Running Scala on GraalVM

GraalVM is a JVM, so you can run Java and Scala programs normally using the java command:

export GRAALVM_HOME=<path to GraalVM>/Content/Home

$GRAALVM_HOME/bin/java -version
java version "1.8.0_261"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_261-b33)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM GraalVM EE 20.2.0 (build 25.261-b33-jvmci-20.2-b03, mixed mode)

If you are using sbt as the build tool, you can specify JAVA_HOME it will use from the command line:

sbt -java-home $GRAALVM_HOME

GraalVM performs really well on the Scala benchmarks, for example you can look at Renaissance benchmarks suite. Note that Scala compiler is a Scala application as well, and it benefits from GraalVM runtime and runs faster too.

Native Image of Scala Compiler #

In this guide, you will learn how to get started with running Scala programs on top of GraalVM and build a native image of scalac – the Scala compiler.

  1. Make SCALA_HOME and GRAALVM_HOME environment variables resolve to Scala 2.12.x and GraalVM respectively on macOS:
    export GRAALVM_HOME=<path to GraalVM>/Content/Home
    export SCALA_HOME=/usr/local/opt/scala

    and on Linux platforms:

    export GRAALVM_HOME=<path to GraalVM>
    export SCALA_HOME=/usr/local/share
  2. Clone or download the repository and navigate to the scalac-native directory:
    git clone
    cd graalvm-demos/scala-days-2018/scalac-native
  3. Build the sbt project from the scalac-substitutions directory:
    cd scalac-substitutions
    sbt package
    cd ../
  4. Build the native image of the Scala compiler by running:

    The script calls the generated compiler and passes all the required parameters. If you check the directory, the produced native image, called scalac, with no dependencies on the JDK, should have appeared.

  5. Compare the execution time to the JVM:
$ time $SCALA_HOME/bin/scalac HelloWorld.scala

real	0m2.315s
user	0m5.868s
sys	0m0.248s

& time ./scalac-native HelloWorld.scala

real	0m0.177s
user	0m0.129s
sys	0m0.034s

When the Scala compiler is ahead-of-time compiled with the profile-guided optimization (PGO) enabled, the native scalac is as fast as the one running on the JVM (the C2 compiler).

Important: Profile-guided optimizations are available with GraalVM Enterprise Edition.

Support for Scala Macros #

To support macros – functions that are called by the compiler during compilation – the macro classes must be known to the native image builder of the Scala compiler. To build a scalac native image that includes macros run:

./scalac-native macros/GreetingMacros.scala -d macros/

Now you can compile a project that uses macros from GreetingMacros.scala:

./scalac-native -cp macros/ HelloMacros.scala

Run the compiled program with:

$ scala HelloMacros
Hello, World!