Gas metering - Wiki Parity Tech Documentation

Short

Trivia

Since WebAssembly is a stack machine and does not contain any opcodes that can change “execution pointer” arbitrarily (no “calculated jumps”), instrumenting WebAssembly bytecode to transform it to the gas-counting form is trivial and static.

Also, given the available memory for the WebAssembly program is managed with one grow_memory opcode, instrumenting memory usage is also trivial and static.

By static we mean that there exist a deterministic algorithm G(S, P), where S - schedule, P - original contract program (code) to produce another program P′ = G(S, P), such as P′ will put virtual machine in the exact same observable intermediate and final state as P as long as gas limit is not exceeded.

Schedule

Schedule is a table of execution costs of different Wasm opcodes. Since Wasm is a very low-level instruction set architecture, cost of most opcodes is 1. Memory costs are described as linear charge per WebAssembly memory page (64kb).

Details

As discussed, WebAssembly program has statically known points where control flow can hit it during execution (blocks). At the beginning of each block, instrumentation sums up all opcodes multiplied the corresponding schedule entry inside the block and inserts invocation of external gas function. Gas function is inserted in the instrumented code as imported function (from env module).

Example (1)

Imagine the program

func $example
  i32.const 5
  i32.neg
end

After the instrumentation it becomes

import "env" "gas" ($gas)
func $example
  i32.const 3
  call $gas
  i32.const 5
  i32.neg
end

Metering of memory, as mentioned, is static as well. Each grow_memory opcode is replaced with generated local function that multiplies first operand by the memory page cost and passes it to the external gas function.

Example (2)

Imagine the program

func $example
  i32.const 1
  grow_memory
end

After instrumentation with schedule where memory cost per page is 4096, it gets transformed into

import "env" "gas" ($gas)

func $grow_mem
  $get_local 0
  $get_local 0
  i32.const 4096
  i32.mul
  call $gas
  grow_memory
end

func $example
  i32.const 3
  call $gas
  i32.const 1
  call $grow_mem
end