Optimizer Passes

Solang generates its own internal IR, before the LLVM IR is generated. This internal IR allows us to do several optimizations which LLVM cannot do, since it is not aware of higher-level language constructs.

Arithmetic of large integers (larger than 64 bit) has special handling, since LLVM cannot generate them. So we need to do our own optimizations for these types, and we cannot rely on LLVM.

Constant Folding Pass

There is a constant folding (also called constant propagation) pass done, before all the other passes. This helps arithmetic of large types, and also means that the functions are constant folded when their arguments are constant. For example:

bytes32 hash = keccak256('foobar');

This is evaluated at compile time. You can see this in the Visual Studio Code extension by hover over hash; the hover will tell you the value of the hash.

Strength Reduction Pass

Strength reduction is when expensive arithmetic is replaced with cheaper ones. So far, the following types of arithmetic may be replaced:

  • 256 or 128 bit multiply maybe replaced by 64 bit multiply or shift
  • 256 or 128 bit divide maybe replaced by 64 bit divide or shift
  • 256 or 128 bit modulo maybe replaced by 64 bit modulo or bitwise and
contract test {
    function f() public {
        for (uint i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
            // this multiply can be done with a 64 bit instruction
            g(i * 100));

    function g(uint256 v) internal {
        // ...

Solang uses reaching definitions to track the known bits of the variables; here solang knows that i can have the values 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and the other operand is always 100. So, the multiplication can be done using a single 64 bit multiply instruction. If you hover over the * in the Visual Studio Code you will see this noted.