The Lambda Function In Java
The Lambda Function In Java
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The main issue around the use of Lambdas in Java and Low Latency is; Doesthey produce crap and is there anything you can do about it?


I am working on a library which supports different wire protocols.  The thought being that you can describe theinformation you want to write/read and the cable protocol determines if it usestext with fields such as JSon or YAML, text with discipline numbers such asFIX, binary together with field names like BSON or a Binary form of YAML,binary with fields name, subject numbers or no discipline meta at all. Thevalues could be fixed length, factors length and/or self describing data types.

The notion being that it can handle a variety of schema changes or in theevent that it's possible to determine the schema is the same e.g. over a TCPsession, then it is possible to skip all that and only send the information.

Another big idea is using lambdas to encourage this.

What's the problem with Lambdas

The main issue is the need to avoid substantial garbage in non latenciesapplications. Notionally, every single time you see lambda code that is a newObject.

Fortunately, Java 8 has considerably enhanced Escape Analysis. EscapeAnalysis allows the JVM to substitute new Object by unpacking them onto thestack, effectively providing you stack allocation. This feature was availablein Java 7 but it rarely eliminated objects. Note: when you use a profiler it tends to prevent Escape Analysis fromfunctioning so that you can not trust profilers that use code injection as theprofiler might say an object is being creation when minus the profiler itdoesn't produce an object. Flight Recorder does appear to wreck with EscapeAnalysis.

Escape Evaluation has consistently had quirks and it appears that itstill does. For example, if you've got an IntConsumer or any other primitiveuser, the allocation of the lambda could be eliminated in Java 8 upgrade 20 -update 40. However, the exclusion being boolean where this does not seem tohappen. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future edition.

Another quirk is the size (after inlining) of the procedure where thething elimination happens things and in relatively modest procedures, escapeinvestigation may give up. Other notes:

When I used a profiler, YourKit in this scenario, code that produced nogarbage started generating garbage since the Escape Analysis failed.

I printed the method inlining and discovered assert statements in somekey methods prevented them from being inlined as it created the methods bigger.I fixed this by developing a sub-class of by main class with assertions on tobe created by a factory method when assertions are enabled.  The default class has no assertions and noperformance impact.

Before I moved these assertions I can just deserialize 7 areas withouttriggering garbage.

Once I altered the lambdas with anonymous inner classes, I saw comparablething elimination though in most cases if you can use lambda that is preferred.


Java 8 seems to be considerably smarter at removing garbage produce byvery short lived objects. This means that methods such as passing lambdas maybe an alternative in Low Latency software.

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