May 26, 2018

Lightweight LLVM python binding for writing JIT compilers

A lightweight LLVM python binding for writing JIT compilers

The old llvmpy binding exposes a lot of LLVM APIs but the mapping of C++-style memory management to Python is error prone. Numba and many JIT compilers do not need a full LLVM API. Only the IR builder, optimizer, and JIT compiler APIs are necessary.

llvmlite is a project originally tailored for Numba’s needs, using the following approach

  • A small C wrapper around the parts of the LLVM C++ API we need that are not already exposed by the LLVM C API.
  • A ctypes Python wrapper around the C API.
  • A pure Python implementation of the subset of the LLVM IR builder that we need for Numba.

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