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Valgrind basics is a tool that can find bugs in compiled code by running compiled executable and instrumenting it. According to docs works best on code compiled with -O0 or -O1 and might report false positives with highly optimized code (i.e. compiled with -O2).
Basic usage
valgrind ${prog-to-run} ${arg1} ${arg2} ...
Checking for memory access errors and memory leaks:
valgrind --tool=memcheck --leak-check=full --show-reachable=yes
--num-callers=16 ${prog-to-run}
Profiling memory usage:
valgrind --tool=massif ${prog-to-run}
gv massif.${pid}.ps
most massif.${pid}.txt
Profiling CPU usage:
valgrind --tool=callgrind ${prog-to-run}
valgrind --tool=callgrind --instr-atstart=no ${prog-to-run}
and then:
callgrind_control -i on
callgrind_control -i off
It generates callgrind.out.<pid> file (where <pid> is process id of the program). Use kcachegrind GUI tool to view the results.
Profiling sections of the code
  • #include <valgrind/callgrind.h>
  • wrap the section to profile with CALLGRIND_TOGGLE_COLLECT macros
  • add --collect-atstart=no so that valgrind doesn’t profile from the beginning but only the sections of the code within CALLGRIND_TOGGLE_COLLECT
In other words, if your code looks like:
#include <valgrind/callgrind.h>

your program is profiled only when foo() function is running.
There’s also an option --instr-atstart=no and CALLGRIND_START_INSTRUMENTATION and CALLGRIND_STOP_INSTRUMENTATION macros. In theory you can use this option and insert those 2 macros into the code to speedup profiling (instrumentation slows down valgrind) but in practice valgrind 3.2 crashed when I was using this option.

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