --policy) option is encountered, the subsequent --with-arg options will append arguments to that plugin (or policy). A plugin that wants to receive command line arguments must define a constructor which takes an array of strings (String[]) or a string vararg (String...) as parameter. The harness tries to use this constructor first and falls back to the default (parameter-less) constructor.

JMH support

You can also build and run Renaissance with JMH. To build a JMH-enabled JAR, run:

$ tools/sbt/bin/sbt renaissanceJmh/jmh:assembly

To run the benchmarks using JMH, you can execute the following java command:

$ java -jar 'renaissance-jmh/target/scala-2.12/renaissance-jmh-assembly-0.12.0.jar'


Please see the contribution guide for a description of the contribution process.


The Renaissance Suite comes in two distributions, and is available under both the MIT license and the GPL3 license. The GPL distribution with all the benchmarks is licensed under the GPL3 license, while the MIT distribution includes only those benchmarks that themselves have less restrictive licenses.

Depending on your needs, you can use either of the two distributions. The following table contains the licensing information (and JVM version requirements) for all the benchmarks:

Benchmark Licenses Distro JVM required (min) JVM supported (max)
akka-uct MIT MIT 1.8
als APACHE2 MIT 1.8
chi-square APACHE2 MIT 1.8
db-shootout APACHE2 MIT 1.8 11
dec-tree APACHE2 MIT 1.8
dotty BSD3 MIT 1.8
finagle-chirper APACHE2 MIT 1.8
finagle-http APACHE2 MIT 1.8
fj-kmeans APACHE2 MIT 1.8
future-genetic APACHE2 MIT 1.8
gauss-mix APACHE2 MIT 1.8
log-regression APACHE2 MIT 1.8
mnemonics MIT MIT 1.8
movie-lens APACHE2 MIT 1.8
naive-bayes APACHE2 MIT 1.8
neo4j-analytics GPL3 GPL3 11 15
page-rank APACHE2 MIT 1.8
par-mnemonics MIT MIT 1.8
philosophers BSD3 MIT 1.8
reactors MIT MIT 1.8
rx-scrabble GPL2 GPL3 1.8
scala-doku MIT MIT 1.8
scala-kmeans MIT MIT 1.8
scala-stm-bench7 BSD3, GPL2 GPL3 1.8
scrabble GPL2 GPL3 1.8

Design overview

The Renaissance benchmark suite is organized into several sbt projects:

  • the renaissance-core folder that contains a set of core classes (common interfaces and a harness launcher)
  • the renaissance-harness folder that contains the actual harness
  • the benchmarks folder contains a set of subprojects, each containing a set of benchmarks for a specific domain (and having a separate set of dependencies)

The core project is written in pure Java, and it contains the basic benchmark API. Its most important elements are the Benchmark interface, which must be implemented by each benchmark, and the annotations in the Benchmark interface name space, which are used to provide benchmark meta data, such as a summary or a detailed description. Consequently, each subproject depends on the core project.

Classes from the core are loaded (when Renaissance is started) by the default classloader. Classes from other projects (including the harness and individual benchmarks) and external plugins or execution policies are loaded by separate classloaders. This separation helps ensure that there are no clashes between dependencies of different projects (each benchmark may depend on different versions of external libraries).

The harness project implements the functionality necessary to parse the input arguments, to run the benchmarks, to generate documentation, and so on. The harness is written in a mix of Java and Scala, and is loaded by the core in a separate classloader to ensure clean environment for running the benchmarks.

The JARs of the subprojects (benchmarks and harness) are copied as generated resources and embedded into the resulting JAR artifact.

  | (classpath dependencies)
  |-- renaissance harness
  |-- benchmark one
  | `-- dependencies for benchmark one
  |-- ...
  `-- benchmark n

When the harness is started, it uses the input arguments to select the benchmark, and then unpacks the JARs of the corresponding benchmark group into a temporary directory. The harness then creates a classloader that searches the unpacked JARs and loads the benchmark group. The class loader is created directly below the default class loader. Because the default class loader contains only base JRE classes and common interfaces of core, it ensures that dependencies of a benchmark are never mixed with any dependencies of any other benchmark or the harness.

        boot class loader (JDK)
          system class loader
         ^                   ^
         |                   |
  URL class loader    URL class loader
     (harness)          (benchmark)

We need to do this to, e.g., avoid accidentally resolving the wrong class by going through the system class loader (this can easily happen with, e.g. Apache Spark and Scala, due to the way that Spark internally resolves some classes).

You can find further details in the top-level build.sbt file, and in the source code of the RenaissanceSuite and ModuleLoader classes.