GraalVM implementation of R

GraalVM implementation of R, also known as FastR, is compatible with GNU R, can run R code at unparalleled performance and integrates with the GraalVM ecosystem.

Installing R #

The R language runtime is not provided by default, can be added to GraalVM using the GraalVM Updater tool:

gu install r

The installation of the R language component is possible only from GitHub catalog for both GraalVM Community and GraalVM Enterprise users. See $GRAALVM_HOME/bin/gu --help for more information.

The R language home directory, which will be referenced as $R_HOME in this reference manual, is located in:

  • jre/languages/R in JDK8 based GraalVM distributions
  • languages/R in JDK11 based GraalVM distributions

Requirements #

GraalVM R engine requires the OpenMP runtime library. Following commands should install this dependency:

  • Ubuntu 18.04 and 19.10: apt-get install libgomp1
  • Oracle Linux 7: yum install libgomp
  • Oracle Linux 8: libgomp should be already installed
  • MacOS: libgomp should be already installed

As of version 20.1.0 and later, FastR on Linux supports and bundles GFortran version 3 runtime libraries, and on macOS – GFortran version 8.3.0 runtime libraries. It is not necessary to install the runtime libraries. However, note that runtime libraries of certain version are only compatible with GFortran compiler of that version or later.

On Linux system, $R_HOME/bin/configure_fastr can be used to check that the necessary libraries are installed, and if not, it will suggest how to install them.

Moreover, to install R packages that contain C/C++ or Fortran code, compilers for those languages must be present on the target system. Following packages satisfy the dependencies of the most common R packages:

  • Ubuntu 18.04 and 19.10:
    apt-get install build-essential gfortran libxml2 libc++-dev
  • Oracle Linux 7 and 8:
    yum groupinstall 'Development Tools' && yum install gcc-gfortran bzip2 libxml2-devel
  • MacOS
    brew install gcc

Note: if the gfortran executable is not on your system path, you will need to configure the full path to it in $R_HOME/etc/Makeconf, variable FC.

Search Paths for Packages #

The default R library location is within the GraalVM installation directory. In order to allow installation of additional packages for users that do not have write access to the GraalVM installation directory, edit the R_LIBS_USER variable in the $GRAALVM_HOME/etc/Renviron file.

Running R Code #

Run R code with the R and Rscript commands:

R [polyglot options] [R options] [filename]
Rscript [polyglot options] [R options] [filename]

GraalVM R engine uses the same polyglot options as other GraalVM languages and the same R options as GNU R, e.g., bin/R --vanilla. Use --help to print the list of supported options. The most important options include:

  • --jvm to enable Java interoperability
  • --polyglot to enable interoperability with other GraalVM languages
  • to pass any options to the JVM, this will be translated to

Note that unlike other GraalVM languages, R does not yet ship with a Native Image of its runtime. Therefore the --native option, which is the default, will still start Rscript on top of JVM, but for the sake of future compatibility the Java interoperability will not be available in such case.

You can optionally build the native image using:

gu rebuild-images R

The native image of FastR is intended only for curious users and experiments. There are known issues and limitations. Once the native image was built, you can use the --jvm flag to run FastR again in the JVM mode.

GraalVM Integration #

The R language integration with the GraalVM ecosystem includes:

To start debugging the code start the R script with --inspect option

Rscript --inspect myScript.R

Note that GNU R compatible debugging using, for example, debug(myFunction) is also supported.