An advanced benchmarking tool written in python3 that supports binary randomization and the generation of visually appealing reports.

It runs on sufficiently new linux systems and (rudimentary) on Apple’s OS X systems.

The development started as part of my bachelor thesis in october 2015. The bachelor thesis (written in german) can be found here.

Why should you use temci?

temci allows you to easily measure the execution time (and other things) of programs and compare them against each other resulting in a pretty HTML5 based report. Furthermore it set’s up the environment to ensure benchmarking results with a low variance and use some kind of assembly randomisation to reduce the effect of caching.


Installing temci on linux systems should be possible by just installing it via pip3:

pip3 install temci

If this results in any problems or you’re on an Apple system, visit the Installation page. Open an issue in the issue tracker if you experience any weird errors.

To simplify using temci, enable tab completion for your favorite shell (bash and zsh are supported) by adding the following line to your bash or zsh configuration file

source `temci_completion [bash|zsh]`

If you can’t install temci via pip3, using it to benchmark programs is possible by using temci/scripts/run instead of temci (execute this file with your favorite python3 interpreter directly if this interpreter isn’t located at /usr/bin/python3).


Side note: This tool needs root privileges for some benchmarking features. If you’re not root, it will not fail, but it will warn you and disable the features.

There are currently two good ways to explore the features of temci: 1. Play around with temci using the provided tab completion for zsh (preferred) and bash 2. Look into the annotated settings file (it can be generated via temci init settings).

A user guide is planned. Until it’s finished consider reading the code documentation.

A documentation of all command line commands and options is given in the documentation for the cli module.

A documentation for all available run drivers, runners and run driver plugins is given in the documentation for the run module

The status of the documentation is given in the section Status of the documentation.

Geting started with simple benchmarking

Or: How to benchmarking a simple program called ls (a program is every valid shell code that is executable by /bin/sh)

There are two ways to benchmark a program: A short and a long one.

The short one first: Just type:

temci short exec -wd "ls" --runs 100 --out out.yaml


  • short is the category of small helper subprograms that allow to use some temci features without config files
  • -wd is the short option for --without_description an tells temci to use the program as its own description
  • ls is the executed program
  • --runs 100 is short for --min_runs 100 --max_runs 100
  • --min_runs 100 tells temci to benchmark ls at least 100 times (the default value is currently 20)
  • --max_runs 100 tells temci to benchmark ls at most 100 times (the default value is currently 100)
  • setting min and max runs non equal makes only sense when comparing two or more programs via temci
  • --out out.yaml tells temci to store the YAML result file as out.yaml (default is result.yaml)

The long one now: Just type

temci init run_config

This let’s you create a temci run config file by using a textual interface (if you don’t want to create it entirely by hand). To actually run the configuration type:

temci exec [file you stored the run config in] --out out.yaml


  • exec is the sub program that takes a run config an benchmarks all the included program blocks
  • --out out.yaml tells temci where to store the YAML file containing the benchmarking results
  • the measured __ov-time property is just a time information used by temci internally

Now you have a YAML result file that has the following structure:

- attributes:
     description: ls
        - [first measurement for property task-clock]
        - …

You can either create a report by parsing the YAML file yourself or by using the temci report tool. To use the latter type:

temci report out.yaml --reporter html2 --html2_out ls_report


  • out.yaml is the previously generated benchmarking result file
  • --reporter html2 tells temci to use the HTML2Reporter. This reporter creates a fancy HTML5 based report in the folder ls_report. The main HTML file is named report.html. Other possible reporters are html and console. The default reporter is html2
  • --html2_out tells the HTML2Reporter the folder in which to place the report.

Now you have a report on the performance of ls.

How to go further from here

  • Benchmark two programs against each other either by adding a -wd [other program] to the command line or appending the run config file (also possible via temci init run_config)
  • If using temci short exec
    • add a better description for the benchmarked program by using -d [DESCRIPTION] [PROGRAM] instead -wd. -d is short for --with_description
  • If using temci init run_config:
    • Choose another set of measured properties (e.g. to measure the LL1 cache misses)
    • Change the used runner. The default runner is time and uses time (gnu time, not shell builtin) to actually measure the program. Other possible runners are for example perf_stat, rusage and spec:
      • The perf_stat runner that uses the perf tool (especially perf stat) to measure the performance and read performance counters.
      • The rusage runner uses a small C wrapper around the getrusage(2) system call to measure things like the maximum resource usage (it’s comparable to time)
      • The spec runner gets its measurements by parsing a SPEC benchmark like result file. This allows using the SPEC benchmark with temci.
  • Append --send_mail [your email adress] to get a mail after the benchmarking finished. This mail has the benchmarking result file in it’s appendix
  • Try to benchmark a failing program (e.g. “lsabc”). temci will create a new run config file (with the ending ”.erroneous.yaml” that contains all failing run program blocks. Try to append the benchmarking result via “–append” to the original benchmarking result file.

Why is temci called temci?

The problem in naming programs is that most good program names are already taken. A good program or project name has (in my opinion) the following properties: - it shouldn’t be used on the relevant platforms (in this case: github and pypi) - it should be short (no one want’s to type long program names) - it should be pronounceable - it should have at least something to do with the program temci is such a name. It’s lojban for time (i.e. the time duration between to moments or events).


Bug reports and code contributions are highly appreciated.

Status of the documentation

README/this page Work in progress
Installation Finished
Resources Finished