Erlang Run-Time System Application (ERTS)

Reference Manual

Version 12.1

Table of Contents

erlang

Module

erlang

Module Summary

The Erlang BIFs.

Description

By convention, most Built-In Functions (BIFs) are included in this module. Some of the BIFs are viewed more or less as part of the Erlang programming language and are auto-imported. Thus, it is not necessary to specify the module name. For example, the calls atom_to_list(erlang) and erlang:atom_to_list(erlang) are identical.

Auto-imported BIFs are listed without module prefix. BIFs listed with module prefix are not auto-imported.

BIFs can fail for various reasons. All BIFs fail with reason badarg if they are called with arguments of an incorrect type. The other reasons are described in the description of each individual BIF.

Some BIFs can be used in guard tests and are marked with "Allowed in guard tests".

Data Types

ext_binary() = binary()

A binary data object, structured according to the Erlang external term format.

A term of type iovec(), structured according to the Erlang external term format.

iovec() = [binary()]

A list of binaries. This datatype is useful to use together with enif_inspect_iovec.

monitor_option() =
    {alias, explicit_unalias | demonitor | reply_demonitor} |
    {tag, term()}

See monitor/3.

timestamp() =
    {MegaSecs :: integer() >= 0,
     Secs :: integer() >= 0,
     MicroSecs :: integer() >= 0}

time_unit() =
    integer() >= 1 |
    second | millisecond | microsecond | nanosecond | native |
    perf_counter |
    deprecated_time_unit()

Supported time unit representations:

PartsPerSecond :: integer() >= 1

Time unit expressed in parts per second. That is, the time unit equals 1/PartsPerSecond second.

second

Symbolic representation of the time unit represented by the integer 1.

millisecond

Symbolic representation of the time unit represented by the integer 1000.

microsecond

Symbolic representation of the time unit represented by the integer 1000_000.

nanosecond

Symbolic representation of the time unit represented by the integer 1000_000_000.

native

Symbolic representation of the native time unit used by the Erlang runtime system.

The native time unit is determined at runtime system start, and remains the same until the runtime system terminates. If a runtime system is stopped and then started again (even on the same machine), the native time unit of the new runtime system instance can differ from the native time unit of the old runtime system instance.

One can get an approximation of the native time unit by calling erlang:convert_time_unit(1, second, native). The result equals the number of whole native time units per second. If the number of native time units per second does not add up to a whole number, the result is rounded downwards.

Note

The value of the native time unit gives you more or less no information about the quality of time values. It sets a limit for the resolution and for the precision of time values, but it gives no information about the accuracy of time values. The resolution of the native time unit and the resolution of time values can differ significantly.

perf_counter

Symbolic representation of the performance counter time unit used by the Erlang runtime system.

The perf_counter time unit behaves much in the same way as the native time unit. That is, it can differ between runtime restarts. To get values of this type, call os:perf_counter/0.

deprecated_time_unit()

Deprecated symbolic representations kept for backwards-compatibility.

The time_unit/0 type can be extended. To convert time values between time units, use erlang:convert_time_unit/3.

deprecated_time_unit() =
    seconds | milli_seconds | micro_seconds | nano_seconds

The time_unit() type also consist of the following deprecated symbolic time units:

seconds

Same as second.

milli_seconds

Same as millisecond.

micro_seconds

Same as microsecond.

nano_seconds

Same as nanosecond.

An opaque handle identifing a distribution channel.

An opaque handle identifing a NIF resource object .

spawn_opt_option() =
    link | monitor |
    {monitor, MonitorOpts :: [monitor_option()]} |
    {priority, Level :: priority_level()} |
    {fullsweep_after, Number :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_heap_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_bin_vheap_size, VSize :: integer() >= 0} |
    {max_heap_size, Size :: max_heap_size()} |
    {message_queue_data, MQD :: message_queue_data()}

Options for spawn_opt().

priority_level() = low | normal | high | max

Process priority level. For more info see process_flag(priority, Level)

max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

Process max heap size configuration. For more info see process_flag(max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize)

message_queue_data() = off_heap | on_heap

Process message queue data configuration. For more information, see process_flag(message_queue_data, MQD)

stacktrace() =
    [{module(),
      atom(),
      arity() | [term()],
      [stacktrace_extrainfo()]} |
     {function(), arity() | [term()], [stacktrace_extrainfo()]}]

stacktrace_extrainfo() =
    {line, integer() >= 1} |
    {file, unicode:chardata()} |
    {error_info,
     #{module => module(), function => atom(), cause => term()}} |
    {atom(), term()}

An Erlang stacktrace as described by Errors and Error Handling section in the Erlang Reference Manual.

abs(Float) -> float()
abs(Int) -> integer() >= 0

Types

Int = integer()

Returns an integer or float that is the arithmetical absolute value of Float or Int, for example:

> abs(-3.33).
3.33
> abs(-3).
3

Allowed in guard tests.

erlang:adler32(Data) -> integer() >= 0

Types

Data = iodata()

Computes and returns the adler32 checksum for Data.

erlang:adler32(OldAdler, Data) -> integer() >= 0

Types

OldAdler = integer() >= 0
Data = iodata()

Continues computing the adler32 checksum by combining the previous checksum, OldAdler, with the checksum of Data.

The following code:

X = erlang:adler32(Data1),
Y = erlang:adler32(X,Data2).

assigns the same value to Y as this:

Y = erlang:adler32([Data1,Data2]).

erlang:adler32_combine(FirstAdler, SecondAdler, SecondSize) ->
                          integer() >= 0

Types

FirstAdler = SecondAdler = SecondSize = integer() >= 0

Combines two previously computed adler32 checksums. This computation requires the size of the data object for the second checksum to be known.

The following code:

Y = erlang:adler32(Data1),
Z = erlang:adler32(Y,Data2).

assigns the same value to Z as this:

X = erlang:adler32(Data1),
Y = erlang:adler32(Data2),
Z = erlang:adler32_combine(X,Y,iolist_size(Data2)).

alias() -> Alias
OTP 24.0
alias(Opts) -> Alias
OTP 24.0

Types

Alias = reference()
Opts = [explicit_unalias | reply]

Create an alias which can be used when sending messages to the process that created the alias. When the alias has been deactivated, messages sent using the alias will be dropped. An alias can be deactivated using unalias/1. Currently available options for alias/1:

explicit_unalias

The alias can only be deactivated via a call to unalias/1. This is also the default behaviour if no options are passed or if alias/0 is called.

reply

The alias will be automatically deactivated when a reply message sent via the alias is received. The alias can also still be deactivated via a call to unalias/1.

Example:

server() ->
    receive
        {request, AliasReqId, Request} ->
            Result = perform_request(Request),
            AliasReqId ! {reply, AliasReqId, Result}
    end,
    server().

client(ServerPid, Request) ->
    AliasReqId = alias([reply]),
    ServerPid ! {request, AliasReqId, Request},
    %% Alias will be automatically deactivated if we receive a reply
    %% since we used the 'reply' option...
    receive
        {reply, AliasReqId, Result} -> Result
    after 5000 ->
            unalias(AliasReqId),
            %% Flush message queue in case the reply arrived
            %% just before the alias was deactivated...
            receive {reply, AliasReqId, Result} -> Result
            after 0 -> exit(timeout)
            end
    end.

Note that both the server and the client in this example must be executing on at least OTP 24 systems in order for this to work.

For more information on process aliases see the Process Aliases section of the Erlang Reference Manual.

erlang:append_element(Tuple1, Term) -> Tuple2

Types

Tuple1 = Tuple2 = tuple()
Term = term()

Returns a new tuple that has one element more than Tuple1, and contains the elements in Tuple1 followed by Term as the last element. Semantically equivalent to list_to_tuple(tuple_to_list(Tuple1) ++ [Term]), but much faster. Example:

> erlang:append_element({one, two}, three).
{one,two,three}

apply(Fun, Args) -> term()

Types

Fun = function()
Args = [term()]

Calls a fun, passing the elements in Args as arguments.

If the number of elements in the arguments are known at compile time, the call is better written as Fun(Arg1, Arg2, ... ArgN).

Warning

Earlier, Fun could also be specified as {Module, Function}, equivalent to apply(Module, Function, Args). This use is deprecated and will stop working in a future release.

apply(Module, Function, Args) -> term()

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

Returns the result of applying Function in Module to Args. The applied function must be exported from Module. The arity of the function is the length of Args. Example:

> apply(lists, reverse, [[a, b, c]]).
[c,b,a]
> apply(erlang, atom_to_list, ['Erlang']).
"Erlang"

If the number of arguments are known at compile time, the call is better written as Module:Function(Arg1, Arg2, ..., ArgN).

Failure: error_handler:undefined_function/3 is called if the applied function is not exported. The error handler can be redefined (see process_flag/2). If error_handler is undefined, or if the user has redefined the default error_handler so the replacement module is undefined, an error with reason undef is generated.

atom_to_binary(Atom) -> binary()
OTP 23.0

Types

Atom = atom()

The same as atom_to_binary (Atom, utf8).

atom_to_binary(Atom, Encoding) -> binary()

Types

Atom = atom()
Encoding = latin1 | unicode | utf8

Returns a binary corresponding to the text representation of Atom. If Encoding is latin1, one byte exists for each character in the text representation. If Encoding is utf8 or unicode, the characters are encoded using UTF-8 where characters may require multiple bytes.

Note

As from Erlang/OTP 20, atoms can contain any Unicode character and atom_to_binary(Atom, latin1) may fail if the text representation for Atom contains a Unicode character > 255.

Example:

> atom_to_binary('Erlang', latin1).
<<"Erlang">>

atom_to_list(Atom) -> string()

Types

Atom = atom()

Returns a list of unicode code points corresponding to the text representation of Atom, for example:

> atom_to_list('Erlang').
"Erlang"
> atom_to_list('你好').
[20320,22909]

See unicode(3) for how to convert the resulting list to different formats.

binary_part(Subject, PosLen) -> binary()
OTP R14B

Types

Subject = binary()
PosLen = {Start :: integer() >= 0, Length :: integer()}

Extracts the part of the binary described by PosLen.

Negative length can be used to extract bytes at the end of a binary, for example:

1> Bin = <<1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10>>.
2> binary_part(Bin,{byte_size(Bin), -5}).
<<6,7,8,9,10>>

Failure: badarg if PosLen in any way references outside the binary.

Start is zero-based, that is:

1> Bin = <<1,2,3>>
2> binary_part(Bin,{0,2}).
<<1,2>>

For details about the PosLen semantics, see binary(3).

Allowed in guard tests.

binary_part(Subject, Start, Length) -> binary()
OTP R14B

Types

Subject = binary()
Start = integer() >= 0
Length = integer()

The same as binary_part(Subject, {Start, Length}).

Allowed in guard tests.

binary_to_atom(Binary) -> atom()
OTP 23.0

Types

Binary = binary()

The same as binary_to_atom (Binary, utf8).

binary_to_atom(Binary, Encoding) -> atom()

Types

Binary = binary()
Encoding = latin1 | unicode | utf8

Returns the atom whose text representation is Binary. If Encoding is utf8 or unicode, the binary must contain valid UTF-8 sequences.

Note

As from Erlang/OTP 20, binary_to_atom(Binary, utf8) is capable of encoding any Unicode character. Earlier versions would fail if the binary contained Unicode characters > 255. For more information about Unicode support in atoms, see the note on UTF-8 encoded atoms in section "External Term Format" in the User's Guide.

Note

The number of characters that are permitted in an atom name is limited. The default limits can be found in the efficiency guide (section Advanced).

Note

There is configurable limit on how many atoms that can exist and atoms are not garbage collected. Therefore, it is recommended to consider whether binary_to_existing_atom/2 is a better option than binary_to_atom/2. The default limits can be found in efficiency guide (section Advanced).

Examples:

> binary_to_atom(<<"Erlang">>, latin1).
'Erlang'
> binary_to_atom(<<1024/utf8>>, utf8).
'Ѐ'

binary_to_existing_atom(Binary) -> atom()
OTP 23.0

Types

Binary = binary()

The same as binary_to_existing_atom (Binary, utf8).

binary_to_existing_atom(Binary, Encoding) -> atom()

Types

Binary = binary()
Encoding = latin1 | unicode | utf8

As binary_to_atom/2, but the atom must exist.

The Erlang system has a configurable limit for the total number of atoms that can exist, and atoms are not garbage collected. Therefore, it is not safe to create many atoms from binaries that come from an untrusted source (for example, a file fetched from the Internet), for example, using binary_to_atom/2. This function is thus the appropriate option when the input binary comes from an untrusted source.

An atom exists in an Erlang system when included in a loaded Erlang module or when created programmatically (for example, by binary_to_atom/2). See the next note for an example of when an atom exists in the source code for an Erlang module but not in the compiled version of the same module.

Failure: badarg if the atom does not exist.

Note

Note that the compiler may optimize away atoms. For example, the compiler will rewrite atom_to_list(some_atom) to "some_atom". If that expression is the only mention of the atom some_atom in the containing module, the atom will not be created when the module is loaded, and a subsequent call to binary_to_existing_atom(<<"some_atom">>, utf8) will fail.

Note

The number of characters that are permitted in an atom name is limited. The default limits can be found in the efficiency guide (section Advanced).

binary_to_float(Binary) -> float()
OTP R16B

Types

Binary = binary()

Returns the float whose text representation is Binary, for example:

> binary_to_float(<<"2.2017764e+0">>).
2.2017764

The float string format is the same as the format for Erlang float literals except for that underscores are not permitted.

Failure: badarg if Binary contains a bad representation of a float.

binary_to_integer(Binary) -> integer()
OTP R16B

Types

Binary = binary()

Returns an integer whose text representation is Binary, for example:

> binary_to_integer(<<"123">>).
123

binary_to_integer/1 accepts the same string formats as list_to_integer/1.

Failure: badarg if Binary contains a bad representation of an integer.

binary_to_integer(Binary, Base) -> integer()
OTP R16B

Types

Binary = binary()
Base = 2..36

Returns an integer whose text representation in base Base is Binary, for example:

> binary_to_integer(<<"3FF">>, 16).
1023

binary_to_integer/2 accepts the same string formats as list_to_integer/2.

Failure: badarg if Binary contains a bad representation of an integer.

binary_to_list(Binary) -> [byte()]

Types

Binary = binary()

Returns a list of integers corresponding to the bytes of Binary.

binary_to_list(Binary, Start, Stop) -> [byte()]

Types

Binary = binary()
Start = Stop = integer() >= 1
1..byte_size(Binary)

As binary_to_list/1, but returns a list of integers corresponding to the bytes from position Start to position Stop in Binary. The positions in the binary are numbered starting from 1.

Note

The one-based indexing for binaries used by this function is deprecated. New code is to use binary:bin_to_list/3 in STDLIB instead. All functions in module binary consistently use zero-based indexing.

binary_to_term(Binary) -> term()

Types

Binary = ext_binary()

Returns an Erlang term that is the result of decoding binary object Binary, which must be encoded according to the Erlang external term format.

> Bin = term_to_binary(hello).
<<131,100,0,5,104,101,108,108,111>>
> hello = binary_to_term(Bin).
hello
Warning

When decoding binaries from untrusted sources, the untrusted source may submit data in a way to create resources, such as atoms and remote references, that cannot be garbage collected and lead to Denial of Service attack. In such cases, consider using binary_to_term/2 with the safe option.

See also term_to_binary/1 and binary_to_term/2.

binary_to_term(Binary, Opts) -> term() | {term(), Used}
OTP R13B04

Types

Binary = ext_binary()
Opt = safe | used
Opts = [Opt]
Used = integer() >= 1

As binary_to_term/1, but takes these options:

safe

Use this option when receiving binaries from an untrusted source.

When enabled, it prevents decoding data that can be used to attack the Erlang runtime. In the event of receiving unsafe data, decoding fails with a badarg error.

This prevents creation of new atoms directly, creation of new atoms indirectly (as they are embedded in certain structures, such as process identifiers, refs, and funs), and creation of new external function references. None of those resources are garbage collected, so unchecked creation of them can exhaust available memory.

> binary_to_term(<<131,100,0,5,"hello">>, [safe]).
** exception error: bad argument
> hello.
hello
> binary_to_term(<<131,100,0,5,"hello">>, [safe]).
hello
Warning

The safe option ensures the data is safely processed by the Erlang runtime but it does not guarantee the data is safe to your application. You must always validate data from untrusted sources. If the binary is stored or transits through untrusted sources, you should also consider cryptographically signing it.

used

Changes the return value to {Term, Used} where Used is the number of bytes actually read from Binary.

> Input = <<131,100,0,5,"hello","world">>.
<<131,100,0,5,104,101,108,108,111,119,111,114,108,100>>
> {Term, Used} = binary_to_term(Input, [used]).
{hello, 9}
> split_binary(Input, Used).
{<<131,100,0,5,104,101,108,108,111>>, <<"world">>}

Failure: badarg if safe is specified and unsafe data is decoded.

See also term_to_binary/1, binary_to_term/1, and list_to_existing_atom/1.

bit_size(Bitstring) -> integer() >= 0

Types

Bitstring = bitstring()

Returns an integer that is the size in bits of Bitstring, for example:

> bit_size(<<433:16,3:3>>).
19
> bit_size(<<1,2,3>>).
24

Allowed in guard tests.

bitstring_to_list(Bitstring) -> [byte() | bitstring()]

Types

Bitstring = bitstring()

Returns a list of integers corresponding to the bytes of Bitstring. If the number of bits in the binary is not divisible by 8, the last element of the list is a bitstring containing the remaining 1-7 bits. Examples:

> bitstring_to_list(<<433:16>>).
[1,177]
> bitstring_to_list(<<433:16,3:3>>).
[1,177,<<3:3>>]

erlang:bump_reductions(Reductions) -> true

Types

Reductions = integer() >= 1

This implementation-dependent function increments the reduction counter for the calling process. In the Beam emulator, the reduction counter is normally incremented by one for each function and BIF call. A context switch is forced when the counter reaches the maximum number of reductions for a process (4000 reductions in Erlang/OTP 19.2 and later).

Warning

This BIF can be removed in a future version of the Beam machine without prior warning. It is unlikely to be implemented in other Erlang implementations.

byte_size(Bitstring) -> integer() >= 0

Types

Bitstring = bitstring()

Returns an integer that is the number of bytes needed to contain Bitstring. That is, if the number of bits in Bitstring is not divisible by 8, the resulting number of bytes is rounded up. Examples:

> byte_size(<<433:16,3:3>>).
3
> byte_size(<<1,2,3>>).
3

Allowed in guard tests.

erlang:cancel_timer(TimerRef) -> Result

Types

TimerRef = reference()
Time = integer() >= 0
Result = Time | false

Cancels a timer. The same as calling erlang:cancel_timer(TimerRef, []).

erlang:cancel_timer(TimerRef, Options) -> Result | ok
OTP 18.0

Types

TimerRef = reference()
Async = Info = boolean()
Option = {async, Async} | {info, Info}
Options = [Option]
Time = integer() >= 0
Result = Time | false

Cancels a timer that has been created by erlang:start_timer or erlang:send_after. TimerRef identifies the timer, and was returned by the BIF that created the timer.

Options:

{async, Async}

Asynchronous request for cancellation. Async defaults to false, which causes the cancellation to be performed synchronously. When Async is set to true, the cancel operation is performed asynchronously. That is, cancel_timer() sends an asynchronous request for cancellation to the timer service that manages the timer, and then returns ok.

{info, Info}

Requests information about the Result of the cancellation. Info defaults to true, which means the Result is given. When Info is set to false, no information about the result of the cancellation is given.

  • When Async is false: if Info is true, the Result is returned by erlang:cancel_timer(). otherwise ok is returned.

  • When Async is true: if Info is true, a message on the form {cancel_timer, TimerRef, Result} is sent to the caller of erlang:cancel_timer() when the cancellation operation has been performed, otherwise no message is sent.

More Options may be added in the future.

If Result is an integer, it represents the time in milliseconds left until the canceled timer would have expired.

If Result is false, a timer corresponding to TimerRef could not be found. This can be either because the timer had expired, already had been canceled, or because TimerRef never corresponded to a timer. Even if the timer had expired, it does not tell you if the time-out message has arrived at its destination yet.

Note

The timer service that manages the timer can be co-located with another scheduler than the scheduler that the calling process is executing on. If so, communication with the timer service takes much longer time than if it is located locally. If the calling process is in critical path, and can do other things while waiting for the result of this operation, or is not interested in the result of the operation, you want to use option {async, true}. If using option {async, false}, the calling process blocks until the operation has been performed.

See also erlang:send_after/4, erlang:start_timer/4, and erlang:read_timer/2.

ceil(Number) -> integer()
OTP 20.0

Types

Number = number()

Returns the smallest integer not less than Number. For example:

> ceil(5.5).
6

Allowed in guard tests.

check_old_code(Module) -> boolean()
OTP R14B04

Types

Module = module()

Returns true if Module has old code, otherwise false.

See also code(3).

check_process_code(Pid, Module) -> CheckResult

Types

Pid = pid()
Module = module()
CheckResult = boolean()
check_process_code(Pid, Module, OptionList) -> CheckResult | async
OTP 17.0

Types

Pid = pid()
Module = module()
RequestId = term()
Option = {async, RequestId} | {allow_gc, boolean()}
OptionList = [Option]
CheckResult = boolean() | aborted

Checks if the node local process identified by Pid executes old code for Module.

Options:

{allow_gc, boolean()}

Determines if garbage collection is allowed when performing the operation. If {allow_gc, false} is passed, and a garbage collection is needed to determine the result of the operation, the operation is aborted (see information on CheckResult below). The default is to allow garbage collection, that is, {allow_gc, true}.

{async, RequestId}

The function check_process_code/3 returns the value async immediately after the request has been sent. When the request has been processed, the process that called this function is passed a message on the form {check_process_code, RequestId, CheckResult}.

If Pid equals self(), and no async option has been passed, the operation is performed at once. Otherwise a request for the operation is sent to the process identified by Pid, and is handled when appropriate. If no async option has been passed, the caller blocks until CheckResult is available and can be returned.

CheckResult informs about the result of the request as follows:

true

The process identified by Pid executes old code for Module. That is, the current call of the process executes old code for this module, or the process has references to old code for this module, or the process contains funs that references old code for this module.

false

The process identified by Pid does not execute old code for Module.

aborted

The operation was aborted, as the process needed to be garbage collected to determine the operation result, and the operation was requested by passing option {allow_gc, false}.

Note

Up until ERTS version 8.*, the check process code operation checks for all types of references to the old code. That is, direct references (e.g. return addresses on the process stack), indirect references (funs in process context), and references to literals in the code.

As of ERTS version 9.0, the check process code operation only checks for direct references to the code. Indirect references via funs will be ignored. If such funs exist and are used after a purge of the old code, an exception will be raised upon usage (same as the case when the fun is received by the process after the purge). Literals will be taken care of (copied) at a later stage. This behavior can as of ERTS version 8.1 be enabled when building OTP, and will automatically be enabled if dirty scheduler support is enabled.

See also code(3).

Failures:

badarg
If Pid is not a node local process identifier.
badarg
If Module is not an atom.
badarg
If OptionList is an invalid list of options.

erlang:convert_time_unit(Time, FromUnit, ToUnit) -> ConvertedTime
OTP 18.0

Types

Time = ConvertedTime = integer()
FromUnit = ToUnit = time_unit()

Converts the Time value of time unit FromUnit to the corresponding ConvertedTime value of time unit ToUnit. The result is rounded using the floor function.

Warning

You can lose accuracy and precision when converting between time units. To minimize such loss, collect all data at native time unit and do the conversion on the end result.

erlang:crc32(Data) -> integer() >= 0

Types

Data = iodata()

Computes and returns the crc32 (IEEE 802.3 style) checksum for Data.

erlang:crc32(OldCrc, Data) -> integer() >= 0

Types

OldCrc = integer() >= 0
Data = iodata()

Continues computing the crc32 checksum by combining the previous checksum, OldCrc, with the checksum of Data.

The following code:

X = erlang:crc32(Data1),
Y = erlang:crc32(X,Data2).

assigns the same value to Y as this:

Y = erlang:crc32([Data1,Data2]).

erlang:crc32_combine(FirstCrc, SecondCrc, SecondSize) ->
                        integer() >= 0

Types

FirstCrc = SecondCrc = SecondSize = integer() >= 0

Combines two previously computed crc32 checksums. This computation requires the size of the data object for the second checksum to be known.

The following code:

Y = erlang:crc32(Data1),
Z = erlang:crc32(Y,Data2).

assigns the same value to Z as this:

X = erlang:crc32(Data1),
Y = erlang:crc32(Data2),
Z = erlang:crc32_combine(X,Y,iolist_size(Data2)).

date() -> Date

Types

Returns the current date as {Year, Month, Day}.

The time zone and Daylight Saving Time correction depend on the underlying OS. The return value is based on the OS System Time. Example:

> date().
{1995,2,19}

erlang:decode_packet(Type, Bin, Options) ->
                        {ok, Packet, Rest} |
                        {more, Length} |
                        {error, Reason}

Types

Type =
    raw | 0 | 1 | 2 | 4 | asn1 | cdr | sunrm | fcgi | tpkt |
    line | http | http_bin | httph | httph_bin
Bin = binary()
Options = [Opt]
Opt =
    {packet_size, integer() >= 0} |
    {line_length, integer() >= 0}
Packet = binary() | HttpPacket
Rest = binary()
Length = integer() >= 0 | undefined
Reason = term()
HttpPacket =
    HttpRequest | HttpResponse | HttpHeader | http_eoh | HttpError
HttpRequest = {http_request, HttpMethod, HttpUri, HttpVersion}
HttpResponse =
    {http_response, HttpVersion, integer(), HttpString}
HttpHeader =
    {http_header,
     integer(),
     HttpField,
     UnmodifiedField :: HttpString,
     Value :: HttpString}
HttpError = {http_error, HttpString}
HttpMethod =
    'OPTIONS' | 'GET' | 'HEAD' | 'POST' | 'PUT' | 'DELETE' |
    'TRACE' | HttpString
HttpUri =
    '*' |
    {absoluteURI,
     http | https,
     Host :: HttpString,
     Port :: inet:port_number() | undefined,
     Path :: HttpString} |
    {scheme, Scheme :: HttpString, HttpString} |
    {abs_path, HttpString} |
    HttpString
HttpVersion =
    {Major :: integer() >= 0, Minor :: integer() >= 0}
HttpField =
    'Cache-Control' | 'Connection' | 'Date' | 'Pragma' |
    'Transfer-Encoding' | 'Upgrade' | 'Via' | 'Accept' |
    'Accept-Charset' | 'Accept-Encoding' | 'Accept-Language' |
    'Authorization' | 'From' | 'Host' | 'If-Modified-Since' |
    'If-Match' | 'If-None-Match' | 'If-Range' |
    'If-Unmodified-Since' | 'Max-Forwards' |
    'Proxy-Authorization' | 'Range' | 'Referer' | 'User-Agent' |
    'Age' | 'Location' | 'Proxy-Authenticate' | 'Public' |
    'Retry-After' | 'Server' | 'Vary' | 'Warning' |
    'Www-Authenticate' | 'Allow' | 'Content-Base' |
    'Content-Encoding' | 'Content-Language' | 'Content-Length' |
    'Content-Location' | 'Content-Md5' | 'Content-Range' |
    'Content-Type' | 'Etag' | 'Expires' | 'Last-Modified' |
    'Accept-Ranges' | 'Set-Cookie' | 'Set-Cookie2' |
    'X-Forwarded-For' | 'Cookie' | 'Keep-Alive' |
    'Proxy-Connection' | HttpString
HttpString = string() | binary()

Decodes the binary Bin according to the packet protocol specified by Type. Similar to the packet handling done by sockets with option {packet,Type}.

If an entire packet is contained in Bin, it is returned together with the remainder of the binary as {ok,Packet,Rest}.

If Bin does not contain the entire packet, {more,Length} is returned. Length is either the expected total size of the packet, or undefined if the expected packet size is unknown. decode_packet can then be called again with more data added.

If the packet does not conform to the protocol format, {error,Reason} is returned.

Types:

raw | 0

No packet handling is done. The entire binary is returned unless it is empty.

1 | 2 | 4

Packets consist of a header specifying the number of bytes in the packet, followed by that number of bytes. The length of the header can be one, two, or four bytes; the order of the bytes is big-endian. The header is stripped off when the packet is returned.

line

A packet is a line-terminated by a delimiter byte, default is the latin-1 newline character. The delimiter byte is included in the returned packet unless the line was truncated according to option line_length.

asn1 | cdr | sunrm | fcgi | tpkt

The header is not stripped off.

The meanings of the packet types are as follows:

asn1 - ASN.1 BER
sunrm - Sun's RPC encoding
cdr - CORBA (GIOP 1.1)
fcgi - Fast CGI
tpkt - TPKT format [RFC1006]
http | httph | http_bin | httph_bin

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The packets are returned with the format according to HttpPacket described earlier. A packet is either a request, a response, a header, or an end of header mark. Invalid lines are returned as HttpError.

Recognized request methods and header fields are returned as atoms. Others are returned as strings. Strings of unrecognized header fields are formatted with only capital letters first and after hyphen characters, for example, "Sec-Websocket-Key". Header field names are also returned in UnmodifiedField as strings, without any conversion or formatting.

The protocol type http is only to be used for the first line when an HttpRequest or an HttpResponse is expected. The following calls are to use httph to get HttpHeaders until http_eoh is returned, which marks the end of the headers and the beginning of any following message body.

The variants http_bin and httph_bin return strings (HttpString) as binaries instead of lists.

Options:

{packet_size, integer() >= 0}

Sets the maximum allowed size of the packet body. If the packet header indicates that the length of the packet is longer than the maximum allowed length, the packet is considered invalid. Defaults to 0, which means no size limit.

{line_length, integer() >= 0}

For packet type line, lines longer than the indicated length are truncated.

Option line_length also applies to http* packet types as an alias for option packet_size if packet_size itself is not set. This use is only intended for backward compatibility.

{line_delimiter, 0 =< byte() =< 255}

For packet type line, sets the delimiting byte. Default is the latin-1 character $\n.

Examples:

> erlang:decode_packet(1,<<3,"abcd">>,[]).
{ok,<<"abc">>,<<"d">>}
> erlang:decode_packet(1,<<5,"abcd">>,[]).
{more,6}

erlang:delete_element(Index, Tuple1) -> Tuple2
OTP R16B

Types

Index = integer() >= 1
1..tuple_size(Tuple1)
Tuple1 = Tuple2 = tuple()

Returns a new tuple with element at Index removed from tuple Tuple1, for example:

> erlang:delete_element(2, {one, two, three}).
{one,three}

delete_module(Module) -> true | undefined

Types

Module = module()

Makes the current code for Module become old code and deletes all references for this module from the export table. Returns undefined if the module does not exist, otherwise true.

Warning

This BIF is intended for the code server (see code(3)) and is not to be used elsewhere.

Failure: badarg if there already is an old version of Module.

demonitor(MonitorRef) -> true

Types

MonitorRef = reference()

If MonitorRef is a reference that the calling process obtained by calling monitor/2, this monitoring is turned off. If the monitoring is already turned off, nothing happens.

Once demonitor(MonitorRef) has returned, it is guaranteed that no {'DOWN', MonitorRef, _, _, _} message, because of the monitor, will be placed in the caller message queue in the future. However, a {'DOWN', MonitorRef, _, _, _} message can have been placed in the caller message queue before the call. It is therefore usually advisable to remove such a 'DOWN' message from the message queue after monitoring has been stopped. demonitor(MonitorRef, [flush]) can be used instead of demonitor(MonitorRef) if this cleanup is wanted.

Note

Before Erlang/OTP R11B (ERTS 5.5) demonitor/1 behaved completely asynchronously, that is, the monitor was active until the "demonitor signal" reached the monitored entity. This had one undesirable effect. You could never know when you were guaranteed not to receive a DOWN message because of the monitor.

The current behavior can be viewed as two combined operations: asynchronously send a "demonitor signal" to the monitored entity and ignore any future results of the monitor.

Failure: It is an error if MonitorRef refers to a monitoring started by another process. Not all such cases are cheap to check. If checking is cheap, the call fails with badarg, for example if MonitorRef is a remote reference.

demonitor(MonitorRef, OptionList) -> boolean()

Types

MonitorRef = reference()
OptionList = [Option]
Option = flush | info

The returned value is true unless info is part of OptionList.

demonitor(MonitorRef, []) is equivalent to demonitor(MonitorRef).

Options:

flush

Removes (one) {_, MonitorRef, _, _, _} message, if there is one, from the caller message queue after monitoring has been stopped.

Calling demonitor(MonitorRef, [flush]) is equivalent to the following, but more efficient:

demonitor(MonitorRef),
receive
    {_, MonitorRef, _, _, _} ->
        true
after 0 ->
        true
end
info

The returned value is one of the following:

true

The monitor was found and removed. In this case, no 'DOWN' message corresponding to this monitor has been delivered and will not be delivered.

false

The monitor was not found and could not be removed. This probably because someone already has placed a 'DOWN' message corresponding to this monitor in the caller message queue.

If option info is combined with option flush, false is returned if a flush was needed, otherwise true.

Note

More options can be added in a future release.

Failures:

badarg
If OptionList is not a list.
badarg
If Option is an invalid option.
badarg
The same failure as for demonitor/1.

disconnect_node(Node) -> boolean() | ignored

Types

Node = node()

Forces the disconnection of a node. This appears to the node Node as if the local node has crashed. This BIF is mainly used in the Erlang network authentication protocols.

Returns true if disconnection succeeds, otherwise false. If the local node is not alive, ignored is returned.

Note

This function may return before nodedown messages have been delivered.

erlang:display(Term) -> true

Types

Term = term()

Prints a text representation of Term on the standard output.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging only.

erlang:dist_ctrl_get_data(DHandle) -> {Size, Data} | Data | none
OTP 21.0

Types

Size = integer() >= 0
DHandle = dist_handle()
Data = iovec()

Get distribution channel data from the local node that is to be passed to the remote node. The distribution channel is identified by DHandle. If no data is available, the atom none is returned. One can request to be informed by a message when more data is available by calling erlang:dist_ctrl_get_data_notification(DHandle).

The returned value when there are data available depends on the value of the get_size option configured on the distribution channel identified by DHandle. For more information see the documentation of the get_size option for the erlang:dist_ctrl_set_opt/3 function.

Note

Only the process registered as distribution controller for the distribution channel identified by DHandle is allowed to call this function.

This function is used when implementing an alternative distribution carrier using processes as distribution controllers. DHandle is retrived via the callback f_handshake_complete. More information can be found in the documentation of ERTS User's Guide ➜ How to implement an Alternative Carrier for the Erlang Distribution ➜ Distribution Module.

erlang:dist_ctrl_get_opt(DHandle, Opt :: get_size) -> Value
OTP 22.0

Types

DHandle = dist_handle()
Value = boolean()

Returns the value of the get_size option on the distribution channel identified by DHandle. For more information see the documentation of the get_size option for the erlang:dist_ctrl_set_opt/3 function.

Note

Only the process registered as distribution controller for the distribution channel identified by DHandle is allowed to call this function.

This function is used when implementing an alternative distribution carrier using processes as distribution controllers. DHandle is retrived via the callback f_handshake_complete. More information can be found in the documentation of ERTS User's Guide ➜ How to implement an Alternative Carrier for the Erlang Distribution ➜ Distribution Module.

erlang:dist_ctrl_get_data_notification(DHandle) -> ok
OTP 21.0

Types

DHandle = dist_handle()

Request notification when more data is available to fetch using erlang:dist_ctrl_get_data(DHandle) for the distribution channel identified by DHandle. When more data is present, the caller will be sent the message dist_data. Once a dist_data messages has been sent, no more dist_data messages will be sent until the dist_ctrl_get_data_notification/1 function has been called again.

Note

Only the process registered as distribution controller for the distribution channel identified by DHandle is allowed to call this function.

This function is used when implementing an alternative distribution carrier using processes as distribution controllers. DHandle is retrived via the callback f_handshake_complete. More information can be found in the documentation of ERTS User's Guide ➜ How to implement an Alternative Carrier for the Erlang Distribution ➜ Distribution Module.

erlang:dist_ctrl_input_handler(DHandle, InputHandler) -> ok
OTP 21.0

Types

DHandle = dist_handle()
InputHandler = pid()

Register an alternate input handler process for the distribution channel identified by DHandle. Once this function has been called, InputHandler is the only process allowed to call erlang:dist_ctrl_put_data(DHandle, Data) with the DHandle identifing this distribution channel.

Note

Only the process registered as distribution controller for the distribution channel identified by DHandle is allowed to call this function.

This function is used when implementing an alternative distribution carrier using processes as distribution controllers. DHandle is retrived via the callback f_handshake_complete. More information can be found in the documentation of ERTS User's Guide ➜ How to implement an Alternative Carrier for the Erlang Distribution ➜ Distribution Module.

erlang:dist_ctrl_put_data(DHandle, Data) -> ok
OTP 21.0

Types

DHandle = dist_handle()
Data = iodata()

Deliver distribution channel data from a remote node to the local node.

Note

Only the process registered as distribution controller for the distribution channel identified by DHandle is allowed to call this function unless an alternate input handler process has been registered using erlang:dist_ctrl_input_handler(DHandle, InputHandler). If an alternate input handler has been registered, only the registered input handler process is allowed to call this function.

This function is used when implementing an alternative distribution carrier using processes as distribution controllers. DHandle is retrived via the callback f_handshake_complete. More information can be found in the documentation of ERTS User's Guide ➜ How to implement an Alternative Carrier for the Erlang Distribution ➜ Distribution Module.

erlang:dist_ctrl_set_opt(DHandle, Opt :: get_size, Value) ->
                            OldValue
OTP 22.0

Types

DHandle = dist_handle()
Value = OldValue = boolean()

Sets the value of the get_size option on the distribution channel identified by DHandle. This option controls the return value of calls to erlang:dist_ctrl_get_data(DHandle) where DHandle equals DHandle used when setting this option. When the get_size option is:

false
and there are distribution data available, a call to erlang:dist_ctrl_get_data(DHandle) will just return Data to pass over the channel. This is the default value of the get_size option.
true
and there are distribution data available, a call to erlang:dist_ctrl_get_data(DHandle) will return Data to pass over the channel as well as the Size of Data in bytes. This is returned as a tuple on the form {Size, Data}.

All options are set to default when a channel is closed.

Note

Only the process registered as distribution controller for the distribution channel identified by DHandle is allowed to call this function.

This function is used when implementing an alternative distribution carrier using processes as distribution controllers. DHandle is retrived via the callback f_handshake_complete. More information can be found in the documentation of ERTS User's Guide ➜ How to implement an Alternative Carrier for the Erlang Distribution ➜ Distribution Module.

element(N, Tuple) -> term()

Types

N = integer() >= 1
1..tuple_size(Tuple)
Tuple = tuple()

Returns the Nth element (numbering from 1) of Tuple, for example:

> element(2, {a, b, c}).
b

Allowed in guard tests.

erase() -> [{Key, Val}]

Types

Key = Val = term()

Returns the process dictionary and deletes it, for example:

> put(key1, {1, 2, 3}),
put(key2, [a, b, c]),
erase().
[{key1,{1,2,3}},{key2,[a,b,c]}]

erase(Key) -> Val | undefined

Types

Key = Val = term()

Returns the value Val associated with Key and deletes it from the process dictionary. Returns undefined if no value is associated with Key. The average time complexity for the current implementation of this function is O(1) and the worst case time complexity is O(N), where N is the number of items in the process dictionary. Example:

> put(key1, {merry, lambs, are, playing}),
X = erase(key1),
{X, erase(key1)}.
{{merry,lambs,are,playing},undefined}

error(Reason) -> no_return()

Types

Reason = term()

Raises an exception of class error with the reason Reason. As evaluating this function causes an exception to be thrown, it has no return value.

The intent of the exception class error is to signal that an unexpected error has happened (for example, a function is called with a parameter that has an incorrect type). See the guide about errors and error handling for additional information. Example:

> catch error(foobar).
{'EXIT',{foobar,[{shell,apply_fun,3,
                        [{file,"shell.erl"},{line,906}]},
                 {erl_eval,do_apply,6,[{file,"erl_eval.erl"},{line,677}]},
                 {erl_eval,expr,5,[{file,"erl_eval.erl"},{line,430}]},
                 {shell,exprs,7,[{file,"shell.erl"},{line,687}]},
                 {shell,eval_exprs,7,[{file,"shell.erl"},{line,642}]},
                 {shell,eval_loop,3,[{file,"shell.erl"},{line,627}]}]}}

error(Reason, Args) -> no_return()

Types

Reason = term()
Args = [term()] | none

Raises an exception of class error with the reason Reason. Args is expected to be the list of arguments for the current function or the atom none. If it is a list, it is used to provide the arguments for the current function in the stack back-trace. If it is none, the arity of the calling function is used in the stacktrace. As evaluating this function causes an exception to be raised, it has no return value.

The intent of the exception class error is to signal that an unexpected error has happened (for example, a function is called with a parameter that has an incorrect type). See the guide about errors and error handling for additional information. Example:

test.erl:

-module(test).
-export([example_fun/2]).

example_fun(A1, A2) ->
    erlang:error(my_error, [A1, A2]).

Erlang shell:

6> c(test).
{ok,test}
7> test:example_fun(arg1,"this is the second argument").
** exception error: my_error
     in function  test:example_fun/2
         called as test:example_fun(arg1,"this is the second argument")
 

error(Reason, Args, Options) -> no_return()
OTP 24.0

Types

Reason = term()
Args = [term()] | none
Options = [Option]
Option = {error_info, ErrorInfoMap}
ErrorInfoMap =
    #{cause => term(), module => module(), function => atom()}

Raises an exception of class error with the reason Reason. Args is expected to be the list of arguments for the current function or the atom none. If it is a list, it is used to provide the arguments for the current function in the stack back-trace. If it is none, the arity of the calling function is used in the stacktrace. As evaluating this function causes an exception to be raised, it has no return value.

If the error_info option is given, the ErrorInfoMap will be inserted into the stacktrace. The information given in the ErrorInfoMap is to be used by error formatters such as erl_error to provide more context around an error.

The default module of the ErrorInfoMap is the module that the call to error/3 is made. The default function is format_error. See format_error/2 for more details on how this Module:Function/2 is to be used

The intent of the exception class error is to signal that an unexpected error has happened (for example, a function is called with a parameter that has an incorrect type). See the guide about errors and error handling for additional information.

exit(Reason) -> no_return()

Types

Reason = term()

Raises an exception of class exit with exit reason Reason. As evaluating this function causes an exception to be raised, it has no return value.

The intent of the exception class exit is that the current process should be stopped (for example when a message telling a process to stop is received).

This function differ from error/1,2,3 by causing an exception of a different class and by having a reason that does not include the list of functions from the call stack.

See the guide about errors and error handling for additional information.

Example:

> exit(foobar).
** exception exit: foobar
> catch exit(foobar).
{'EXIT',foobar}
Note

If a process calls exit(kill) and does not catch the exception, it will terminate with exit reason kill and also emit exit signals with exit reason kill (not killed) to all linked processes. Such exit signals with exit reason kill can be trapped by the linked processes. Note that this means that signals with exit reason kill behave differently depending on how they are sent because the signal will be untrappable if a process sends such a signal to another process with erlang:exit/2.

exit(Pid, Reason) -> true

Types

Pid = pid() | port()
Reason = term()

Sends an exit signal with exit reason Reason to the process or port identified by Pid.

The following behavior applies if Reason is any term, except normal or kill, and P is the process or port identified by Pid:

  • If P is not trapping exits, P exits with exit reason Reason.

  • If P is trapping exits, the exit signal is transformed into a message {'EXIT', From, Reason}, where From is the process identifier of the process that sent the exit signal, and delivered to the message queue of P.

The following behavior applies if Reason is the term normal and Pid is the identifier of a process P which is not the same as the process that invoked erlang:exit(Pid, normal) (the behavior when a process sends a signal with the normal reason to itself is described in the warning):

  • If P is trapping exits, the exit signal is transformed into a message {'EXIT', From, normal}, where From is the process identifier of the process that sent the exit signal, and delivered to P's message queue.
  • The signal has no effect if P is not trapping exits.

If Reason is the atom kill, that is, if exit(Pid, kill) is called, an untrappable exit signal is sent to the process that is identified by Pid, which unconditionally exits with exit reason killed. The exit reason is changed from kill to killed to hint to linked processes that the killed process got killed by a call to exit(Pid, kill).

Note

The functions erlang:exit/1 and erlang:exit/2 are named similarly but provide very different functionalities. The erlang:exit/1 function should be used when the intent is to stop the current process while erlang:exit/2 should be used when the intent is to send an exit signal to another process. Note also that erlang:exit/1 raises an exception that can be caught while erlang:exit/2 does not cause any exception to be raised.

Warning

The only scenario that has not been covered by the description above is when a process P sends an exit signal with reason normal to itself, that is erlang:exit(self(), normal). The behavior in this scenario is as follows:

  • If P is trapping exits, the exit signal is transformed into a message {'EXIT', From, normal}, where From is P's process identifier, and delivered to P's message queue.
  • P exits with reason normal if P is not trapping exits.

Note that the behavior described above is different from when a process sends an exit signal with reason normal to another process. This is arguably strange but this behavior is kept for backward compatibility reasons.

erlang:external_size(Term) -> integer() >= 0
OTP R14B04

Types

Term = term()

Calculates, without doing the encoding, the maximum byte size for a term encoded in the Erlang external term format. The following condition applies always:

> Size1 = byte_size(term_to_binary(Term)),
> Size2 = erlang:external_size(Term),
> true = Size1 =< Size2.
true

This is equivalent to a call to:

erlang:external_size(Term, [])

erlang:external_size(Term, Options) -> integer() >= 0
OTP R14B04

Types

Term = term()
Options = [{minor_version, Version :: integer() >= 0}]

Calculates, without doing the encoding, the maximum byte size for a term encoded in the Erlang external term format. The following condition applies always:

> Size1 = byte_size(term_to_binary(Term, Options)),
> Size2 = erlang:external_size(Term, Options),
> true = Size1 =< Size2.
true

Option {minor_version, Version} specifies how floats are encoded. For a detailed description, see term_to_binary/2.

float(Number) -> float()

Types

Number = number()

Returns a float by converting Number to a float, for example:

> float(55).
55.0

Allowed in guard tests.

Note

If used on the top level in a guard, it tests whether the argument is a floating point number; for clarity, use is_float/1 instead.

When float/1 is used in an expression in a guard, such as 'float(A) == 4.0', it converts a number as described earlier.

float_to_binary(Float) -> binary()
OTP R16B

Types

Float = float()

The same as float_to_binary(Float,[{scientific,20}]).

float_to_binary(Float, Options) -> binary()
OTP R16B

Types

Float = float()
Options = [Option]
Option =
    {decimals, Decimals :: 0..253} |
    {scientific, Decimals :: 0..249} |
    compact

Returns a binary corresponding to the text representation of Float using fixed decimal point formatting. Options behaves in the same way as float_to_list/2. Examples:

> float_to_binary(7.12, [{decimals, 4}]).
<<"7.1200">>
> float_to_binary(7.12, [{decimals, 4}, compact]).
<<"7.12">>
> float_to_binary(7.12, [{scientific, 3}]).
<<"7.120e+00">>

float_to_list(Float) -> string()

Types

Float = float()

The same as float_to_list(Float,[{scientific,20}]).

float_to_list(Float, Options) -> string()
OTP R16B

Types

Float = float()
Options = [Option]
Option =
    {decimals, Decimals :: 0..253} |
    {scientific, Decimals :: 0..249} |
    compact

Returns a string corresponding to the text representation of Float using fixed decimal point formatting.

Available options:

  • If option decimals is specified, the returned value contains at most Decimals number of digits past the decimal point. If the number does not fit in the internal static buffer of 256 bytes, the function throws badarg.

  • If option compact is specified, the trailing zeros at the end of the list are truncated. This option is only meaningful together with option decimals.

  • If option scientific is specified, the float is formatted using scientific notation with Decimals digits of precision.

  • If Options is [], the function behaves as float_to_list/1.

Examples:

> float_to_list(7.12, [{decimals, 4}]).
"7.1200"
> float_to_list(7.12, [{decimals, 4}, compact]).
"7.12"
> float_to_list(7.12, [{scientific, 3}]).
"7.120e+00"
> float_to_list(0.1+0.2)
"3.00000000000000044409e-01"

In the last example, float_to_list(0.1+0.2) evaluates to "3.00000000000000044409e-01". The reason for this is explained in Representation of Floating Point Numbers.

floor(Number) -> integer()
OTP 20.0

Types

Number = number()

Returns the largest integer not greater than Number. For example:

> floor(-10.5).
-11

Allowed in guard tests.

erlang:fun_info(Fun) -> [{Item, Info}]

Types

Fun = function()
Item =
    arity | env | index | name | module | new_index | new_uniq |
    pid | type | uniq
Info = term()

Returns a list with information about the fun Fun. Each list element is a tuple. The order of the tuples is undefined, and more tuples can be added in a future release.

Warning

This BIF is mainly intended for debugging, but it can sometimes be useful in library functions that need to verify, for example, the arity of a fun.

Two types of funs have slightly different semantics:

  • A fun created by fun M:F/A is called an external fun. Calling it will always call the function F with arity A in the latest code for module M. Notice that module M does not even need to be loaded when the fun fun M:F/A is created.

  • All other funs are called local. When a local fun is called, the same version of the code that created the fun is called (even if a newer version of the module has been loaded).

The following elements are always present in the list for both local and external funs:

{type, Type}

Type is local or external.

{module, Module}

Module (an atom) is the module name.

If Fun is a local fun, Module is the module in which the fun is defined.

If Fun is an external fun, Module is the module that the fun refers to.

{name, Name}

Name (an atom) is a function name.

If Fun is a local fun, Name is the name of the local function that implements the fun. (This name was generated by the compiler, and is only of informational use. As it is a local function, it cannot be called directly.) If no code is currently loaded for the fun, [] is returned instead of an atom.

If Fun is an external fun, Name is the name of the exported function that the fun refers to.

{arity, Arity}

Arity is the number of arguments that the fun is to be called with.

{env, Env}

Env (a list) is the environment or free variables for the fun. For external funs, the returned list is always empty.

The following elements are only present in the list if Fun is local:

{pid, Pid}

Pid is the process identifier of the process that originally created the fun.

It might point to the init process if the Fun was statically allocated when module was loaded (this optimisation is performed for local functions that do not capture the environment).

{index, Index}

Index (an integer) is an index into the module fun table.

{new_index, Index}

Index (an integer) is an index into the module fun table.

{new_uniq, Uniq}

Uniq (a binary) is a unique value for this fun. It is calculated from the compiled code for the entire module.

{uniq, Uniq}

Uniq (an integer) is a unique value for this fun. As from Erlang/OTP R15, this integer is calculated from the compiled code for the entire module. Before Erlang/OTP R15, this integer was based on only the body of the fun.

erlang:fun_info(Fun, Item) -> {Item, Info}

Types

Fun = function()
Item = fun_info_item()
Info = term()
fun_info_item() =
    arity | env | index | name | module | new_index | new_uniq |
    pid | type | uniq

Returns information about Fun as specified by Item, in the form {Item,Info}.

For any fun, Item can be any of the atoms module, name, arity, env, or type.

For a local fun, Item can also be any of the atoms index, new_index, new_uniq, uniq, and pid. For an external fun, the value of any of these items is always the atom undefined.

See erlang:fun_info/1.

erlang:fun_to_list(Fun) -> String :: string()

Types

Fun = function()

Returns String that represents the code that created Fun.

String has the following form, if Fun was created by a fun expression of the form fun ModuleName:FuncName/Arity:

"fun ModuleName:FuncName/Arity"

The form of String when Fun is created from other types of fun expressions differs depending on if the fun expression was executed while executing compiled code or if the fun expression was executed while executing uncompiled code (uncompiled escripts, the Erlang shell, and other code executed by the erl_eval module):

compiled code

"#Fun<M.I.U>", where M, I and U correspond to the values named module, index and uniq in the result of erlang:fun_info(Fun).

uncompiled code
All funs created from fun expressions in uncompiled code with the same arity are mapped to the same list by fun_to_list/1.
Note

Generally, one can not use fun_to_list/1 to check if two funs are equal as fun_to_list/1 does not take the fun's environment into account. See erlang:fun_info/1 for how to get the environment of a fun.

Note

The output of fun_to_list/1 can differ between Erlang implementations and may change in future versions.

Examples:

-module(test).
-export([add/1, add2/0, fun_tuple/0]).
add(A) -> fun(B) -> A + B end.
add2() -> fun add/1.
fun_tuple() -> {fun() -> 1 end, fun() -> 1 end}.
> {fun test:add/1, test:add2()}.
{fun test:add/1,#Fun<test.1.107738983>}

Explanation: fun test:add/1 is upgradable but test:add2() is not upgradable.

> {test:add(1), test:add(42)}.
{#Fun<test.0.107738983>,#Fun<test.0.107738983>}

Explanation: test:add(1) and test:add(42) has the same string representation as the environment is not taken into account.

>test:fun_tuple().
{#Fun<test.2.107738983>,#Fun<test.3.107738983>}

Explanation: The string representations differ because the funs come from different fun experssions.

> {fun() -> 1 end, fun() -> 1 end}. > 
{#Fun<erl_eval.45.97283095>,#Fun<erl_eval.45.97283095>}

Explanation: All funs created from fun expressions of this form in uncompiled code with the same arity are mapped to the same list by fun_to_list/1.

erlang:function_exported(Module, Function, Arity) -> boolean()

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Arity = arity()

Returns true if the module Module is current and contains an exported function Function/Arity, or if there is a BIF (a built-in function implemented in C) with the specified name, otherwise returns false.

garbage_collect() -> true

Forces an immediate garbage collection of the executing process. The function is not to be used unless it has been noticed (or there are good reasons to suspect) that the spontaneous garbage collection will occur too late or not at all.

Warning

Improper use can seriously degrade system performance.

garbage_collect(Pid) -> GCResult

Types

Pid = pid()
GCResult = boolean()
garbage_collect(Pid, OptionList) -> GCResult | async
OTP 17.0

Types

Pid = pid()
RequestId = term()
Option = {async, RequestId} | {type, major | minor}
OptionList = [Option]
GCResult = boolean()

Garbage collects the node local process identified by Pid.

Option:

{async, RequestId}
The function garbage_collect/2 returns the value async immediately after the request has been sent. When the request has been processed, the process that called this function is passed a message on the form {garbage_collect, RequestId, GCResult}.
{type, 'major' | 'minor'}
Triggers garbage collection of requested type. Default value is 'major', which would trigger a fullsweep GC. The option 'minor' is considered a hint and may lead to either minor or major GC run.

If Pid equals self(), and no async option has been passed, the garbage collection is performed at once, that is, the same as calling garbage_collect/0. Otherwise a request for garbage collection is sent to the process identified by Pid, and will be handled when appropriate. If no async option has been passed, the caller blocks until GCResult is available and can be returned.

GCResult informs about the result of the garbage collection request as follows:

true
The process identified by Pid has been garbage collected.
false
No garbage collection was performed, as the process identified by Pid terminated before the request could be satisfied.

Notice that the same caveats apply as for garbage_collect/0.

Failures:

badarg
If Pid is not a node local process identifier.
badarg
If OptionList is an invalid list of options.

get() -> [{Key, Val}]

Types

Key = Val = term()

Returns the process dictionary as a list of {Key, Val} tuples. The items in the returned list can be in any order. Example:

> put(key1, merry),
put(key2, lambs),
put(key3, {are, playing}),
get().
[{key1,merry},{key2,lambs},{key3,{are,playing}}]

get(Key) -> Val | undefined

Types

Key = Val = term()

Returns the value Val associated with Key in the process dictionary, or undefined if Key does not exist. The expected time complexity for the current implementation of this function is O(1) and the worst case time complexity is O(N), where N is the number of items in the process dictionary. Example:

> put(key1, merry),
put(key2, lambs),
put({any, [valid, term]}, {are, playing}),
get({any, [valid, term]}).
{are,playing}

erlang:get_cookie() -> Cookie | nocookie

Types

Cookie = atom()

Returns the magic cookie of the local node if the node is alive, otherwise the atom nocookie.

erlang:get_cookie(Node) -> Cookie | nocookie
OTP 24.1

Types

Node = node()
Cookie = atom()

Returns the magic cookie for node Node if the local node is alive, otherwise the atom nocookie.

get_keys() -> [Key]
OTP 18.0

Types

Key = term()

Returns a list of all keys present in the process dictionary. The items in the returned list can be in any order. Example:

> put(dog, {animal,1}),
put(cow, {animal,2}),
put(lamb, {animal,3}),
get_keys().
[dog,cow,lamb]

get_keys(Val) -> [Key]

Types

Val = Key = term()

Returns a list of keys that are associated with the value Val in the process dictionary. The items in the returned list can be in any order. Example:

> put(mary, {1, 2}),
put(had, {1, 2}),
put(a, {1, 2}),
put(little, {1, 2}),
put(dog, {1, 3}),
put(lamb, {1, 2}),
get_keys({1, 2}).
[mary,had,a,little,lamb]

group_leader() -> pid()

Returns the process identifier of the group leader for the process evaluating the function.

Every process is a member of some process group and all groups have a group leader. All I/O from the group is channeled to the group leader. When a new process is spawned, it gets the same group leader as the spawning process. Initially, at system startup, init is both its own group leader and the group leader of all processes.

group_leader(GroupLeader, Pid) -> true

Types

GroupLeader = Pid = pid()

Sets the group leader of Pid to GroupLeader. Typically, this is used when a process started from a certain shell is to have another group leader than init.

The group leader should be rarely changed in applications with a supervision tree, because OTP assumes the group leader of their processes is their application master.

Setting the group leader follows the signal ordering guarentees described in the Processes Chapter in the Erlang Reference Manual.

See also group_leader/0 and OTP design principles related to starting and stopping applications.

halt() -> no_return()

The same as halt(0, []). Example:

> halt().
os_prompt%

halt(Status) -> no_return()

Types

Status = integer() >= 0 | abort | string()

The same as halt(Status, []). Example:

> halt(17).
os_prompt% echo $?
17
os_prompt%

halt(Status, Options) -> no_return()
OTP R15B01

Types

Status = integer() >= 0 | abort | string()
Options = [Option]
Option = {flush, boolean()}

Status must be a non-negative integer, a string, or the atom abort. Halts the Erlang runtime system. Has no return value. Depending on Status, the following occurs:

integer()
The runtime system exits with integer value Status as status code to the calling environment (OS).
Note

On many platforms, the OS supports only status codes 0-255. A too large status code is truncated by clearing the high bits.

string()
An Erlang crash dump is produced with Status as slogan. Then the runtime system exits with status code 1. The string will be truncated if longer than 200 characters.
Note

Before ERTS 9.1 (OTP-20.1) only code points in the range 0-255 was accepted in the string. Now any unicode string is valid.

abort
The runtime system aborts producing a core dump, if that is enabled in the OS.

For integer Status, the Erlang runtime system closes all ports and allows async threads to finish their operations before exiting. To exit without such flushing, use Option as {flush,false}.

For statuses string() and abort, option flush is ignored and flushing is not done.

hd(List) -> term()

Types

List = [term(), ...]

Returns the head of List, that is, the first element, for example:

> hd([1,2,3,4,5]).
1

Allowed in guard tests.

Failure: badarg if List is the empty list [].

erlang:hibernate(Module, Function, Args) -> no_return()

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

Puts the calling process into a wait state where its memory allocation has been reduced as much as possible. This is useful if the process does not expect to receive any messages soon.

The process is awaken when a message is sent to it, and control resumes in Module:Function with the arguments specified by Args with the call stack emptied, meaning that the process terminates when that function returns. Thus erlang:hibernate/3 never returns to its caller. The resume function Module:Function/Arity must be exported (Arity =:= length(Args)).

If the process has any message in its message queue, the process is awakened immediately in the same way as described earlier.

In more technical terms, erlang:hibernate/3 discards the call stack for the process, and then garbage collects the process. After this, all live data is in one continuous heap. The heap is then shrunken to the exact same size as the live data that it holds (even if that size is less than the minimum heap size for the process).

If the size of the live data in the process is less than the minimum heap size, the first garbage collection occurring after the process is awakened ensures that the heap size is changed to a size not smaller than the minimum heap size.

Notice that emptying the call stack means that any surrounding catch is removed and must be re-inserted after hibernation. One effect of this is that processes started using proc_lib (also indirectly, such as gen_server processes), are to use proc_lib:hibernate/3 instead, to ensure that the exception handler continues to work when the process wakes up.

erlang:insert_element(Index, Tuple1, Term) -> Tuple2
OTP R16B

Types

Index = integer() >= 1
1..tuple_size(Tuple1) + 1
Tuple1 = Tuple2 = tuple()
Term = term()

Returns a new tuple with element Term inserted at position Index in tuple Tuple1. All elements from position Index and upwards are pushed one step higher in the new tuple Tuple2. Example:

> erlang:insert_element(2, {one, two, three}, new).
{one,new,two,three}

integer_to_binary(Integer) -> binary()
OTP R16B

Types

Integer = integer()

Returns a binary corresponding to the text representation of Integer, for example:

> integer_to_binary(77).
<<"77">>

integer_to_binary(Integer, Base) -> binary()
OTP R16B

Types

Integer = integer()
Base = 2..36

Returns a binary corresponding to the text representation of Integer in base Base, for example:

> integer_to_binary(1023, 16).
<<"3FF">>

integer_to_list(Integer) -> string()

Types

Integer = integer()

Returns a string corresponding to the text representation of Integer, for example:

> integer_to_list(77).
"77"

integer_to_list(Integer, Base) -> string()

Types

Integer = integer()
Base = 2..36

Returns a string corresponding to the text representation of Integer in base Base, for example:

> integer_to_list(1023, 16).
"3FF"

iolist_size(Item) -> integer() >= 0

Types

Item = iolist() | binary()

Returns an integer, that is the size in bytes, of the binary that would be the result of iolist_to_binary(Item), for example:

> iolist_size([1,2|<<3,4>>]).
4

iolist_to_binary(IoListOrBinary) -> binary()

Types

IoListOrBinary = iolist() | binary()

Returns a binary that is made from the integers and binaries in IoListOrBinary, for example:

> Bin1 = <<1,2,3>>.
<<1,2,3>>
> Bin2 = <<4,5>>.
<<4,5>>
> Bin3 = <<6>>.
<<6>>
> iolist_to_binary([Bin1,1,[2,3,Bin2],4|Bin3]).
<<1,2,3,1,2,3,4,5,4,6>>

erlang:iolist_to_iovec(IoListOrBinary) -> iovec()
OTP 20.1

Types

IoListOrBinary = iolist() | binary()

Returns an iovec that is made from the integers and binaries in IoListOrBinary. This function is useful when you want to flatten an iolist but you do not need a single binary. This can be useful for passing the data to nif functions such as enif_inspect_iovec or do more efficient message passing. The advantage of using this function over iolist_to_binary/1 is that it does not have to copy off-heap binaries. Example:

> Bin1 = <<1,2,3>>.
<<1,2,3>>
> Bin2 = <<4,5>>.
<<4,5>>
> Bin3 = <<6>>.
<<6>>
%% If you pass small binaries and integers it works as iolist_to_binary
> erlang:iolist_to_iovec([Bin1,1,[2,3,Bin2],4|Bin3]).
[<<1,2,3,1,2,3,4,5,4,6>>]
%% If you pass larger binaries, they are split and returned in a form
%% optimized for calling the C function writev.
> erlang:iolist_to_iovec([<<1>>,<<2:8096>>,<<3:8096>>]).
[<<1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,
   0,...>>,
 <<0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,
   ...>>,
 <<0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,...>>]

is_alive() -> boolean()

Returns true if the local node is alive (that is, if the node can be part of a distributed system), otherwise false. A node is alive if it is started with:

  1. "erl -name LONGNAME" or,
  2. "erl -sname SHORTNAME".

A node can also be alive if it has got a name from a call to net_kernel:start/1 and has not been stopped by a call to net_kernel:stop/0.

is_atom(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is an atom, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_binary(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a binary, otherwise false.

A binary always contains a complete number of bytes.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_bitstring(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a bitstring (including a binary), otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_boolean(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is the atom true or the atom false (that is, a boolean). Otherwise returns false.

Allowed in guard tests.

erlang:is_builtin(Module, Function, Arity) -> boolean()

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Arity = arity()

This BIF is useful for builders of cross-reference tools.

Returns true if Module:Function/Arity is a BIF implemented in C, otherwise false.

is_float(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a floating point number, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_function(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a fun, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_function(Term, Arity) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()
Arity = arity()

Returns true if Term is a fun that can be applied with Arity number of arguments, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_integer(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is an integer, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_list(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a list with zero or more elements, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_map(Term) -> boolean()
OTP 17.0

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a map, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_map_key(Key, Map) -> boolean()
OTP 21.0

Types

Key = term()
Map = map()

Returns true if map Map contains Key and returns false if it does not contain the Key.

The call fails with a {badmap,Map} exception if Map is not a map.

Example:

> Map = #{"42" => value}.
#{"42" => value}
> is_map_key("42",Map).
true
> is_map_key(value,Map).
false

Allowed in guard tests.

is_number(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is an integer or a floating point number. Otherwise returns false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_pid(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a process identifier, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_port(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a port identifier, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_process_alive(Pid) -> boolean()

Types

Pid = pid()

Pid must refer to a process at the local node.

Returns true if the process exists and is alive, that is, is not exiting and has not exited. Otherwise returns false.

If process P1 calls is_process_alive(P2Pid) it is guaranteed that all signals, sent from P1 to P2 (P2 is the process with identifier P2Pid) before the call, will be delivered to P2 before the aliveness of P2 is checked. This guarantee means that one can use is_process_alive/1 to let a process P1 wait until a process P2, which has got an exit signal with reason kill from P1, is killed. Example:

exit(P2Pid, kill),
% P2 might not be killed
is_process_alive(P2Pid),
% P2 is not alive (the call above always return false)

See the documentation about signals and erlang:exit/2 for more information about signals and exit singnals.

is_record(Term, RecordTag) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()
RecordTag = atom()

Returns true if Term is a tuple and its first element is RecordTag. Otherwise returns false.

Note

Normally the compiler treats calls to is_record/2 especially. It emits code to verify that Term is a tuple, that its first element is RecordTag, and that the size is correct. However, if RecordTag is not a literal atom, the BIF is_record/2 is called instead and the size of the tuple is not verified.

Allowed in guard tests, if RecordTag is a literal atom.

is_record(Term, RecordTag, Size) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()
RecordTag = atom()
Size = integer() >= 0

RecordTag must be an atom.

Returns true if Term is a tuple, its first element is RecordTag, and its size is Size. Otherwise returns false.

Allowed in guard tests if RecordTag is a literal atom and Size is a literal integer.

Note

This BIF is documented for completeness. Usually is_record/2 is to be used.

is_reference(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a reference, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

is_tuple(Term) -> boolean()

Types

Term = term()

Returns true if Term is a tuple, otherwise false.

Allowed in guard tests.

length(List) -> integer() >= 0

Types

List = [term()]

Returns the length of List, for example:

> length([1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]).
9

Allowed in guard tests.

link(PidOrPort) -> true

Types

PidOrPort = pid() | port()

Sets up and activates a link between the calling process and another process or a port identified by PidOrPort. We will from here on call the identified process or port linkee. If the linkee is a port, it must reside on the same node as the caller.

If one of the participants of a link terminates, it will send an exit signal to the other participant. The exit signal will contain the exit reason of the terminated participant. Other cases when exit signals are triggered due to a link are when no linkee exist (noproc exit reason) and when the connection between linked processes on different nodes is lost or cannot be established (noconnection exit reason).

An existing link can be removed by calling unlink/1. For more information on links and exit signals due to links, see the Processes chapter in the Erlang Reference Manual:

For historical reasons, link/1 has a strange semi-synchronous behavior when it is "cheap" to check if the linkee exists or not, and the caller does not trap exits. If the above is true and the linkee does not exist, link/1 will raise a noproc error exception. The expected behavior would instead have been that link/1 returned true, and the caller later was sent an exit signal with noproc exit reason, but this is unfortunately not the case. The noproc exception is not to be confused with an exit signal with exit reason noproc. Currently it is "cheap" to check if the linkee exists when it is supposed to reside on the same node as the calling process.

The link setup and activation is performed asynchronously. If the link already exists, or if the caller attempts to create a link to itself, nothing is done. A detailed description of the link protocol can be found in the Distribution Protocol chapter of the ERTS User's Guide.

Failure:

  • badarg if PidOrPort does not identify a process or a node local port.
  • noproc linkee does not exist and it is "cheap" to check if it exists as described above.

list_to_atom(String) -> atom()

Types

String = string()

Returns the atom whose text representation is String.

As from Erlang/OTP 20, String may contain any Unicode character. Earlier versions allowed only ISO-latin-1 characters as the implementation did not allow Unicode characters above 255. For more information on Unicode support in atoms, see note on UTF-8 encoded atoms in section "External Term Format" in the User's Guide.

Note

The number of characters that are permitted in an atom name is limited. The default limits can be found in the efficiency guide (section Advanced).

Note

There is configurable limit on how many atoms that can exist and atoms are not garbage collected. Therefore, it is recommended to consider if list_to_existing_atom/1 is a better option than list_to_atom/1. The default limits can be found in the efficiency guide (section Advanced).

Example:

> list_to_atom("Erlang").
'Erlang'

list_to_binary(IoList) -> binary()

Types

IoList = iolist()

Returns a binary that is made from the integers and binaries in IoList, for example:

> Bin1 = <<1,2,3>>.
<<1,2,3>>
> Bin2 = <<4,5>>.
<<4,5>>
> Bin3 = <<6>>.
<<6>>
> list_to_binary([Bin1,1,[2,3,Bin2],4|Bin3]).
<<1,2,3,1,2,3,4,5,4,6>>

list_to_bitstring(BitstringList) -> bitstring()

Types

BitstringList = bitstring_list()
bitstring_list() =
    maybe_improper_list(byte() | bitstring() | bitstring_list(),
                        bitstring() | [])

Returns a bitstring that is made from the integers and bitstrings in BitstringList. (The last tail in BitstringList is allowed to be a bitstring.) Example:

> Bin1 = <<1,2,3>>.
<<1,2,3>>
> Bin2 = <<4,5>>.
<<4,5>>
> Bin3 = <<6,7:4>>.
<<6,7:4>>
> list_to_bitstring([Bin1,1,[2,3,Bin2],4|Bin3]).
<<1,2,3,1,2,3,4,5,4,6,7:4>>

list_to_existing_atom(String) -> atom()

Types

String = string()

Returns the atom whose text representation is String, but only if there already exists such atom. An atom exists if it has been created by the run-time system by either loading code or creating a term in which the atom is part.

Failure: badarg if there does not already exist an atom whose text representation is String.

Note

Note that the compiler may optimize away atoms. For example, the compiler will rewrite atom_to_list(some_atom) to "some_atom". If that expression is the only mention of the atom some_atom in the containing module, the atom will not be created when the module is loaded, and a subsequent call to list_to_existing_atom("some_atom") will fail.

list_to_float(String) -> float()

Types

String = string()

Returns the float whose text representation is String, for example:

> list_to_float("2.2017764e+0").
2.2017764

The float string format is the same as the format for Erlang float literals except for that underscores are not permitted.

Failure: badarg if String contains a bad representation of a float.

list_to_integer(String) -> integer()

Types

String = string()

Returns an integer whose text representation is String, for example:

> list_to_integer("123").
123
> list_to_integer("-123").
-123
> list_to_integer("+123234982304982309482093833234234").
123234982304982309482093833234234

String must contain at least one digit character and can have an optional prefix consisting of a single "+" or "-" character (that is, String must match the regular expression "^[+-]?[0-9]+$").

Failure: badarg if String contains a bad representation of an integer.

list_to_integer(String, Base) -> integer()

Types

String = string()
Base = 2..36

Returns an integer whose text representation in base Base is String, for example:

> list_to_integer("3FF", 16).
1023
> list_to_integer("+3FF", 16).
1023
> list_to_integer("3ff", 16).
1023
> list_to_integer("3fF", 16).
1023
> list_to_integer("-3FF", 16).
-1023

For example, when Base is 16, String must match the regular expression "^[+-]?([0-9]|[A-F]|[a-f])+$".

Failure: badarg if String contains a bad representation of an integer.

list_to_pid(String) -> pid()

Types

String = string()

Returns a process identifier whose text representation is a String, for example:

> list_to_pid("<0.4.1>").
<0.4.1>

Failure: badarg if String contains a bad representation of a process identifier.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging and is not to be used in application programs.

list_to_port(String) -> port()
OTP 20.0

Types

String = string()

Returns a port identifier whose text representation is a String, for example:

> list_to_port("#Port<0.4>").
#Port<0.4>

Failure: badarg if String contains a bad representation of a port identifier.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging and is not to be used in application programs.

list_to_ref(String) -> reference()
OTP 20.0

Types

String = string()

Returns a reference whose text representation is a String, for example:

> list_to_ref("#Ref<0.4192537678.4073193475.71181>").
#Ref<0.4192537678.4073193475.71181>

Failure: badarg if String contains a bad representation of a reference.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging and is not to be used in application programs.

list_to_tuple(List) -> tuple()

Types

List = [term()]

Returns a tuple corresponding to List, for example

> list_to_tuple([share, ['Ericsson_B', 163]]).
{share, ['Ericsson_B', 163]}

List can contain any Erlang terms.

load_module(Module, Binary) -> {module, Module} | {error, Reason}

Types

Module = module()
Binary = binary()
Reason = badfile | not_purged | on_load

If Binary contains the object code for module Module, this BIF loads that object code. If the code for module Module already exists, all export references are replaced so they point to the newly loaded code. The previously loaded code is kept in the system as old code, as there can still be processes executing that code.

Returns either {module, Module}, or {error, Reason} if loading fails. Reason is one of the following:

badfile
The object code in Binary has an incorrect format or the object code contains code for another module than Module.
not_purged
Binary contains a module that cannot be loaded because old code for this module already exists.
on_load
The code in Binary contains an on_load declaration that must be executed before Binary can become the current code. Any previous current code for Module will remain until the on_load call has finished.
Warning

This BIF is intended for the code server (see code(3)) and is not to be used elsewhere.

erlang:load_nif(Path, LoadInfo) -> ok | Error

Types

Path = string()
LoadInfo = term()
Error = {error, {Reason, Text :: string()}}
Reason =
    load_failed | bad_lib | load | reload | upgrade | old_code

Loads and links a dynamic library containing native implemented functions (NIFs) for a module. Path is a file path to the shareable object/dynamic library file minus the OS-dependent file extension (.so for Unix and .dll for Windows). Notice that on most OSs the library has to have a different name on disc when an upgrade of the nif is done. If the name is the same, but the contents differ, the old library may be loaded instead. For information on how to implement a NIF library, see erl_nif(3).

LoadInfo can be any term. It is passed on to the library as part of the initialization. A good practice is to include a module version number to support future code upgrade scenarios.

The call to load_nif/2 must be made directly from the Erlang code of the module that the NIF library belongs to. It returns either ok, or {error,{Reason,Text}} if loading fails. Reason is one of the following atoms while Text is a human readable string that can give more information about the failure:

load_failed
The OS failed to load the NIF library.
bad_lib
The library did not fulfill the requirements as a NIF library of the calling module.
load | upgrade
The corresponding library callback was unsuccessful.
reload
A NIF library is already loaded for this module instance. The previously deprecated reload feature was removed in OTP 20.
old_code
The call to load_nif/2 was made from the old code of a module that has been upgraded; this is not allowed.

erlang:loaded() -> [Module]

Types

Module = module()

Returns a list of all loaded Erlang modules (current and old code), including preloaded modules.

See also code(3).

erlang:localtime() -> DateTime

Types

Returns the current local date and time, {{Year, Month, Day}, {Hour, Minute, Second}}, for example:

> erlang:localtime().
{{1996,11,6},{14,45,17}}

The time zone and Daylight Saving Time correction depend on the underlying OS. The return value is based on the OS System Time.

erlang:localtime_to_universaltime(Localtime) -> Universaltime

Types

Localtime = Universaltime = calendar:datetime()

Converts local date and time to Universal Time Coordinated (UTC), if supported by the underlying OS. Otherwise no conversion is done and Localtime is returned. Example:

> erlang:localtime_to_universaltime({{1996,11,6},{14,45,17}}).
{{1996,11,6},{13,45,17}}

Failure: badarg if Localtime denotes an invalid date and time.

erlang:localtime_to_universaltime(Localtime, IsDst) ->
                                     Universaltime

Types

Localtime = Universaltime = calendar:datetime()
IsDst = true | false | undefined

Converts local date and time to Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) as erlang:localtime_to_universaltime/1, but the caller decides if Daylight Saving Time is active.

If IsDst == true, Localtime is during Daylight Saving Time, if IsDst == false it is not. If IsDst == undefined, the underlying OS can guess, which is the same as calling erlang:localtime_to_universaltime(Localtime).

Examples:

> erlang:localtime_to_universaltime({{1996,11,6},{14,45,17}}, true).
{{1996,11,6},{12,45,17}}
> erlang:localtime_to_universaltime({{1996,11,6},{14,45,17}}, false).
{{1996,11,6},{13,45,17}}
> erlang:localtime_to_universaltime({{1996,11,6},{14,45,17}}, undefined).
{{1996,11,6},{13,45,17}}

Failure: badarg if Localtime denotes an invalid date and time.

make_ref() -> reference()

Returns a unique reference. The reference is unique among connected nodes.

Warning

Before OTP-23 when a node is restarted multiple times with the same node name, references created on a newer node can be mistaken for a reference created on an older node with the same node name.

erlang:make_tuple(Arity, InitialValue) -> tuple()

Types

Arity = arity()
InitialValue = term()

Creates a new tuple of the specified Arity, where all elements are InitialValue, for example:

> erlang:make_tuple(4, []).
{[],[],[],[]}

erlang:make_tuple(Arity, DefaultValue, InitList) -> tuple()

Types

Arity = arity()
DefaultValue = term()
InitList = [{Position :: integer() >= 1, term()}]

Creates a tuple of size Arity, where each element has value DefaultValue, and then fills in values from InitList. Each list element in InitList must be a two-tuple, where the first element is a position in the newly created tuple and the second element is any term. If a position occurs more than once in the list, the term corresponding to the last occurrence is used. Example:

> erlang:make_tuple(5, [], [{2,ignored},{5,zz},{2,aa}]).
{[],aa,[],[],zz}

map_get(Key, Map) -> Value
OTP 21.0

Types

Map = map()
Key = Value = any()

Returns value Value associated with Key if Map contains Key.

The call fails with a {badmap,Map} exception if Map is not a map, or with a {badkey,Key} exception if no value is associated with Key.

Example:

> Key = 1337,
  Map = #{42 => value_two,1337 => "value one","a" => 1},
  map_get(Key,Map).
"value one"

Allowed in guard tests.

map_size(Map) -> integer() >= 0
OTP 17.0

Types

Map = map()

Returns an integer, which is the number of key-value pairs in Map, for example:

> map_size(#{a=>1, b=>2, c=>3}).
3

Allowed in guard tests.

erlang:match_spec_test(MatchAgainst, MatchSpec, Type) ->
                          TestResult
OTP 19.0

Types

MatchAgainst = [term()] | tuple()
MatchSpec = term()
Type = table | trace
TestResult =
    {ok, term(), [return_trace], [{error | warning, string()}]} |
    {error, [{error | warning, string()}]}

Tests a match specification used in calls to ets:select/2 and erlang:trace_pattern/3. The function tests both a match specification for "syntactic" correctness and runs the match specification against the object. If the match specification contains errors, the tuple {error, Errors} is returned, where Errors is a list of natural language descriptions of what was wrong with the match specification.

If Type is table, the object to match against is to be a tuple. The function then returns {ok,Result,[],Warnings}, where Result is what would have been the result in a real ets:select/2 call, or false if the match specification does not match the object tuple.

If Type is trace, the object to match against is to be a list. The function returns {ok, Result, Flags, Warnings}, where Result is one of the following:

  • true if a trace message is to be emitted
  • false if a trace message is not to be emitted
  • The message term to be appended to the trace message

Flags is a list containing all the trace flags to be enabled, currently this is only return_trace.

This is a useful debugging and test tool, especially when writing complicated match specifications.

See also ets:test_ms/2.

max(Term1, Term2) -> Maximum

Types

Term1 = Term2 = Maximum = term()

Returns the largest of Term1 and Term2. If the terms compare equal with the == operator, Term1 is returned.

The Expressions section contains descriptions of the == operator and how terms are ordered.

Examples:

> max(1, 2).
2
> max(1.0, 1).
1.0
> max(1, 1.0).
1
> max("abc", "b").
"b"

erlang:md5(Data) -> Digest

Types

Data = iodata()
Digest = binary()

Computes an MD5 message digest from Data, where the length of the digest is 128 bits (16 bytes). Data is a binary or a list of small integers and binaries.

For more information about MD5, see RFC 1321 - The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm.

Warning

The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm is not considered safe for code-signing or software-integrity purposes.

erlang:md5_final(Context) -> Digest

Types

Context = Digest = binary()

Finishes the update of an MD5 Context and returns the computed MD5 message digest.

erlang:md5_init() -> Context

Types

Context = binary()

Creates an MD5 context, to be used in the following calls to md5_update/2.

erlang:md5_update(Context, Data) -> NewContext

Types

Context = binary()
Data = iodata()
NewContext = binary()

Update an MD5 Context with Data and returns a NewContext.

erlang:memory() -> [{Type, Size}]

Types

Type = memory_type()
Size = integer() >= 0
memory_type() =
    total | processes | processes_used | system | atom |
    atom_used | binary | code | ets

Returns a list with information about memory dynamically allocated by the Erlang emulator. Each list element is a tuple {Type, Size}. The first element Type is an atom describing memory type. The second element Size is the memory size in bytes.

Memory types:

total

The total amount of memory currently allocated. This is the same as the sum of the memory size for processes and system.

processes

The total amount of memory currently allocated for the Erlang processes.

processes_used

The total amount of memory currently used by the Erlang processes. This is part of the memory presented as processes memory.

system

The total amount of memory currently allocated for the emulator that is not directly related to any Erlang process. Memory presented as processes is not included in this memory. instrument(3) can be used to get a more detailed breakdown of what memory is part of this type.

atom

The total amount of memory currently allocated for atoms. This memory is part of the memory presented as system memory.

atom_used

The total amount of memory currently used for atoms. This memory is part of the memory presented as atom memory.

binary

The total amount of memory currently allocated for binaries. This memory is part of the memory presented as system memory.

code

The total amount of memory currently allocated for Erlang code. This memory is part of the memory presented as system memory.

ets

The total amount of memory currently allocated for ETS tables. This memory is part of the memory presented as system memory.

maximum

The maximum total amount of memory allocated since the emulator was started. This tuple is only present when the emulator is run with instrumentation.

For information on how to run the emulator with instrumentation, see instrument(3) and/or erl(1).

Note

The system value is not complete. Some allocated memory that is to be part of this value is not.

When the emulator is run with instrumentation, the system value is more accurate, but memory directly allocated for malloc (and friends) is still not part of the system value. Direct calls to malloc are only done from OS-specific runtime libraries and perhaps from user-implemented Erlang drivers that do not use the memory allocation functions in the driver interface.

As the total value is the sum of processes and system, the error in system propagates to the total value.

The different amounts of memory that are summed are not gathered atomically, which introduces an error in the result.

The different values have the following relation to each other. Values beginning with an uppercase letter is not part of the result.

total      = processes + system
processes  = processes_used + ProcessesNotUsed
system     = atom + binary + code + ets + OtherSystem
atom       = atom_used + AtomNotUsed
RealTotal  = processes + RealSystem
RealSystem = system + MissedSystem

More tuples in the returned list can be added in a future release.

Note

The total value is supposed to be the total amount of memory dynamically allocated by the emulator. Shared libraries, the code of the emulator itself, and the emulator stacks are not supposed to be included. That is, the total value is not supposed to be equal to the total size of all pages mapped to the emulator.

Also, because of fragmentation and prereservation of memory areas, the size of the memory segments containing the dynamically allocated memory blocks can be much larger than the total size of the dynamically allocated memory blocks.

Note

As from ERTS 5.6.4, erlang:memory/0 requires that all erts_alloc(3) allocators are enabled (default behavior).

Failure: notsup if an erts_alloc(3) allocator has been disabled.

erlang:memory(Type :: memory_type()) -> integer() >= 0
erlang:memory(TypeList :: [memory_type()]) ->
                 [{memory_type(), integer() >= 0}]

Types

memory_type() =
    total | processes | processes_used | system | atom |
    atom_used | binary | code | ets

Returns the memory size in bytes allocated for memory of type Type. The argument can also be specified as a list of memory_type() atoms, in which case a corresponding list of {memory_type(), Size :: integer >= 0} tuples is returned.

Note

As from ERTS 5.6.4, erlang:memory/1 requires that all erts_alloc(3) allocators are enabled (default behavior).

Failures:

badarg
If Type is not one of the memory types listed in the description of erlang:memory/0.
badarg
If maximum is passed as Type and the emulator is not run in instrumented mode.
notsup
If an erts_alloc(3) allocator has been disabled.

See also erlang:memory/0.

min(Term1, Term2) -> Minimum

Types

Term1 = Term2 = Minimum = term()

Returns the smallest of Term1 and Term2. If the terms compare equal with the == operator, Term1 is returned.

The Expressions section contains descriptions of the == operator and how terms are ordered.

Examples:

> min(1, 2).
1
> min(1.0, 1).
1.0
> min(1, 1.0).
1
> min("abc", "b").
"abc"

module_loaded(Module) -> boolean()

Types

Module = module()

Returns true if the module Module is loaded, otherwise false. It does not attempt to load the module.

Warning

This BIF is intended for the code server (see code(3)) and is not to be used elsewhere.

monitor(Type :: process, Item :: monitor_process_identifier()) ->
           MonitorRef
monitor(Type :: port, Item :: monitor_port_identifier()) ->
           MonitorRef
OTP 19.0
monitor(Type :: time_offset, Item :: clock_service) -> MonitorRef
OTP 18.0

Types

MonitorRef = reference()
registered_name() = atom()
registered_process_identifier() =
    registered_name() | {registered_name(), node()}

monitor_process_identifier() =
    pid() | registered_process_identifier()

monitor_port_identifier() = port() | registered_name()

Sends a monitor request of type Type to the entity identified by Item. If the monitored entity does not exist or it changes monitored state, the caller of monitor/2 is notified by a message on the following format:

{Tag, MonitorRef, Type, Object, Info}
Note

The monitor request is an asynchronous signal. That is, it takes time before the signal reaches its destination.

Type can be one of the following atoms: process, port or time_offset.

A process or port monitor is triggered only once, after that it is removed from both monitoring process and the monitored entity. Monitors are fired when the monitored process or port terminates, does not exist at the moment of creation, or if the connection to it is lost. If the connection to it is lost, we do not know if it still exists. The monitoring is also turned off when demonitor/1 is called.

A process or port monitor by name resolves the RegisteredName to pid() or port() only once at the moment of monitor instantiation, later changes to the name registration will not affect the existing monitor.

When a process or port monitor is triggered, a 'DOWN' message is sent that has the following pattern:

{'DOWN', MonitorRef, Type, Object, Info}

In the monitor message MonitorRef and Type are the same as described earlier, and:

Object

The monitored entity, which triggered the event. When monitoring a process or a local port, Object will be equal to the pid() or port() that was being monitored. When monitoring process or port by name, Object will have format {RegisteredName, Node} where RegisteredName is the name which has been used with monitor/2 call and Node is local or remote node name (for ports monitored by name, Node is always local node name).

Info

Either the exit reason of the process, noproc (process or port did not exist at the time of monitor creation), or noconnection (no connection to the node where the monitored process resides).

Monitoring a process

Creates monitor between the current process and another process identified by Item, which can be a pid() (local or remote), an atom RegisteredName or a tuple {RegisteredName, Node} for a registered process, located elsewhere.

Note

Before ERTS 10.0 (OTP 21.0), monitoring a process could fail with badarg if the monitored process resided on a primitive node (such as erl_interface or jinterface), where remote process monitoring is not implemented.

Now, such a call to monitor will instead succeed and a monitor is created. But the monitor will only supervise the connection. That is, a {'DOWN', _, process, _, noconnection} is the only message that may be received, as the primitive node have no way of reporting the status of the monitored process.

Monitoring a port

Creates monitor between the current process and a port identified by Item, which can be a port() (only local), an atom RegisteredName or a tuple {RegisteredName, Node} for a registered port, located on this node. Note, that attempt to monitor a remote port will result in badarg.

Monitoring a time_offset

Monitors changes in time offset between Erlang monotonic time and Erlang system time. One valid Item exists in combination with the time_offset Type, namely the atom clock_service. Notice that the atom clock_service is not the registered name of a process. In this case it serves as an identifier of the runtime system internal clock service at current runtime system instance.

The monitor is triggered when the time offset is changed. This either if the time offset value is changed, or if the offset is changed from preliminary to final during finalization of the time offset when the single time warp mode is used. When a change from preliminary to final time offset is made, the monitor is triggered once regardless of whether the time offset value was changed or not.

If the runtime system is in multi time warp mode, the time offset is changed when the runtime system detects that the OS system time has changed. The runtime system does, however, not detect this immediately when it occurs. A task checking the time offset is scheduled to execute at least once a minute, so under normal operation this is to be detected within a minute, but during heavy load it can take longer time.

The monitor is not automatically removed after it has been triggered. That is, repeated changes of the time offset trigger the monitor repeatedly.

When the monitor is triggered a 'CHANGE' message is sent to the monitoring process. A 'CHANGE' message has the following pattern:

{'CHANGE', MonitorRef, Type, Item, NewTimeOffset}

where MonitorRef, Type, and Item are the same as described above, and NewTimeOffset is the new time offset.

When the 'CHANGE' message has been received you are guaranteed not to retrieve the old time offset when calling erlang:time_offset(). Notice that you can observe the change of the time offset when calling erlang:time_offset() before you get the 'CHANGE' message.

Making several calls to monitor/2 for the same Item and/or Type is not an error; it results in as many independent monitoring instances.

The monitor functionality is expected to be extended. That is, other Types and Items are expected to be supported in a future release.

Note

If or when monitor/2 is extended, other possible values for Tag, Object, and Info in the monitor message will be introduced.

monitor(Type :: process,
        Item :: monitor_process_identifier(),
        Opts :: [monitor_option()]) ->
           MonitorRef
OTP 24.0
monitor(Type :: port,
        Item :: monitor_port_identifier(),
        Opts :: [monitor_option()]) ->
           MonitorRef
OTP 24.0
monitor(Type :: time_offset,
        Item :: clock_service,
        Opts :: [monitor_option()]) ->
           MonitorRef
OTP 24.0

Types

MonitorRef = reference()
registered_name() = atom()
registered_process_identifier() =
    registered_name() | {registered_name(), node()}

monitor_process_identifier() =
    pid() | registered_process_identifier()

monitor_port_identifier() = port() | registered_name()

Provides an option list for modification of monitoring functionality provided by monitor/2. The Type and Item arguments have the same meaning as when passed to monitor/2. Currently available options:

{alias, UnaliasOpt}

The returned monitor reference will also become an alias for the calling process. That is, the returned reference can be used for sending messages to the calling process. See also alias/0. The UnaliasOpt determines how the alias should be deactivated.

explicit_unalias

Only an explicit call to unalias/1 will deactivate the alias.

demonitor

The alias will be automatically deactivated when the monitor is removed. This either via an explicit call to demonitor/1 or when it is automatically removed at the same time as a 'DOWN' message is delivered due to the monitor. The alias can also still be deactivated via a call to unalias/1.

reply_demonitor

The alias will be automatically deactivated when the monitor is removed (see demonitor option above) or a reply message sent via the alias is received. When a reply message is received via the alias the monitor will also be automatically removed. This is useful in client/server scenarios when a client monitors the server and will get the reply via the alias. Once the response is received both the alias and the monitor will be automatically removed regardless of whether the response is a reply or a 'DOWN' message. The alias can also still be deactivated via a call to unalias/1. Note that if the alias is removed using the unalias/1 BIF, the monitor will still be left active.

Example:

server() ->
    receive
        {request, AliasReqId, Request} ->
            Result = perform_request(Request),
            AliasReqId ! {reply, AliasReqId, Result}
    end,
    server().

client(ServerPid, Request) ->
    AliasMonReqId = monitor(process, ServerPid, [{alias, reply_demonitor}]),
    ServerPid ! {request, AliasMonReqId, Request},
    %% Alias as well as monitor will be automatically deactivated if we
    %% receive a reply or a 'DOWN' message since we used 'reply_demonitor'
    %% as unalias option...
    receive
        {reply, AliasMonReqId, Result} ->
            Result;
        {'DOWN', AliasMonReqId, process, ServerPid, ExitReason} ->
            error(ExitReason)
    end.

Note that both the server and the client in this example must be executing on at least OTP 24 systems in order for this to work.

For more information on process aliases see the Process Aliases section of the Erlang Reference Manual.

{tag, UserDefinedTag}

Replace the default Tag with UserDefinedTag in the monitor message delivered when the monitor is triggered. For example, when monitoring a process, the 'DOWN' tag in the down message will be replaced by UserDefinedTag.

An example of how the {tag, UserDefinedTag} option can be used in order to enable the new selective receive optimization, introduced in OTP 24, when making multiple requests to different servers:

server() ->
    receive
        {request, From, ReqId, Request} ->
            Result = perform_request(Request),
            From ! {reply, self(), ReqId, Result}
    end,
    server().

client(ServerPids, Request) when is_list(ServerPids) ->
    ReqId = make_ref(),
    lists:foreach(fun (ServerPid) ->
                          _ = monitor(process, ServerPid,
                                      [{tag, {'DOWN', ReqId}}]),
                          ServerPid ! {request, self(), ReqId, Request}
                  end,
                  ServerPids),
    receive_replies(ReqId, length(ServerPids), []).

receive_replies(_ReqId, 0, Acc) ->
    Acc;
receive_replies(ReqId, N, Acc) ->
    %% The compiler will detect that we match on the 'ReqId'
    %% reference in all clauses, and will enable the selective
    %% receive optimization which makes the receive able to
    %% skip past all messages present in the message queue at
    %% the time when the 'ReqId' reference was created...
    Res = receive
              {reply, ServerPid, ReqId, Result} ->
                  %% Here we typically would have deactivated the
                  %% monitor by a call to demonitor(Mon, [flush]) but
                  %% we ignore this in this example for simplicity...
                  {ok, ServerPid, Result};
              {{'DOWN', ReqId}, _Mon, process, ServerPid, ExitReason} ->
                  {error, ServerPid, ExitReason}
          end,
    receive_replies(ReqId, N-1, [Res | Acc]).

In order for this example to work as intended, the client must be executing on at least an OTP 24 system, but the servers may execute on older systems.

monitor_node(Node, Flag) -> true

Types

Node = node()
Flag = boolean()

Monitor the status of the node Node. If Flag is true, monitoring is turned on. If Flag is false, monitoring is turned off.

Making several calls to monitor_node(Node, true) for the same Node is not an error; it results in as many independent monitoring instances.

If Node fails or does not exist, the message {nodedown, Node} is delivered to the process. If a process has made two calls to monitor_node(Node, true) and Node terminates, two nodedown messages are delivered to the process. If there is no connection to Node, an attempt is made to create one. If this fails, a nodedown message is delivered.

The delivery of the nodedown signal is not ordered with respect to other link or monitor signals from the node that goes down. If you need a guarantee that all signals from the remote node has been delivered before the nodedown signal is sent, you should use net_kernel:monitor_nodes/1.

Nodes connected through hidden connections can be monitored as any other nodes.

Failure: notalive if the local node is not alive.

erlang:monitor_node(Node, Flag, Options) -> true

Types

Node = node()
Flag = boolean()
Options = [Option]
Option = allow_passive_connect

Behaves as monitor_node/2 except that it allows an extra option to be specified, namely allow_passive_connect. This option allows the BIF to wait the normal network connection time-out for the monitored node to connect itself, even if it cannot be actively connected from this node (that is, it is blocked). The state where this can be useful can only be achieved by using the Kernel option dist_auto_connect once. If that option is not used, option allow_passive_connect has no effect.

Note

Option allow_passive_connect is used internally and is seldom needed in applications where the network topology and the Kernel options in effect are known in advance.

Failure: badarg if the local node is not alive or the option list is malformed.

erlang:monotonic_time() -> integer()
OTP 18.0

Returns the current Erlang monotonic time in native time unit. This is a monotonically increasing time since some unspecified point in time.

Note

This is a monotonically increasing time, but not a strictly monotonically increasing time. That is, consecutive calls to erlang:monotonic_time/0 can produce the same result.

Different runtime system instances will use different unspecified points in time as base for their Erlang monotonic clocks. That is, it is pointless comparing monotonic times from different runtime system instances. Different runtime system instances can also place this unspecified point in time different relative runtime system start. It can be placed in the future (time at start is a negative value), the past (time at start is a positive value), or the runtime system start (time at start is zero). The monotonic time at runtime system start can be retrieved by calling erlang:system_info(start_time).

erlang:monotonic_time(Unit) -> integer()
OTP 18.0

Types

Returns the current Erlang monotonic time converted into the Unit passed as argument.

Same as calling erlang:convert_time_unit( erlang:monotonic_time(), native, Unit), however optimized for commonly used Units.

erlang:nif_error(Reason) -> no_return()
OTP R14B

Types

Reason = term()

Works exactly like error/1, but Dialyzer thinks that this BIF will return an arbitrary term. When used in a stub function for a NIF to generate an exception when the NIF library is not loaded, Dialyzer does not generate false warnings.

erlang:nif_error(Reason, Args) -> no_return()
OTP R14B

Types

Reason = term()
Args = [term()]

Works exactly like error/2, but Dialyzer thinks that this BIF will return an arbitrary term. When used in a stub function for a NIF to generate an exception when the NIF library is not loaded, Dialyzer does not generate false warnings.

node() -> Node

Types

Node = node()

Returns the name of the local node. If the node is not alive, nonode@nohost is returned instead.

Allowed in guard tests.

node(Arg) -> Node

Types

Arg = pid() | port() | reference()
Node = node()

Returns the node where Arg originates. Arg can be a process identifier, a reference, or a port. If Arg originates from the local node and the local node is not alive, nonode@nohost is returned.

Allowed in guard tests.

nodes() -> Nodes

Types

Nodes = [node()]

Returns a list of all nodes connected to this node through normal connections (that is, hidden nodes are not listed). Same as nodes(visible).

nodes(Arg) -> Nodes

Types

Arg = NodeType | [NodeType]
NodeType = visible | hidden | connected | this | known
Nodes = [node()]

Returns a list of nodes according to the argument specified. The returned result, when the argument is a list, is the list of nodes satisfying the disjunction(s) of the list elements.

NodeTypes:

visible

Nodes connected to this node through normal connections.

hidden

Nodes connected to this node through hidden connections.

connected

All nodes connected to this node.

this

This node.

known

Nodes that are known to this node. That is, connected nodes and nodes referred to by process identifiers, port identifiers, and references located on this node. The set of known nodes is garbage collected. Notice that this garbage collection can be delayed. For more information, see erlang:system_info(delayed_node_table_gc).

Some equalities: [node()] = nodes(this), nodes(connected) = nodes([visible, hidden]), and nodes() = nodes(visible).

now() -> Timestamp

Types

Timestamp = timestamp()
timestamp() =
    {MegaSecs :: integer() >= 0,
     Secs :: integer() >= 0,
     MicroSecs :: integer() >= 0}

Warning

This function is deprecated. Do not use it.

For more information, see section Time and Time Correction in the User's Guide. Specifically, section Dos and Dont's describes what to use instead of erlang:now/0.

Returns the tuple {MegaSecs, Secs, MicroSecs}, which is the elapsed time since 00:00 GMT, January 1, 1970 (zero hour), if provided by the underlying OS. Otherwise some other point in time is chosen. It is also guaranteed that the following calls to this BIF return continuously increasing values. Hence, the return value from erlang:now/0 can be used to generate unique time stamps. If it is called in a tight loop on a fast machine, the time of the node can become skewed.

Can only be used to check the local time of day if the time-zone information of the underlying OS is properly configured.

open_port(PortName, PortSettings) -> port()

Types

PortName =
    {spawn, Command :: string() | binary()} |
    {spawn_driver, Command :: string() | binary()} |
    {spawn_executable, FileName :: file:name_all()} |
    {fd, In :: integer() >= 0, Out :: integer() >= 0}
PortSettings = [Opt]
Opt =
    {packet, N :: 1 | 2 | 4} |
    stream |
    {line, L :: integer() >= 0} |
    {cd, Dir :: string() | binary()} |
    {env,
     Env ::
         [{Name :: os:env_var_name(),
           Val :: os:env_var_value() | false}]} |
    {args, [string() | binary()]} |
    {arg0, string() | binary()} |
    exit_status | use_stdio | nouse_stdio | stderr_to_stdout |
    in | out | binary | eof |
    {parallelism, Boolean :: boolean()} |
    hide |
    {busy_limits_port,
     {integer() >= 0, integer() >= 0} | disabled} |
    {busy_limits_msgq,
     {integer() >= 0, integer() >= 0} | disabled}

Returns a port identifier as the result of opening a new Erlang port. A port can be seen as an external Erlang process.

The name of the executable as well as the arguments specifed in cd, env, args, and arg0 are subject to Unicode filename translation if the system is running in Unicode filename mode. To avoid translation or to force, for example UTF-8, supply the executable and/or arguments as a binary in the correct encoding. For details, see the module file(3), the function file:native_name_encoding/0 in Kernel, and the Using Unicode in Erlang User's Guide.

Note

The characters in the name (if specified as a list) can only be > 255 if the Erlang virtual machine is started in Unicode filename translation mode. Otherwise the name of the executable is limited to the ISO Latin-1 character set.

PortNames:

{spawn, Command}

Starts an external program. Command is the name of the external program to be run. Command runs outside the Erlang work space unless an Erlang driver with the name Command is found. If found, that driver is started. A driver runs in the Erlang work space, which means that it is linked with the Erlang runtime system.

For external programs, PATH is searched (or an equivalent method is used to find programs, depending on the OS). This is done by invoking the shell on certain platforms. The first space-separated token of the command is considered as the name of the executable (or driver). This (among other things) makes this option unsuitable for running programs with spaces in filenames or directory names. If spaces in executable filenames are desired, use {spawn_executable, Command} instead.

{spawn_driver, Command}

Works like {spawn, Command}, but demands the first (space-separated) token of the command to be the name of a loaded driver. If no driver with that name is loaded, a badarg error is raised.

{spawn_executable, FileName}

Works like {spawn, FileName}, but only runs external executables. FileName in its whole is used as the name of the executable, including any spaces. If arguments are to be passed, the PortSettings args and arg0 can be used.

The shell is usually not invoked to start the program, it is executed directly. PATH (or equivalent) is not searched. To find a program in PATH to execute, use os:find_executable/1.

Only if a shell script or .bat file is executed, the appropriate command interpreter is invoked implicitly, but there is still no command-argument expansion or implicit PATH search.

If FileName cannot be run, an error exception is raised, with the POSIX error code as the reason. The error reason can differ between OSs. Typically the error enoent is raised when an attempt is made to run a program that is not found and eacces is raised when the specified file is not executable.

{fd, In, Out}

Allows an Erlang process to access any currently opened file descriptors used by Erlang. The file descriptor In can be used for standard input, and the file descriptor Out for standard output. It is only used for various servers in the Erlang OS (shell and user). Hence, its use is limited.

PortSettings is a list of settings for the port. The valid settings are as follows:

{packet, N}

Messages are preceded by their length, sent in N bytes, with the most significant byte first. The valid values for N are 1, 2, and 4.

stream

Output messages are sent without packet lengths. A user-defined protocol must be used between the Erlang process and the external object.

{line, L}

Messages are delivered on a per line basis. Each line (delimited by the OS-dependent newline sequence) is delivered in a single message. The message data format is {Flag, Line}, where Flag is eol or noeol, and Line is the data delivered (without the newline sequence).

L specifies the maximum line length in bytes. Lines longer than this are delivered in more than one message, with Flag set to noeol for all but the last message. If end of file is encountered anywhere else than immediately following a newline sequence, the last line is also delivered with Flag set to noeol. Otherwise lines are delivered with Flag set to eol.

The {packet, N} and {line, L} settings are mutually exclusive.

{cd, Dir}

Only valid for {spawn, Command} and {spawn_executable, FileName}. The external program starts using Dir as its working directory. Dir must be a string.

{env, Env}

Types:
  Name = os:env_var_name()
  Val = os:env_var_value() | false
  Env = [{Name, Val}]

Only valid for {spawn, Command}, and {spawn_executable, FileName}. The environment of the started process is extended using the environment specifications in Env.

Env is to be a list of tuples {Name, Val}, where Name is the name of an environment variable, and Val is the value it is to have in the spawned port process. Both Name and Val must be strings. The one exception is Val being the atom false (in analogy with os:getenv/1, which removes the environment variable.

For information about encoding requirements, see documentation of the types for Name and Val.

{args, [ string() | binary() ]}

Only valid for {spawn_executable, FileName} and specifies arguments to the executable. Each argument is specified as a separate string and (on Unix) eventually ends up as one element each in the argument vector. On other platforms, a similar behavior is mimicked.

The arguments are not expanded by the shell before they are supplied to the executable. Most notably this means that file wildcard expansion does not occur. To expand wildcards for the arguments, use filelib:wildcard/1. Notice that even if the program is a Unix shell script, meaning that the shell ultimately is invoked, wildcard expansion does not occur, and the script is provided with the untouched arguments. On Windows, wildcard expansion is always up to the program itself, therefore this is not an issue.

The executable name (also known as argv[0]) is not to be specified in this list. The proper executable name is automatically used as argv[0], where applicable.

If you explicitly want to set the program name in the argument vector, option arg0 can be used.

{arg0, string() | binary()}

Only valid for {spawn_executable, FileName} and explicitly specifies the program name argument when running an executable. This can in some circumstances, on some OSs, be desirable. How the program responds to this is highly system-dependent and no specific effect is guaranteed.

exit_status

Only valid for {spawn, Command}, where Command refers to an external program, and for {spawn_executable, FileName}.

When the external process connected to the port exits, a message of the form {Port,{exit_status,Status}} is sent to the connected process, where Status is the exit status of the external process. If the program aborts on Unix, the same convention is used as the shells do (that is, 128+signal).

If option eof is specified also, the messages eof and exit_status appear in an unspecified order.

If the port program closes its stdout without exiting, option exit_status does not work.

use_stdio

Only valid for {spawn, Command} and {spawn_executable, FileName}. It allows the standard input and output (file descriptors 0 and 1) of the spawned (Unix) process for communication with Erlang.

nouse_stdio

The opposite of use_stdio. It uses file descriptors 3 and 4 for communication with Erlang.

stderr_to_stdout

Affects ports to external programs. The executed program gets its standard error file redirected to its standard output file. stderr_to_stdout and nouse_stdio are mutually exclusive.

overlapped_io

Affects ports to external programs on Windows only. The standard input and standard output handles of the port program are, if this option is supplied, opened with flag FILE_FLAG_OVERLAPPED, so that the port program can (and must) do overlapped I/O on its standard handles. This is not normally the case for simple port programs, but an option of value for the experienced Windows programmer. On all other platforms, this option is silently discarded.

in

The port can only be used for input.

out

The port can only be used for output.

binary

All I/O from the port is binary data objects as opposed to lists of bytes.

eof

The port is not closed at the end of the file and does not produce an exit signal. Instead, it remains open and a {Port, eof} message is sent to the process holding the port.

hide

When running on Windows, suppresses creation of a new console window when spawning the port program. (This option has no effect on other platforms.)

{parallelism, Boolean}

Sets scheduler hint for port parallelism. If set to true, the virtual machine schedules port tasks; when doing so, it improves parallelism in the system. If set to false, the virtual machine tries to perform port tasks immediately, improving latency at the expense of parallelism. The default can be set at system startup by passing command-line argument +spp to erl(1).

{busy_limits_port, {Low, High} | disabled}

Sets limits that will be used for controlling the busy state of the port.

When the ports internal output queue size becomes larger than or equal to High bytes, it enters the busy state. When it becomes less than Low bytes it leaves the busy state. When the port is in the busy state, processes sending commands to it will be suspended until the port leaves the busy state. Commands are in this context either Port ! {Owner, {command, Data}} or port_command/[2,3].

The Low limit is automatically adjusted to the same as High if it is set larger then High. Valid range of values for Low and High is [1, (1 bsl (8*erlang:system_info(wordsize)))-2]. If the atom disabled is passed, the port will never enter the busy state.

The defaults are Low = 4096 and High = 8192.

Note that this option is only valid when spawning an executable (port program) by opening the spawn driver and when opening the fd driver. This option will cause a failure with a badarg exception when opening other drivers.

{busy_limits_msgq, {Low, High} | disabled}

Sets limits that will be used for controlling the busy state of the port message queue.

When the ports message queue size becomes larger than or equal to High bytes it enters the busy state. When it becomes less than Low bytes it leaves the busy state. When the port message queue is in the busy state, processes sending commands to it will be suspended until the port message queue leaves the busy state. Commands are in this context either Port ! {Owner, {command, Data}} or port_command/[2,3].

The Low limit is automatically adjusted to the same as High if it is set larger then High. Valid range of values for Low and High is [1, (1 bsl (8*erlang:system_info(wordsize)))-2]. If the atom disabled is passed, the port message queue will never enter the busy state.

Note that if the driver statically has disabled the use of this feature, a failure with a badarg exception will be raised unless this option also is set to disable or not passed at all.

The defaults are Low = 4096 and High = 8192 unless the driver itself does modifications of these values.

Note that the driver might fail if it also adjust these limits by itself and you have disabled this feature.

The spawn driver (used when spawning an executable) and the fd driver do not disable this feature and do not adjust these limits by themselves.

For more information see the documentation erl_drv_busy_msgq_limits().

Default is stream for all port types and use_stdio for spawned ports.

Failure: if the port cannot be opened, the exit reason is badarg, system_limit, or the POSIX error code that most closely describes the error, or einval if no POSIX code is appropriate:

badarg
Bad input arguments to open_port.
system_limit
All available ports in the Erlang emulator are in use.
enomem
Not enough memory to create the port.
eagain
No more available OS processes.
enametoolong
Too long external command.
emfile
No more available file descriptors (for the OS process that the Erlang emulator runs in).
enfile
Full file table (for the entire OS).
eacces
Command specified in {spawn_executable, Command} does not point out an executable file.
enoent
FileName specified in {spawn_executable, FileName} does not point out an existing file.

During use of a port opened using {spawn, Name}, {spawn_driver, Name}, or {spawn_executable, Name}, errors arising when sending messages to it are reported to the owning process using signals of the form {'EXIT', Port, PosixCode}. For the possible values of PosixCode, see file(3).

The maximum number of ports that can be open at the same time can be configured by passing command-line flag +Q to erl(1).

erlang:phash(Term, Range) -> Hash

Types

Term = term()
Range = Hash = integer() >= 1
Range = 1..2^32, Hash = 1..Range

Warning

This function is deprecated as erlang:phash2/2 should be used for new code. Note that erlang:phash(X,N) is not necessary equal to erlang:phash2(X,N)

Portable hash function that gives the same hash for the same Erlang term regardless of machine architecture and ERTS version (the BIF was introduced in ERTS 4.9.1.1). The function returns a hash value for Term within the range 1..Range. The maximum value for Range is 2^32.

erlang:phash2(Term) -> Hash
erlang:phash2(Term, Range) -> Hash

Types

Term = term()
Range = integer() >= 1
1..2^32
Hash = integer() >= 0
0..Range-1

Portable hash function that gives the same hash for the same Erlang term regardless of machine architecture and ERTS version (the BIF was introduced in ERTS 5.2). The function returns a hash value for Term within the range 0..Range-1. The maximum value for Range is 2^32. When without argument Range, a value in the range 0..2^27-1 is returned.

This BIF is always to be used for hashing terms. It distributes small integers better than phash/2, and it is faster for bignums and binaries.

Notice that the range 0..Range-1 is different from the range of phash/2, which is 1..Range.

pid_to_list(Pid) -> string()

Types

Pid = pid()

Returns a string corresponding to the text representation of Pid. Example:

> erlang:pid_to_list(self()).
"<0.85.0>"
Note

The creation for the node is not included in the list representation of Pid. This means that processes in different incarnations of a node with a specific name can get the same list representation.

erlang:port_call(Port, Operation, Data) -> term()

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Operation = integer()
Data = term()

Performs a synchronous call to a port. The meaning of Operation and Data depends on the port, that is, on the port driver. Not all port drivers support this feature.

Port is a port identifier, referring to a driver.

Operation is an integer, which is passed on to the driver.

Data is any Erlang term. This data is converted to binary term format and sent to the port.

Returns a term from the driver. The meaning of the returned data also depends on the port driver.

Failures:

badarg
If Port is not an identifier of an open port, or the registered name of an open port. If the calling process was previously linked to the closed port, identified by Port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before this badarg exception occurs.
badarg
If Operation does not fit in a 32-bit integer.
badarg
If the port driver does not support synchronous control operations.
badarg

If the port driver so decides for any reason (probably something wrong with Operation or Data).

Warning

Do not call port_call with an unknown Port identifier and expect badarg exception. Any undefined behavior is possible (including node crash) depending on how the port driver interprets the supplied arguments.

port_close(Port) -> true

Types

Port = port() | atom()

Closes an open port. Roughly the same as Port ! {self(), close} except for the error behavior (see below), being synchronous, and that the port does not reply with {Port, closed}. Any process can close a port with port_close/1, not only the port owner (the connected process). If the calling process is linked to the port identified by Port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_close/1 returns.

For comparison: Port ! {self(), close} only fails with badarg if Port does not refer to a port or a process. If Port is a closed port, nothing happens. If Port is an open port and the calling process is the port owner, the port replies with {Port, closed} when all buffers have been flushed and the port really closes. If the calling process is not the port owner, the port owner fails with badsig.

Notice that any process can close a port using Port ! {PortOwner, close} as if it itself was the port owner, but the reply always goes to the port owner.

As from Erlang/OTP R16, Port ! {PortOwner, close} is truly asynchronous. Notice that this operation has always been documented as an asynchronous operation, while the underlying implementation has been synchronous. port_close/1 is however still fully synchronous because of its error behavior.

Failure: badarg if Port is not an identifier of an open port, or the registered name of an open port. If the calling process was previously linked to the closed port, identified by Port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before this badarg exception occurs.

port_command(Port, Data) -> true

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Data = iodata()

Sends data to a port. Same as Port ! {PortOwner, {command, Data}} except for the error behavior and being synchronous (see below). Any process can send data to a port with port_command/2, not only the port owner (the connected process).

For comparison: Port ! {PortOwner, {command, Data}} only fails with badarg if Port does not refer to a port or a process. If Port is a closed port, the data message disappears without a sound. If Port is open and the calling process is not the port owner, the port owner fails with badsig. The port owner fails with badsig also if Data is an invalid I/O list.

Notice that any process can send to a port using Port ! {PortOwner, {command, Data}} as if it itself was the port owner.

If the port is busy, the calling process is suspended until the port is not busy any more.

As from Erlang/OTP R16, Port ! {PortOwner, {command, Data}} is truly asynchronous. Notice that this operation has always been documented as an asynchronous operation, while the underlying implementation has been synchronous. port_command/2 is however still fully synchronous because of its error behavior.

Failures:

badarg

If Port is not an identifier of an open port, or the registered name of an open port. If the calling process was previously linked to the closed port, identified by Port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before this badarg exception occurs.

badarg

If Data is an invalid I/O list.

Warning

Do not send data to an unknown port. Any undefined behavior is possible (including node crash) depending on how the port driver interprets the data.

port_command(Port, Data, OptionList) -> boolean()

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Data = iodata()
Option = force | nosuspend
OptionList = [Option]

Sends data to a port. port_command(Port, Data, []) equals port_command(Port, Data).

If the port command is aborted, false is returned, otherwise true.

If the port is busy, the calling process is suspended until the port is not busy anymore.

Options:

force
The calling process is not suspended if the port is busy, instead the port command is forced through. The call fails with a notsup exception if the driver of the port does not support this. For more information, see driver flag ERL_DRV_FLAG_SOFT_BUSY.
nosuspend
The calling process is not suspended if the port is busy, instead the port command is aborted and false is returned.
Note

More options can be added in a future release.

Failures:

badarg
If Port is not an identifier of an open port, or the registered name of an open port. If the calling process was previously linked to the closed port, identified by Port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before this badarg exception occurs.
badarg
If Data is an invalid I/O list.
badarg
If OptionList is an invalid option list.
notsup
If option force has been passed, but the driver of the port does not allow forcing through a busy port.
Warning

Do not send data to an unknown port. Any undefined behavior is possible (including node crash) depending on how the port driver interprets the data.

port_connect(Port, Pid) -> true

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Pid = pid()

Sets the port owner (the connected port) to Pid. Roughly the same as Port ! {Owner, {connect, Pid}} except for the following:

  • The error behavior differs, see below.

  • The port does not reply with {Port,connected}.

  • port_connect/1 is synchronous, see below.

  • The new port owner gets linked to the port.

The old port owner stays linked to the port and must call unlink(Port) if this is not desired. Any process can set the port owner to be any process with port_connect/2.

For comparison: Port ! {self(), {connect, Pid}} only fails with badarg if Port does not refer to a port or a process. If Port is a closed port, nothing happens. If Port is an open port and the calling process is the port owner, the port replies with {Port, connected} to the old port owner. Notice that the old port owner is still linked to the port, while the new is not. If Port is an open port and the calling process is not the port owner, the port owner fails with badsig. The port owner fails with badsig also if Pid is not an existing local process identifier.

Notice that any process can set the port owner using Port ! {PortOwner, {connect, Pid}} as if it itself was the port owner, but the reply always goes to the port owner.

As from Erlang/OTP R16, Port ! {PortOwner, {connect, Pid}} is truly asynchronous. Notice that this operation has always been documented as an asynchronous operation, while the underlying implementation has been synchronous. port_connect/2 is however still fully synchronous because of its error behavior.

Failures:

badarg
If Port is not an identifier of an open port, or the registered name of an open port. If the calling process was previously linked to the closed port, identified by Port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before this badarg exception occurs.
badarg
If the process identified by Pid is not an existing local process.

port_control(Port, Operation, Data) -> iodata() | binary()

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Operation = integer()
Data = iodata()

Performs a synchronous control operation on a port. The meaning of Operation and Data depends on the port, that is, on the port driver. Not all port drivers support this control feature.

Returns a list of integers in the range 0..255, or a binary, depending on the port driver. The meaning of the returned data also depends on the port driver.

Failures:

badarg
If Port is not an open port or the registered name of an open port.
badarg
If Operation cannot fit in a 32-bit integer.
badarg
If the port driver does not support synchronous control operations.
badarg
If the port driver so decides for any reason (probably something wrong with Operation or Data).
Warning

Do not call port_control/3 with an unknown Port identifier and expect badarg exception. Any undefined behavior is possible (including node crash) depending on how the port driver interprets the supplied arguments.

erlang:port_info(Port) -> Result

Types

Port = port() | atom()
ResultItem =
    {registered_name, RegisteredName :: atom()} |
    {id, Index :: integer() >= 0} |
    {connected, Pid :: pid()} |
    {links, Pids :: [pid()]} |
    {name, String :: string()} |
    {input, Bytes :: integer() >= 0} |
    {output, Bytes :: integer() >= 0} |
    {os_pid, OsPid :: integer() >= 0 | undefined}
Result = [ResultItem] | undefined

Returns a list containing tuples with information about Port, or undefined if the port is not open. The order of the tuples is undefined, and all the tuples are not mandatory. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/1 returns undefined.

The result contains information about the following Items:

  • registered_name (if the port has a registered name)
  • id
  • connected
  • links
  • name
  • input
  • output

For more information about the different Items, see port_info/2.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: connected) ->
                    {connected, Pid} | undefined

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Pid = pid()

Pid is the process identifier of the process connected to the port.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: id) -> {id, Index} | undefined

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Index = integer() >= 0

Index is the internal index of the port. This index can be used to separate ports.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: input) ->
                    {input, Bytes} | undefined

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Bytes = integer() >= 0

Bytes is the total number of bytes read from the port.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: links) -> {links, Pids} | undefined

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Pids = [pid()]

Pids is a list of the process identifiers of the processes that the port is linked to.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: locking) ->
                    {locking, Locking} | undefined
OTP R16B

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Locking = false | port_level | driver_level

Locking is one of the following:

  • port_level (port-specific locking)
  • driver_level (driver-specific locking)

Notice that these results are highly implementation-specific and can change in a future release.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: memory) ->
                    {memory, Bytes} | undefined
OTP R16B

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Bytes = integer() >= 0

Bytes is the total number of bytes allocated for this port by the runtime system. The port itself can have allocated memory that is not included in Bytes.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: monitors) ->
                    {monitors, Monitors} | undefined
OTP R16B

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Monitors = [{process, pid()}]

Monitors represent processes monitored by this port.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: monitored_by) ->
                    {monitored_by, MonitoredBy} | undefined
OTP 19.0

Types

Port = port() | atom()
MonitoredBy = [pid()]

Returns list of pids that are monitoring given port at the moment.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: name) -> {name, Name} | undefined

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Name = string()

Name is the command name set by open_port/2.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: os_pid) ->
                    {os_pid, OsPid} | undefined
OTP R16B

Types

Port = port() | atom()
OsPid = integer() >= 0 | undefined

OsPid is the process identifier (or equivalent) of an OS process created with open_port({spawn | spawn_executable, Command}, Options). If the port is not the result of spawning an OS process, the value is undefined.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: output) ->
                    {output, Bytes} | undefined

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Bytes = integer() >= 0

Bytes is the total number of bytes written to the port from Erlang processes using port_command/2, port_command/3, or Port ! {Owner, {command, Data}.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: parallelism) ->
                    {parallelism, Boolean} | undefined
OTP R16B

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Boolean = boolean()

Boolean corresponds to the port parallelism hint used by this port. For more information, see option parallelism of open_port/2.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: queue_size) ->
                    {queue_size, Bytes} | undefined
OTP R16B

Types

Port = port() | atom()
Bytes = integer() >= 0

Bytes is the total number of bytes queued by the port using the ERTS driver queue implementation.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

erlang:port_info(Port, Item :: registered_name) ->
                    {registered_name, RegisteredName} |
                    [] | undefined

Types

Port = port() | atom()
RegisteredName = atom()

RegisteredName is the registered name of the port. If the port has no registered name, [] is returned.

If the port identified by Port is not open, undefined is returned. If the port is closed and the calling process was previously linked to the port, the exit signal from the port is guaranteed to be delivered before port_info/2 returns undefined.

Failure: badarg if Port is not a local port identifier, or an atom.

port_to_list(Port) -> string()

Types

Port = port()

Returns a string corresponding to the text representation of the port identifier Port.

erlang:ports() -> [port()]

Returns a list of port identifiers corresponding to all the ports existing on the local node.

Notice that an exiting port exists, but is not open.

pre_loaded() -> [module()]

Returns a list of Erlang modules that are preloaded in the run-time system. Pre-loaded modules are Erlang modules that are needed to bootstrap the system to load the first Erlang modules from either disk or by using erl_boot_server.

erlang:process_display(Pid, Type) -> true

Types

Pid = pid()
Type = backtrace

Writes information about the local process Pid on standard error. The only allowed value for the atom Type is backtrace, which shows the contents of the call stack, including information about the call chain, with the current function printed first. The format of the output is not further defined.

process_flag(Flag :: trap_exit, Boolean) -> OldBoolean

Types

Boolean = OldBoolean = boolean()

When trap_exit is set to true, exit signals arriving to a process are converted to {'EXIT', From, Reason} messages, which can be received as ordinary messages. If trap_exit is set to false, the process exits if it receives an exit signal other than normal and the exit signal is propagated to its linked processes. Application processes are normally not to trap exits.

Returns the old value of the flag.

See also exit/2.

process_flag(Flag :: error_handler, Module) -> OldModule

Types

Module = OldModule = atom()

Used by a process to redefine the error handler for undefined function calls and undefined registered processes. Inexperienced users are not to use this flag, as code auto-loading depends on the correct operation of the error handling module.

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Flag :: fullsweep_after, FullsweepAfter) ->
                OldFullsweepAfter
OTP 24.0

Types

FullsweepAfter = OldFullsweepAfter = integer() >= 0

Changes the maximum number of generational collections before forcing a fullsweep for the calling process.

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Flag :: min_heap_size, MinHeapSize) -> OldMinHeapSize

Types

MinHeapSize = OldMinHeapSize = integer() >= 0

Changes the minimum heap size for the calling process.

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Flag :: min_bin_vheap_size, MinBinVHeapSize) ->
                OldMinBinVHeapSize
OTP R13B04

Types

MinBinVHeapSize = OldMinBinVHeapSize = integer() >= 0

Changes the minimum binary virtual heap size for the calling process.

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Flag :: max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize) -> OldMaxHeapSize
OTP 19.0

Types

MaxHeapSize = OldMaxHeapSize = max_heap_size()
max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

This flag sets the maximum heap size for the calling process. If MaxHeapSize is an integer, the system default values for kill and error_logger are used.

size

The maximum size in words of the process. If set to zero, the heap size limit is disabled. badarg is be thrown if the value is smaller than min_heap_size. The size check is only done when a garbage collection is triggered.

size is the entire heap of the process when garbage collection is triggered. This includes all generational heaps, the process stack, any messages that are considered to be part of the heap, and any extra memory that the garbage collector needs during collection.

size is the same as can be retrieved using erlang:process_info(Pid, total_heap_size), or by adding heap_block_size, old_heap_block_size and mbuf_size from erlang:process_info(Pid, garbage_collection_info).

kill

When set to true, the runtime system sends an untrappable exit signal with reason kill to the process if the maximum heap size is reached. The garbage collection that triggered the kill is not completed, instead the process exits as soon as possible. When set to false, no exit signal is sent to the process, instead it continues executing.

If kill is not defined in the map, the system default will be used. The default system default is true. It can be changed by either option +hmaxk in erl(1), or erlang:system_flag(max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize).

error_logger

When set to true, the runtime system logs an error event via logger, containing details about the process when the maximum heap size is reached. One log event is sent each time the limit is reached.

If error_logger is not defined in the map, the system default is used. The default system default is true. It can be changed by either the option +hmaxel int erl(1), or erlang:system_flag(max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize).

The heap size of a process is quite hard to predict, especially the amount of memory that is used during the garbage collection. When contemplating using this option, it is recommended to first run it in production with kill set to false and inspect the log events to see what the normal peak sizes of the processes in the system is and then tune the value accordingly.

process_flag(Flag :: message_queue_data, MQD) -> OldMQD
OTP 19.0

Types

MQD = OldMQD = message_queue_data()
message_queue_data() = off_heap | on_heap

Determines how messages in the message queue are stored, as follows:

off_heap

All messages in the message queue will be stored outside the process heap. This implies that no messages in the message queue will be part of a garbage collection of the process.

on_heap

All messages in the message queue will eventually be placed on the process heap. They can, however, be temporarily stored off the heap. This is how messages have always been stored up until ERTS 8.0.

The default value of the message_queue_data process flag is determined by the command-line argument +hmqd in erl(1).

If the process may potentially accumulate a large number of messages in its queue it is recommended to set the flag value to off_heap. This is due to the fact that the garbage collection of a process that has a large number of messages stored on the heap can become extremely expensive and the process can consume large amounts of memory. The performance of the actual message passing is, however, generally better when the flag value is on_heap.

Changing the flag value causes any existing messages to be moved. The move operation is initiated, but not necessarily completed, by the time the function returns.

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Flag :: priority, Level) -> OldLevel

Types

Level = OldLevel = priority_level()
priority_level() = low | normal | high | max

Sets the process priority. Level is an atom. Four priority levels exist: low, normal, high, and max. Default is normal.

Note

Priority level max is reserved for internal use in the Erlang runtime system, and is not to be used by others.

Internally in each priority level, processes are scheduled in a round robin fashion.

Execution of processes on priority normal and low are interleaved. Processes on priority low are selected for execution less frequently than processes on priority normal.

When runnable processes on priority high exist, no processes on priority low or normal are selected for execution. Notice however that this does not mean that no processes on priority low or normal can run when processes are running on priority high. When using multiple schedulers, more processes can be running in parallel than processes on priority high. That is, a low and a high priority process can execute at the same time.

When runnable processes on priority max exist, no processes on priority low, normal, or high are selected for execution. As with priority high, processes on lower priorities can execute in parallel with processes on priority max.

Scheduling is pre-emptive. Regardless of priority, a process is pre-empted when it has consumed more than a certain number of reductions since the last time it was selected for execution.

Note

Do not depend on the scheduling to remain exactly as it is today. Scheduling is likely to be changed in a future release to use available processor cores better.

There is no automatic mechanism for avoiding priority inversion, such as priority inheritance or priority ceilings. When using priorities, take this into account and handle such scenarios by yourself.

Making calls from a high priority process into code that you has no control over can cause the high priority process to wait for a process with lower priority. That is, effectively decreasing the priority of the high priority process during the call. Even if this is not the case with one version of the code that you have no control over, it can be the case in a future version of it. This can, for example, occur if a high priority process triggers code loading, as the code server runs on priority normal.

Other priorities than normal are normally not needed. When other priorities are used, use them with care, especially priority high. A process on priority high is only to perform work for short periods. Busy looping for long periods in a high priority process causes most likely problems, as important OTP servers run on priority normal.

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Flag :: save_calls, N) -> OldN

Types

N = OldN = 0..10000

N must be an integer in the interval 0..10000. If N > 0, call saving is made active for the process. This means that information about the N most recent global function calls, BIF calls, sends, and receives made by the process are saved in a list, which can be retrieved with process_info(Pid, last_calls). A global function call is one in which the module of the function is explicitly mentioned. Only a fixed amount of information is saved, as follows:

  • A tuple {Module, Function, Arity} for function calls

  • The atoms send, 'receive', and timeout for sends and receives ('receive' when a message is received and timeout when a receive times out)

If N = 0, call saving is disabled for the process, which is the default. Whenever the size of the call saving list is set, its contents are reset.

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Flag :: sensitive, Boolean) -> OldBoolean

Types

Boolean = OldBoolean = boolean()

Sets or clears flag sensitive for the current process. When a process has been marked as sensitive by calling process_flag(sensitive, true), features in the runtime system that can be used for examining the data or inner working of the process are silently disabled.

Features that are disabled include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Tracing. Trace flags can still be set for the process, but no trace messages of any kind are generated. (If flag sensitive is turned off, trace messages are again generated if any trace flags are set.)

  • Sequential tracing. The sequential trace token is propagated as usual, but no sequential trace messages are generated.

process_info/1,2 cannot be used to read out the message queue or the process dictionary (both are returned as empty lists).

Stack back-traces cannot be displayed for the process.

In crash dumps, the stack, messages, and the process dictionary are omitted.

If {save_calls,N} has been set for the process, no function calls are saved to the call saving list. (The call saving list is not cleared. Also, send, receive, and time-out events are still added to the list.)

Returns the old value of the flag.

process_flag(Pid, Flag, Value) -> OldValue

Types

Pid = pid()
Flag = save_calls
Value = OldValue = integer() >= 0

Sets certain flags for the process Pid, in the same manner as process_flag/2. Returns the old value of the flag. The valid values for Flag are only a subset of those allowed in process_flag/2, namely save_calls.

Failure: badarg if Pid is not a local process.

process_info(Pid) -> Info

Types

Pid = pid()
Info = [InfoTuple] | undefined
InfoTuple = process_info_result_item()
process_info_result_item() =
    {backtrace, Bin :: binary()} |
    {binary,
     BinInfo ::
         [{integer() >= 0,
           integer() >= 0,
           integer() >= 0}]} |
    {catchlevel, CatchLevel :: integer() >= 0} |
    {current_function,
     {Module :: module(), Function :: atom(), Arity :: arity()} |
     undefined} |
    {current_location,
     {Module :: module(),
      Function :: atom(),
      Arity :: arity(),
      Location ::
          [{file, Filename :: string()} |
           {line, Line :: integer() >= 1}]}} |
    {current_stacktrace, Stack :: [stack_item()]} |
    {dictionary, Dictionary :: [{Key :: term(), Value :: term()}]} |
    {error_handler, Module :: module()} |
    {garbage_collection, GCInfo :: [{atom(), integer() >= 0}]} |
    {garbage_collection_info,
     GCInfo :: [{atom(), integer() >= 0}]} |
    {group_leader, GroupLeader :: pid()} |
    {heap_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {initial_call, mfa()} |
    {links, PidsAndPorts :: [pid() | port()]} |
    {last_calls, false | (Calls :: [mfa()])} |
    {memory, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {message_queue_len, MessageQueueLen :: integer() >= 0} |
    {messages, MessageQueue :: [term()]} |
    {min_heap_size, MinHeapSize :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_bin_vheap_size, MinBinVHeapSize :: integer() >= 0} |
    {max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize :: max_heap_size()} |
    {monitored_by,
     MonitoredBy :: [pid() | port() | nif_resource()]} |
    {monitors,
     Monitors ::
         [{process | port,
           Pid ::
               pid() |
               port() |
               {RegName :: atom(), Node :: node()}}]} |
    {message_queue_data, MQD :: message_queue_data()} |
    {priority, Level :: priority_level()} |
    {reductions, Number :: integer() >= 0} |
    {registered_name, [] | (Atom :: atom())} |
    {sequential_trace_token,
     [] | (SequentialTraceToken :: term())} |
    {stack_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {status,
     Status ::
         exiting | garbage_collecting | waiting | running |
         runnable | suspended} |
    {suspending,
     SuspendeeList ::
         [{Suspendee :: pid(),
           ActiveSuspendCount :: integer() >= 0,
           OutstandingSuspendCount :: integer() >= 0}]} |
    {total_heap_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {trace, InternalTraceFlags :: integer() >= 0} |
    {trap_exit, Boolean :: boolean()}

priority_level() = low | normal | high | max
stack_item() =
    {Module :: module(),
     Function :: atom(),
     Arity :: arity() | (Args :: [term()]),
     Location ::
         [{file, Filename :: string()} |
          {line, Line :: integer() >= 1}]}

max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

message_queue_data() = off_heap | on_heap

Returns a list containing InfoTuples with miscellaneous information about the process identified by Pid, or undefined if the process is not alive.

The order of the InfoTuples is undefined and all InfoTuples are not mandatory. The InfoTuples part of the result can be changed without prior notice.

The InfoTuples with the following items are part of the result:

  • current_function
  • initial_call
  • status
  • message_queue_len
  • links
  • dictionary
  • trap_exit
  • error_handler
  • priority
  • group_leader
  • total_heap_size
  • heap_size
  • stack_size
  • reductions
  • garbage_collection

If the process identified by Pid has a registered name, also an InfoTuple with item registered_name is included.

For information about specific InfoTuples, see process_info/2.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging only. For all other purposes, use process_info/2.

Failure: badarg if Pid is not a local process.

process_info(Pid, Item) -> InfoTuple | [] | undefined
process_info(Pid, ItemList) -> InfoTupleList | [] | undefined

Types

Pid = pid()
ItemList = [Item]
Item = process_info_item()
InfoTupleList = [InfoTuple]
InfoTuple = process_info_result_item()
process_info_item() =
    backtrace | binary | catchlevel | current_function |
    current_location | current_stacktrace | dictionary |
    error_handler | garbage_collection | garbage_collection_info |
    group_leader | heap_size | initial_call | links | last_calls |
    memory | message_queue_len | messages | min_heap_size |
    min_bin_vheap_size | monitored_by | monitors |
    message_queue_data | priority | reductions | registered_name |
    sequential_trace_token | stack_size | status | suspending |
    total_heap_size | trace | trap_exit

process_info_result_item() =
    {backtrace, Bin :: binary()} |
    {binary,
     BinInfo ::
         [{integer() >= 0,
           integer() >= 0,
           integer() >= 0}]} |
    {catchlevel, CatchLevel :: integer() >= 0} |
    {current_function,
     {Module :: module(), Function :: atom(), Arity :: arity()} |
     undefined} |
    {current_location,
     {Module :: module(),
      Function :: atom(),
      Arity :: arity(),
      Location ::
          [{file, Filename :: string()} |
           {line, Line :: integer() >= 1}]}} |
    {current_stacktrace, Stack :: [stack_item()]} |
    {dictionary, Dictionary :: [{Key :: term(), Value :: term()}]} |
    {error_handler, Module :: module()} |
    {garbage_collection, GCInfo :: [{atom(), integer() >= 0}]} |
    {garbage_collection_info,
     GCInfo :: [{atom(), integer() >= 0}]} |
    {group_leader, GroupLeader :: pid()} |
    {heap_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {initial_call, mfa()} |
    {links, PidsAndPorts :: [pid() | port()]} |
    {last_calls, false | (Calls :: [mfa()])} |
    {memory, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {message_queue_len, MessageQueueLen :: integer() >= 0} |
    {messages, MessageQueue :: [term()]} |
    {min_heap_size, MinHeapSize :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_bin_vheap_size, MinBinVHeapSize :: integer() >= 0} |
    {max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize :: max_heap_size()} |
    {monitored_by,
     MonitoredBy :: [pid() | port() | nif_resource()]} |
    {monitors,
     Monitors ::
         [{process | port,
           Pid ::
               pid() |
               port() |
               {RegName :: atom(), Node :: node()}}]} |
    {message_queue_data, MQD :: message_queue_data()} |
    {priority, Level :: priority_level()} |
    {reductions, Number :: integer() >= 0} |
    {registered_name, [] | (Atom :: atom())} |
    {sequential_trace_token,
     [] | (SequentialTraceToken :: term())} |
    {stack_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {status,
     Status ::
         exiting | garbage_collecting | waiting | running |
         runnable | suspended} |
    {suspending,
     SuspendeeList ::
         [{Suspendee :: pid(),
           ActiveSuspendCount :: integer() >= 0,
           OutstandingSuspendCount :: integer() >= 0}]} |
    {total_heap_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {trace, InternalTraceFlags :: integer() >= 0} |
    {trap_exit, Boolean :: boolean()}

stack_item() =
    {Module :: module(),
     Function :: atom(),
     Arity :: arity() | (Args :: [term()]),
     Location ::
         [{file, Filename :: string()} |
          {line, Line :: integer() >= 1}]}

priority_level() = low | normal | high | max
max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

message_queue_data() = off_heap | on_heap

Returns information about the process identified by Pid, as specified by Item or ItemList. Returns undefined if the process is not alive.

If the process is alive and a single Item is specified, the returned value is the corresponding InfoTuple, unless Item =:= registered_name and the process has no registered name. In this case, [] is returned. This strange behavior is because of historical reasons, and is kept for backward compatibility.

If ItemList is specified, the result is InfoTupleList. The InfoTuples in InfoTupleList are included with the corresponding Items in the same order as the Items were included in ItemList. Valid Items can be included multiple times in ItemList.

Getting process informations follows the signal ordering guarantees described in the Processes Chapter in the Erlang Reference Manual.

Note

If registered_name is part of ItemList and the process has no name registered, a {registered_name, []}, InfoTuple will be included in the resulting InfoTupleList. This behavior is different when a single Item =:= registered_name is specified, and when process_info/1 is used.

Valid InfoTuples with corresponding Items:

{backtrace, Bin}

Binary Bin contains the same information as the output from erlang:process_display(Pid, backtrace). Use binary_to_list/1 to obtain the string of characters from the binary.

{binary, BinInfo}

BinInfo is a list containing miscellaneous information about binaries on the heap of this process. This InfoTuple can be changed or removed without prior notice. In the current implementation BinInfo is a list of tuples. The tuples contain; BinaryId, BinarySize, BinaryRefcCount.

Depending on the value of the message_queue_data process flag the message queue may be stored on the heap.

{catchlevel, CatchLevel}

CatchLevel is the number of currently active catches in this process. This InfoTuple can be changed or removed without prior notice.

{current_function, {Module, Function, Arity} | undefined}

Module, Function, Arity is the current function call of the process. The value undefined can be returned if the process is currently executing native compiled code.

{current_location, {Module, Function, Arity, Location}}

Module, Function, Arity is the current function call of the process. Location is a list of two-tuples describing the location in the source code.

{current_stacktrace, Stack}

Returns the current call stack back-trace (stacktrace) of the process. The stack has the same format as in the catch part of a try. See The call-stack back trace (stacktrace). The depth of the stacktrace is truncated according to the backtrace_depth system flag setting.

{dictionary, Dictionary}

Dictionary is the process dictionary.

{error_handler, Module}

Module is the error handler module used by the process (for undefined function calls, for example).

{garbage_collection, GCInfo}

GCInfo is a list containing miscellaneous information about garbage collection for this process. The content of GCInfo can be changed without prior notice.

{garbage_collection_info, GCInfo}

GCInfo is a list containing miscellaneous detailed information about garbage collection for this process. The content of GCInfo can be changed without prior notice. For details about the meaning of each item, see gc_minor_start in erlang:trace/3.

{group_leader, GroupLeader}

GroupLeader is the group leader for the I/O of the process.

{heap_size, Size}

Size is the size in words of the youngest heap generation of the process. This generation includes the process stack. This information is highly implementation-dependent, and can change if the implementation changes.

{initial_call, {Module, Function, Arity}}

Module, Function, Arity is the initial function call with which the process was spawned.

{links, PidsAndPorts}

PidsAndPorts is a list of process identifiers and port identifiers, with processes or ports to which the process has a link.

{last_calls, false|Calls}

The value is false if call saving is not active for the process (see process_flag/3). If call saving is active, a list is returned, in which the last element is the most recent called.

{memory, Size}

Size is the size in bytes of the process. This includes call stack, heap, and internal structures.

{message_queue_len, MessageQueueLen}

MessageQueueLen is the number of messages currently in the message queue of the process. This is the length of the list MessageQueue returned as the information item messages (see below).

{messages, MessageQueue}

MessageQueue is a list of the messages to the process, which have not yet been processed.

{min_heap_size, MinHeapSize}

MinHeapSize is the minimum heap size for the process.

{min_bin_vheap_size, MinBinVHeapSize}

MinBinVHeapSize is the minimum binary virtual heap size for the process.

{monitored_by, MonitoredBy}

A list of identifiers for all the processes, ports and NIF resources, that are monitoring the process.

{monitors, Monitors}

A list of monitors (started by monitor/2) that are active for the process. For a local process monitor or a remote process monitor by a process identifier, the list consists of:

{process, Pid}
Process is monitored by pid.
{process, {RegName, Node}}
Local or remote process is monitored by name.
{port, PortId}
Local port is monitored by port id.
{port, {RegName, Node}}
Local port is monitored by name. Please note, that remote port monitors are not supported, so Node will always be the local node name.
{message_queue_data, MQD}

MQD is the current value of the message_queue_data process flag, which can be either off_heap or on_heap. For more information, see the documentation of process_flag(message_queue_data, MQD).

{priority, Level}

Level is the current priority level for the process. For more information on priorities, see process_flag(priority, Level).

{reductions, Number}

Number is the number of reductions executed by the process.

{registered_name, Atom}

Atom is the registered process name. If the process has no registered name, this tuple is not present in the list.

{sequential_trace_token, [] | SequentialTraceToken}

SequentialTraceToken is the sequential trace token for the process. This InfoTuple can be changed or removed without prior notice.

{stack_size, Size}

Size is the stack size, in words, of the process.

{status, Status}

Status is the status of the process and is one of the following:

  • exiting
  • garbage_collecting
  • waiting (for a message)
  • running
  • runnable (ready to run, but another process is running)
  • suspended (suspended on a "busy" port or by the BIF erlang:suspend_process/1,2)
{suspending, SuspendeeList}

SuspendeeList is a list of {Suspendee, ActiveSuspendCount, OutstandingSuspendCount} tuples. Suspendee is the process identifier of a process that has been, or is to be, suspended by the process identified by Pid through the BIF erlang:suspend_process/2 or erlang:suspend_process/1.

ActiveSuspendCount is the number of times Suspendee has been suspended by Pid. OutstandingSuspendCount is the number of not yet completed suspend requests sent by Pid, that is:

  • If ActiveSuspendCount =/= 0, Suspendee is currently in the suspended state.

  • If OutstandingSuspendCount =/= 0, option asynchronous of erlang:suspend_process/2 has been used and the suspendee has not yet been suspended by Pid.

Notice that ActiveSuspendCount and OutstandingSuspendCount are not the total suspend count on Suspendee, only the parts contributed by Pid.

{total_heap_size, Size}

Size is the total size, in words, of all heap fragments of the process. This includes the process stack and any unreceived messages that are considered to be part of the heap.

{trace, InternalTraceFlags}

InternalTraceFlags is an integer representing the internal trace flag for this process. This InfoTuple can be changed or removed without prior notice.

{trap_exit, Boolean}

Boolean is true if the process is trapping exits, otherwise false.

Notice that not all implementations support all these Items.

Failures:

badarg
If Pid is not a local process.
badarg
If Item is an invalid item.

processes() -> [pid()]

Returns a list of process identifiers corresponding to all the processes currently existing on the local node.

Notice that an exiting process exists, but is not alive. That is, is_process_alive/1 returns false for an exiting process, but its process identifier is part of the result returned from processes/0.

Example:

> processes().
[<0.0.0>,<0.2.0>,<0.4.0>,<0.5.0>,<0.7.0>,<0.8.0>]

purge_module(Module) -> true

Types

Module = atom()

Removes old code for Module. Before this BIF is used, check_process_code/2 is to be called to check that no processes execute old code in the module.

Warning

This BIF is intended for the code server (see code(3)) and is not to be used elsewhere.

Note

As from ERTS 8.0 (Erlang/OTP 19), any lingering processes that still execute the old code is killed by this function. In earlier versions, such incorrect use could cause much more fatal failures, like emulator crash.

Failure: badarg if there is no old code for Module.

put(Key, Val) -> term()

Types

Key = Val = term()

Adds a new Key to the process dictionary, associated with the value Val, and returns undefined. If Key exists, the old value is deleted and replaced by Val, and the function returns the old value. The average time complexity for the current implementation of this function is O(1) and the worst case time complexity is O(N), where N is the number of items in the process dictionary. Example:

> X = put(name, walrus), Y = put(name, carpenter),
Z = get(name),
{X, Y, Z}.
{undefined,walrus,carpenter}
Note

The values stored when put is evaluated within the scope of a catch are not retracted if a throw is evaluated, or if an error occurs.

erlang:raise(Class, Reason, Stacktrace) -> badarg

Types

Class = error | exit | throw
Reason = term()
Stacktrace = raise_stacktrace() | stacktrace()
raise_stacktrace() =
    [{module(), atom(), arity() | [term()]} |
     {function(), arity() | [term()]}]

Raises an exception of the specified class, reason, and call stack backtrace (stacktrace).

Class is error, exit, or throw. So, if it were not for the stacktrace, erlang:raise(Class, Reason, Stacktrace) is equivalent to erlang:Class(Reason) (given that Class is a valid class).

Reason can be any term.

Stacktrace is a list as provided in a try-catch clause.

try
    ...
catch Class:Reason:Stacktrace ->
    ...
end

That is, a list of four-tuples {Module, Function, Arity | Args, ExtraInfo}, where Module and Function are atoms, and the third element is an integer arity or an argument list. The stacktrace can also contain {Fun, Args, ExtraInfo} tuples, where Fun is a local fun and Args is an argument list.

Element ExtraInfo at the end is optional. Omitting it is equivalent to specifying an empty list.

The stacktrace is used as the exception stacktrace for the calling process; it is truncated to the current maximum stacktrace depth.

As evaluating this function causes the process to terminate, it has no return value unless the arguments are invalid, in which case the function returns the error reason badarg. If you want to be sure not to return, you can call error(erlang:raise(Class, Reason, Stacktrace)) and hope to distinguish exceptions later.

See the reference manual about errors and error handling for more information about exception classes and how to catch exceptions.

erlang:read_timer(TimerRef) -> Result

Types

TimerRef = reference()
Time = integer() >= 0
Result = Time | false

Reads the state of a timer. The same as calling erlang:read_timer(TimerRef, []).

erlang:read_timer(TimerRef, Options) -> Result | ok
OTP 18.0

Types

TimerRef = reference()
Async = boolean()
Option = {async, Async}
Options = [Option]
Time = integer() >= 0
Result = Time | false

Reads the state of a timer that has been created by either erlang:start_timer or erlang:send_after. TimerRef identifies the timer, and was returned by the BIF that created the timer.

Options:

{async, Async}

Asynchronous request for state information. Async defaults to false, which causes the operation to be performed synchronously. In this case, the Result is returned by erlang:read_timer. When Async is true, erlang:read_timer sends an asynchronous request for the state information to the timer service that manages the timer, and then returns ok. A message on the format {read_timer, TimerRef, Result} is sent to the caller of erlang:read_timer when the operation has been processed.

More Options can be added in the future.

If Result is an integer, it represents the time in milliseconds left until the timer expires.

If Result is false, a timer corresponding to TimerRef could not be found. This because the timer had expired, or been canceled, or because TimerRef never has corresponded to a timer. Even if the timer has expired, it does not tell you whether or not the time-out message has arrived at its destination yet.

Note

The timer service that manages the timer can be co-located with another scheduler than the scheduler that the calling process is executing on. If so, communication with the timer service takes much longer time than if it is located locally. If the calling process is in a critical path, and can do other things while waiting for the result of this operation, you want to use option {async, true}. If using option {async, false}, the calling process is blocked until the operation has been performed.

See also erlang:send_after/4, erlang:start_timer/4, and erlang:cancel_timer/2.

ref_to_list(Ref) -> string()

Types

Ref = reference()

Returns a string corresponding to the text representation of Ref.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging and is not to be used in application programs.

register(RegName, PidOrPort) -> true

Types

RegName = atom()
PidOrPort = port() | pid()

Registers the name RegName with a process identifier (pid) or a port identifier in the name registry. RegName, which must be an atom, can be used instead of the pid or port identifier in send operator (RegName ! Message) and most other BIFs that take a pid or port identifies as an argument. Example:

> register(db, Pid).
true

The registered name is considered a Directly Visible Erlang Resource and is automatically unregistered when the process terminates.

Failures:

badarg
If PidOrPort is not an existing local process or port.
badarg
If RegName is already in use.
badarg
If the process or port is already registered (already has a name).
badarg
If RegName is the atom undefined.

registered() -> [RegName]

Types

RegName = atom()

Returns a list of names that have been registered using register/2, for example:

> registered().
[code_server, file_server, init, user, my_db]

erlang:resume_process(Suspendee) -> true

Types

Suspendee = pid()

Decreases the suspend count on the process identified by Suspendee. Suspendee is previously to have been suspended through erlang:suspend_process/2 or erlang:suspend_process/1 by the process calling erlang:resume_process(Suspendee). When the suspend count on Suspendee reaches zero, Suspendee is resumed, that is, its state is changed from suspended into the state it had before it was suspended.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging only.

Failures:

badarg
If Suspendee is not a process identifier.
badarg
If the process calling erlang:resume_process/1 had not previously increased the suspend count on the process identified by Suspendee.
badarg
If the process identified by Suspendee is not alive.

round(Number) -> integer()

Types

Number = number()

Returns an integer by rounding Number, for example:

round(42.1).
42
round(5.5).
6
round(-5.5).
-6
round(36028797018963969.0).
36028797018963968

In the last example, round(36028797018963969.0) evaluates to 36028797018963968. The reason for this is that the number 36028797018963969.0 cannot be represented exactly as a float value. Instead, the float literal is represented as 36028797018963968.0, which is the closest number that can be represented exactly as a float value. See Representation of Floating Point Numbers for additional information.

Allowed in guard tests.

self() -> pid()

Returns the process identifier of the calling process, for example:

> self().
<0.26.0>

Allowed in guard tests.

erlang:send(Dest, Msg) -> Msg

Types

Dest = dst()
Msg = term()
dst() =
    pid() |
    reference() |
    port() |
    (RegName :: atom()) |
    {RegName :: atom(), Node :: node()}

Sends a message and returns Msg. This is the same as using the send operator: Dest ! Msg.

Dest can be a remote or local process identifier, an alias, a (local) port, a locally registered name, or a tuple {RegName, Node} for a registered name at another node.

The function fails with a badarg run-time error if Dest is an atom name, but this name is not registered. This is the only case when send fails for an unreachable destination Dest (of correct type).

erlang:send(Dest, Msg, Options) -> Res

Types

Dest = dst()
Msg = term()
Options = [nosuspend | noconnect]
Res = ok | nosuspend | noconnect
dst() =
    pid() |
    reference() |
    port() |
    (RegName :: atom()) |
    {RegName :: atom(), Node :: node()}

Either sends a message and returns ok, or does not send the message but returns something else (see below). Otherwise the same as erlang:send/2. For more detailed explanation and warnings, see erlang:send_nosuspend/2,3.

Options:

nosuspend
If the sender would have to be suspended to do the send, nosuspend is returned instead.
noconnect
If the destination node would have to be auto-connected to do the send, noconnect is returned instead.
Warning

As with erlang:send_nosuspend/2,3: use with extreme care.

erlang:send_after(Time, Dest, Msg) -> TimerRef

Types

Time = integer() >= 0
Dest = pid() | atom()
Msg = term()
TimerRef = reference()

Starts a timer. The same as calling erlang:send_after(Time, Dest, Msg, []).

erlang:send_after(Time, Dest, Msg, Options) -> TimerRef
OTP 18.0

Types

Time = integer()
Dest = pid() | atom()
Msg = term()
Options = [Option]
Abs = boolean()
Option = {abs, Abs}
TimerRef = reference()

Starts a timer. When the timer expires, the message Msg is sent to the process identified by Dest. Apart from the format of the time-out message, this function works exactly as erlang:start_timer/4.

erlang:send_nosuspend(Dest, Msg) -> boolean()

Types

Dest = dst()
Msg = term()
dst() =
    pid() |
    reference() |
    port() |
    (RegName :: atom()) |
    {RegName :: atom(), Node :: node()}

The same as erlang:send(Dest, Msg, [nosuspend]), but returns true if the message was sent and false if the message was not sent because the sender would have had to be suspended.

This function is intended for send operations to an unreliable remote node without ever blocking the sending (Erlang) process. If the connection to the remote node (usually not a real Erlang node, but a node written in C or Java) is overloaded, this function does not send the message and returns false.

The same occurs if Dest refers to a local port that is busy. For all other destinations (allowed for the ordinary send operator '!'), this function sends the message and returns true.

This function is only to be used in rare circumstances where a process communicates with Erlang nodes that can disappear without any trace, causing the TCP buffers and the drivers queue to be over-full before the node is shut down (because of tick time-outs) by net_kernel. The normal reaction to take when this occurs is some kind of premature shutdown of the other node.

Notice that ignoring the return value from this function would result in an unreliable message passing, which is contradictory to the Erlang programming model. The message is not sent if this function returns false.

In many systems, transient states of overloaded queues are normal. Although this function returns false does not mean that the other node is guaranteed to be non-responsive, it could be a temporary overload. Also, a return value of true does only mean that the message can be sent on the (TCP) channel without blocking; the message is not guaranteed to arrive at the remote node. For a disconnected non-responsive node, the return value is true (mimics the behavior of operator !). The expected behavior and the actions to take when the function returns false are application- and hardware-specific.

Warning

Use with extreme care.

erlang:send_nosuspend(Dest, Msg, Options) -> boolean()

Types

Dest = dst()
Msg = term()
Options = [noconnect]
dst() =
    pid() |
    reference() |
    port() |
    (RegName :: atom()) |
    {RegName :: atom(), Node :: node()}

The same as erlang:send(Dest, Msg, [nosuspend | Options]), but with a Boolean return value.

This function behaves like erlang:send_nosuspend/2, but takes a third parameter, a list of options. The only option is noconnect, which makes the function return false if the remote node is not currently reachable by the local node. The normal behavior is to try to connect to the node, which can stall the process during a short period. The use of option noconnect makes it possible to be sure not to get the slightest delay when sending to a remote process. This is especially useful when communicating with nodes that expect to always be the connecting part (that is, nodes written in C or Java).

Whenever the function returns false (either when a suspend would occur or when noconnect was specified and the node was not already connected), the message is guaranteed not to have been sent.

Warning

Use with extreme care.

erlang:set_cookie(Cookie) -> true
OTP 24.1

Types

Cookie = atom()

Sets the magic cookie of the local node to the atom Cookie, which is also the cookie for all nodes that have no explicit cookie set with set_cookie/2 Cookie (see section Distributed Erlang in the Erlang Reference Manual in System Documentation).

Failure: function_clause if the local node is not alive.

erlang:set_cookie(Node, Cookie) -> true

Types

Node = node()
Cookie = atom()

Sets the magic cookie for Node to the atom Cookie. If Node is the local node, the function sets the cookie of all other nodes (that have no explicit cookie set with this function) to Cookie (see section Distributed Erlang in the Erlang Reference Manual in System Documentation).

Failure: function_clause if the local node is not alive.

setelement(Index, Tuple1, Value) -> Tuple2

Types

Index = integer() >= 1
1..tuple_size(Tuple1
Tuple1 = Tuple2 = tuple()
Value = term()

Returns a tuple that is a copy of argument Tuple1 with the element specified by integer argument Index (the first element is the element with index 1) replaced by argument Value, for example:

> setelement(2, {10, green, bottles}, red).
{10,red,bottles}

size(Item) -> integer() >= 0

Types

Item = tuple() | binary()

Returns the number of elements in a tuple or the number of bytes in a binary or bitstring, for example:

> size({morni, mulle, bwange}).
3
> size(<<11, 22, 33>>).
3

For bitstrings, the number of whole bytes is returned. That is, if the number of bits in the bitstring is not divisible by 8, the resulting number of bytes is rounded down.

Allowed in guard tests.

See also tuple_size/1, byte_size/1, and bit_size/1.

spawn(Fun) -> pid()

Types

Fun = function()

Returns the process identifier of a new process started by the application of Fun to the empty list []. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn(Node, Fun) -> pid()

Types

Node = node()
Fun = function()

Returns the process identifier of a new process started by the application of Fun to the empty list [] on Node. If Node does not exist, a useless pid is returned. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn(Module, Function, Args) -> pid()

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

Returns the process identifier of a new process started by the application of Module:Function to Args.

error_handler:undefined_function(Module, Function, Args) is evaluated by the new process if Module:Function/Arity does not exist (where Arity is the length of Args). The error handler can be redefined (see process_flag/2). If error_handler is undefined, or the user has redefined the default error_handler and its replacement is undefined, a failure with reason undef occurs.

Example:

> spawn(speed, regulator, [high_speed, thin_cut]).
<0.13.1>

spawn(Node, Module, Function, Args) -> pid()

Types

Node = node()
Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

Returns the process identifier (pid) of a new process started by the application of Module:Function to Args on Node. If Node does not exist, a useless pid is returned. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn_link(Fun) -> pid()

Types

Fun = function()

Returns the process identifier of a new process started by the application of Fun to the empty list []. A link is created between the calling process and the new process, atomically. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn_link(Node, Fun) -> pid()

Types

Node = node()
Fun = function()

Returns the process identifier (pid) of a new process started by the application of Fun to the empty list [] on Node. A link is created between the calling process and the new process, atomically. If Node does not exist, a useless pid is returned and an exit signal with reason noconnection is sent to the calling process. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn_link(Module, Function, Args) -> pid()

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

Returns the process identifier of a new process started by the application of Module:Function to Args. A link is created between the calling process and the new process, atomically. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn_link(Node, Module, Function, Args) -> pid()

Types

Node = node()
Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

Returns the process identifier (pid) of a new process started by the application of Module:Function to Args on Node. A link is created between the calling process and the new process, atomically. If Node does not exist, a useless pid is returned and an exit signal with reason noconnection is sent to the calling process. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn_monitor(Fun) -> {pid(), reference()}

Types

Fun = function()

Returns the process identifier of a new process, started by the application of Fun to the empty list [], and a reference for a monitor created to the new process. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn_monitor(Node, Fun) -> {pid(), reference()}
OTP 23.0

Types

Node = node()
Fun = function()

Returns the process identifier of a new process, started by the application of Fun to the empty list [] on the node Node, and a reference for a monitor created to the new process. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

If the node identified by Node does not support distributed spawn_monitor(), the call will fail with a notsup exception.

spawn_monitor(Module, Function, Args) -> {pid(), reference()}

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

A new process is started by the application of Module:Function to Args. The process is monitored at the same time. Returns the process identifier and a reference for the monitor. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

spawn_monitor(Node, Module, Function, Args) ->
                 {pid(), reference()}
OTP 23.0

Types

Node = node()
Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]

A new process is started by the application of Module:Function to Args on the node Node. The process is monitored at the same time. Returns the process identifier and a reference for the monitor. Otherwise works like spawn/3.

If the node identified by Node does not support distributed spawn_monitor(), the call will fail with a notsup exception.

spawn_opt(Fun, Options) -> pid() | {pid(), reference()}

Types

Fun = function()
Options = [spawn_opt_option()]
priority_level() = low | normal | high | max
max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

message_queue_data() = off_heap | on_heap
spawn_opt_option() =
    link | monitor |
    {monitor, MonitorOpts :: [monitor_option()]} |
    {priority, Level :: priority_level()} |
    {fullsweep_after, Number :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_heap_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_bin_vheap_size, VSize :: integer() >= 0} |
    {max_heap_size, Size :: max_heap_size()} |
    {message_queue_data, MQD :: message_queue_data()}

Returns the process identifier (pid) of a new process started by the application of Fun to the empty list []. Otherwise works like spawn_opt/4.

If option monitor is specified, the newly created process is monitored, and both the pid and reference for the monitor are returned.

spawn_opt(Node, Fun, Options) -> pid() | {pid(), reference()}

Types

Node = node()
Fun = function()
Options =
    [monitor | {monitor, [monitor_option()]} | link | OtherOption]
OtherOption = term()

Returns the process identifier (pid) of a new process started by the application of Fun to the empty list [] on Node. If Node does not exist, a useless pid is returned. Otherwise works like spawn_opt/4.

Valid options depends on what options are supported by the node identified by Node. A description of valid Options for the local node of current OTP version can be found in the documentation of spawn_opt/4.

spawn_opt(Module, Function, Args, Options) ->
             Pid | {Pid, MonitorRef}

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]
Options = [spawn_opt_option()]
Pid = pid()
MonitorRef = reference()
priority_level() = low | normal | high | max
max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

message_queue_data() = off_heap | on_heap
spawn_opt_option() =
    link | monitor |
    {monitor, MonitorOpts :: [monitor_option()]} |
    {priority, Level :: priority_level()} |
    {fullsweep_after, Number :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_heap_size, Size :: integer() >= 0} |
    {min_bin_vheap_size, VSize :: integer() >= 0} |
    {max_heap_size, Size :: max_heap_size()} |
    {message_queue_data, MQD :: message_queue_data()}

Works as spawn/3, except that an extra option list is specified when creating the process.

If option monitor is specified, the newly created process is monitored, and both the pid and reference for the monitor are returned.

Options:

link

Sets a link to the parent process (like spawn_link/3 does).

monitor

Monitors the new process (like monitor(process, Pid) does). A {Pid, MonitorRef} tuple will be returned instead of just a Pid.

{monitor, MonitorOpts}

Monitors the new process with options (like monitor(process, Pid, MonitorOpts) does). A {Pid, MonitorRef} tuple will be returned instead of just a Pid.

{priority, Level}

Sets the priority of the new process. Equivalent to executing process_flag(priority, Level) in the start function of the new process, except that the priority is set before the process is selected for execution for the first time. For more information on priorities, see process_flag(priority, Level).

{fullsweep_after, Number}

Useful only for performance tuning. Do not use this option unless you know that there is problem with execution times or memory consumption, and ensure that the option improves matters.

The Erlang runtime system uses a generational garbage collection scheme, using an "old heap" for data that has survived at least one garbage collection. When there is no more room on the old heap, a fullsweep garbage collection is done.

Option fullsweep_after makes it possible to specify the maximum number of generational collections before forcing a fullsweep, even if there is room on the old heap. Setting the number to zero disables the general collection algorithm, that is, all live data is copied at every garbage collection.

A few cases when it can be useful to change fullsweep_after:

  • If binaries that are no longer used are to be thrown away as soon as possible. (Set Number to zero.)

  • A process that mostly have short-lived data is fullsweeped seldom or never, that is, the old heap contains mostly garbage. To ensure a fullsweep occasionally, set Number to a suitable value, such as 10 or 20.

  • In embedded systems with a limited amount of RAM and no virtual memory, you might want to preserve memory by setting Number to zero. (The value can be set globally, see erlang:system_flag/2.)
{min_heap_size, Size}

Useful only for performance tuning. Do not use this option unless you know that there is problem with execution times or memory consumption, and ensure that the option improves matters.

Gives a minimum heap size, in words. Setting this value higher than the system default can speed up some processes because less garbage collection is done. However, setting a too high value can waste memory and slow down the system because of worse data locality. Therefore, use this option only for fine-tuning an application and to measure the execution time with various Size values.

{min_bin_vheap_size, VSize}

Useful only for performance tuning. Do not use this option unless you know that there is problem with execution times or memory consumption, and ensure that the option improves matters.

Gives a minimum binary virtual heap size, in words. Setting this value higher than the system default can speed up some processes because less garbage collection is done. However, setting a too high value can waste memory. Therefore, use this option only for fine-tuning an application and to measure the execution time with various VSize values.

{max_heap_size, Size}

Sets the max_heap_size process flag. The default max_heap_size is determined by command-line argument +hmax in erl(1). For more information, see the documentation of process_flag(max_heap_size, Size).

{message_queue_data, MQD}

Sets the value of the message_queue_data process flag. MQD can be either off_heap or on_heap. The default value of the message_queue_data process flag is determined by the command-line argument +hmqd in erl(1). For more information, see the documentation of process_flag(message_queue_data, MQD).

spawn_opt(Node, Module, Function, Args, Options) ->
             pid() | {pid(), reference()}

Types

Node = node()
Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]
Options =
    [monitor | {monitor, [monitor_option()]} | link | OtherOption]
OtherOption = term()

Returns the process identifier (pid) of a new process started by the application of Module:Function to Args on Node. If Node does not exist, a useless pid is returned. Otherwise works like spawn_opt/4.

Valid options depends on what options are supported by the node identified by Node. A description of valid Options for the local node of current OTP version can be found in the documentation of spawn_opt/4.

spawn_request(Fun) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Fun = function()
ReqId = reference()

The same as the call spawn_request(node(),Fun,[]). That is, a spawn request on the local node with no options.

spawn_request(Fun, Options) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Fun = function()
Option =
    {reply_tag, ReplyTag} | {reply, Reply} | spawn_opt_option()
ReplyTag = term()
Reply = yes | no | error_only | success_only
Options = [Option]
ReqId = reference()

The same as the call spawn_request(node(),Fun,Options). That is, a spawn request on the local node.

spawn_request(Node, Fun) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Node = node()
Fun = function()
ReqId = reference()

The same as the call spawn_request(Node,Fun,[]). That is, a spawn request with no options.

spawn_request(Node, Fun, Options) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Node = node()
Fun = function()
Options = [Option]
Option =
    monitor |
    {monitor, [monitor_option()]} |
    link |
    {reply_tag, ReplyTag} |
    {reply, Reply} |
    OtherOption
ReplyTag = term()
Reply = yes | no | error_only | success_only
OtherOption = term()
ReqId = reference()

The same as spawn_request(Node,erlang,apply,[Fun,[]],Options). That is, a spawn request using the fun Fun of arity zero as entry point.

This function will fail with a badarg exception if:

  • Node is not an atom.

  • Fun is not a fun of arity zero.

  • Options is not a proper list of terms.

spawn_request(Module, Function, Args) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]
ReqId = reference()

The same as the call spawn_request(node(),Module,Function,Args,[]). That is, a spawn request on the local node with no options.

spawn_request(Node, Module, Function, Args) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Node = node()
Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]
ReqId = reference()

The same as the call spawn_request(Node,Module,Function,Args,[]). That is, a spawn request with no options.

spawn_request(Module, Function, Args, Options) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]
Option =
    {reply_tag, ReplyTag} | {reply, Reply} | spawn_opt_option()
ReplyTag = term()
Reply = yes | no | error_only | success_only
Options = [Option]
ReqId = reference()

The same as the call spawn_request(node(),Module,Function,Args,Options). That is, a spawn request on the local node.

spawn_request(Node, Module, Function, Args, Options) -> ReqId
OTP 23.0

Types

Node = node()
Module = module()
Function = atom()
Args = [term()]
Options = [Option]
Option =
    monitor |
    {monitor, [monitor_option()]} |
    link |
    {reply_tag, ReplyTag} |
    {reply, Reply} |
    OtherOption
ReplyTag = term()
Reply = yes | no | error_only | success_only
OtherOption = term()
ReqId = reference()

Asynchronously send a spawn request. Returns a request identifier ReqId.

If the spawn operation succeeds, a new process is created on the node identified by Node. When a spawn operation succeeds, the caller will by default be sent a message on the form {ReplyTag, ReqId, ok, Pid} where Pid is the process identifier of the newly created process. Such a message is referred to as a success message below in the text. ReplyTag is by default the atom spawn_reply unless modified by the {reply_tag, ReplyTag} option. The new process is started by the application of Module:Function to Args.

The spawn operation fails either if creation of a new process failed or if the spawn operation was interrupted by a connection failure. When a spawn operation fails, the caller will by default be sent a message on the form {ReplyTag, ReqId, error, Reason} where Reason is the error reason. Such a message is referred to as an error message below in the text. Currently the following spawn error Reasons are defined, but other reasons can appear at any time without prior notice:

badopt

An invalid Option was passed as argument. Note that different runtime systems may support different options.

notsup

The node identified by Node does not support spawn operations issued by spawn_request().

noconnection

Failure to set up a connection to the node identified by Node or the connection to that node was lost during the spawn operation. In the case the connection was lost, a process may or may not have been created.

system_limit

Could not create a new process due to that some system limit was reached. Typically the process table was full.

Valid Options:

monitor

In the absence of spawn operation failures, atomically sets up a monitor to the newly created process. That is, as if the calling process had called monitor(process, Pid) where Pid is the process identifier of the newly created process. The ReqId returned by spawn_request() is also used as monitor reference as if it was returned from monitor(process, Pid).

The monitor will not be activated for the calling process until the spawn operation has succeeded. The monitor can not be demonitored before the operation has succeeded. A 'DOWN' message for the corresponding monitor is guaranteed not to be delivered before a success message that corresponds to the spawn operation. If the spawn operation fails, no 'DOWN' message will be delivered.

If the connection between the nodes involved in the spawn operation is lost during the spawn operation, the spawn operation will fail with an error reason of noconnection. A new process may or may not have been created.

{monitor, MonitorOpts}

In the absence of spawn operation failures, atomically sets up a monitor to the newly created process. That is, as if the calling process had called monitor(process, Pid, MonitorOpts) where Pid is the process identifier of the newly created process. See the monitor option above for more information.

Note that the monitor will not be activated for the calling process until the spawn operation has succeeded. For example, in the case that an alias is created using the monitor option, the alias will not be active until the monitor is activated.

link

In absence of spawn operation failures, atomically sets up a link between the calling process and the newly created process. That is, as if the calling process had called link(Pid) where Pid is the process identifier of the newly created process.

The link will not be activated for the calling process until the spawn operation has succeeded. The link can not be removed before the operation has succeeded. An exit signal due to the link is guaranteed not to be delivered before a success message that corresponds to the spawn operation. If the spawn operation fails, no exit signal due to the link will be delivered to the caller of spawn_request().

If the connection between the nodes involved in the spawn operation is lost during the spawn operation, the spawn operation will fail with an error reason of noconnection. A new process may or may not have been created. If it has been created, it will be delivered an exit signal with an exit reason of noconnection.

{reply, Reply}

Valid Reply values:

yes

A spawn reply message will be sent to the caller regardless of whether the operation succeeds or not. If the call to spawn_request() returns without raising an exception and the reply option is set to yes, the caller is guaranteed to be delivered either a success message or an error message. The reply option is by default set to yes.

no

No spawn reply message will be sent to the caller when the spawn operation completes. This regardless of whether the operation succeeds or not.

error_only

No spawn reply message will be sent to the caller if the spawn operation succeeds, but an error message will be sent to the caller if the operation fails.

success_only

No spawn reply message will be sent to the caller if the spawn operation fails, but a success message will be sent to the caller if the operation succeeds.

{reply_tag, ReplyTag}

Sets the reply tag to ReplyTag in the reply message. That is, in the success or error message that is sent to the caller due to the spawn operation. The default reply tag is the atom spawn_reply.

OtherOption

Other valid options depends on what options are supported by the node identified by Node. A description of other valid Options for the local node of current OTP version can be found in the documentation of spawn_opt/4.

This function will fail with a badarg exception if:

  • Node is not an atom.

  • Module is not an atom.

  • Function is not an atom.

  • Args is not a proper list of terms.

  • Options is not a proper list of terms.

Note that not all individual Options are checked when the spawn request is sent. Some Options can only be checked on reception of the request. Therefore an invalid option does not cause a badarg exception, but will cause the spawn operation to fail with an error reason of badopt.

A spawn request can be abandoned by calling spawn_request_abandon/1.

spawn_request_abandon(ReqId :: reference()) -> boolean()
OTP 23.0

Abandon a previously issued spawn request. ReqId corresponds to a request identifier previously returned by spawn_request() in a call from current process. That is, only the process that has made the request can abandon the request.

A spawn request can only be successfully abandoned until the spawn request has completed. When a spawn request has been successfully abandoned, the caller will not be effected by future direct effects of the spawn request itself. For example, it will not receive a spawn reply message. The request is however not withdrawn, so a new process may or may not be created due to the request. If a new process is created after the spawn request was abandoned, no monitors nor links will be set up to the caller of spawn_request_abandon/1 due to the spawn request. If the spawn request included the link option, the process created due to this request will be sent an exit signal from its parent with the exit reason abandoned when it is detected that the spawn operation has succeeded.

Note

A process created due to a spawn request that has been abandoned may communicate with its parent as any other process. It is only the direct effects on the parent of the actual spawn request, that will be canceled by abandoning a spawn request.

Return values:

true

The spawn request was successfully abandoned.

false

No spawn request was abandoned. The ReqId request identifier did not correspond to an outstanding spawn request issued by the calling process. The reason for this is either:

  • ReqId corresponds to a spawn request previoulsy made by the calling process. The spawn operation has completed and a spawn reply has already been delivered to the calling process unless the spawn reply was disabled in the request.

  • ReqId does not correspond to a spawn request that has been made by the calling process.

This function fail with a badarg exception if ReqId is not a reference.

split_binary(Bin, Pos) -> {binary(), binary()}

Types

Bin = binary()
Pos = integer() >= 0
0..byte_size(Bin)

Returns a tuple containing the binaries that are the result of splitting Bin into two parts at position Pos. This is not a destructive operation. After the operation, there are three binaries altogether. Example:

> B = list_to_binary("0123456789").
<<"0123456789">>
> byte_size(B).
10
> {B1, B2} = split_binary(B,3).
{<<"012">>,<<"3456789">>}
> byte_size(B1).
3
> byte_size(B2).
7

erlang:start_timer(Time, Dest, Msg) -> TimerRef

Types

Time = integer() >= 0
Dest = pid() | atom()
Msg = term()
TimerRef = reference()

Starts a timer. The same as calling erlang:start_timer(Time, Dest, Msg, []).

erlang:start_timer(Time, Dest, Msg, Options) -> TimerRef
OTP 18.0

Types

Time = integer()
Dest = pid() | atom()
Msg = term()
Options = [Option]
Abs = boolean()
Option = {abs, Abs}
TimerRef = reference()

Starts a timer. When the timer expires, the message {timeout, TimerRef, Msg} is sent to the process identified by Dest.

Options:

{abs, false}

This is the default. It means the Time value is interpreted as a time in milliseconds relative current Erlang monotonic time.

{abs, true}

Absolute Time value. The Time value is interpreted as an absolute Erlang monotonic time in milliseconds.

More Options can be added in the future.

The absolute point in time, the timer is set to expire on, must be in the interval [ erlang:convert_time_unit(erlang:system_info(start_time), native, millisecond), erlang:convert_time_unit(erlang:system_info(end_time), native, millisecond) ]. If a relative time is specified, the Time value is not allowed to be negative.

If Dest is a pid(), it must be a pid() of a process created on the current runtime system instance. This process has either terminated or not. If Dest is an atom(), it is interpreted as the name of a locally registered process. The process referred to by the name is looked up at the time of timer expiration. No error is returned if the name does not refer to a process.

If Dest is a pid(), the timer is automatically canceled if the process referred to by the pid() is not alive, or if the process exits. This feature was introduced in ERTS 5.4.11. Notice that timers are not automatically canceled when Dest is an atom().

See also erlang:send_after/4, erlang:cancel_timer/2, and erlang:read_timer/2.

Failure: badarg if the arguments do not satisfy the requirements specified here.

statistics(Item :: active_tasks) -> [ActiveTasks]
OTP 18.3

Types

ActiveTasks = integer() >= 0

Returns the same as statistics(active_tasks_all) with the exception that no information about the dirty IO run queue and its associated schedulers is part of the result. That is, only tasks that are expected to be CPU bound are part of the result.

statistics(Item :: active_tasks_all) -> [ActiveTasks]
OTP 20.0

Types

ActiveTasks = integer() >= 0

Returns a list where each element represents the amount of active processes and ports on each run queue and its associated schedulers. That is, the number of processes and ports that are ready to run, or are currently running. Values for normal run queues and their associated schedulers are located first in the resulting list. The first element corresponds to scheduler number 1 and so on. If support for dirty schedulers exist, an element with the value for the dirty CPU run queue and its associated dirty CPU schedulers follow and then as last element the value for the the dirty IO run queue and its associated dirty IO schedulers follow. The information is not gathered atomically. That is, the result is not necessarily a consistent snapshot of the state, but instead quite efficiently gathered.

Note

Each normal scheduler has one run queue that it manages. If dirty schedulers schedulers are supported, all dirty CPU schedulers share one run queue, and all dirty IO schedulers share one run queue. That is, we have multiple normal run queues, one dirty CPU run queue and one dirty IO run queue. Work can not migrate between the different types of run queues. Only work in normal run queues can migrate to other normal run queues. This has to be taken into account when evaluating the result.

See also statistics(total_active_tasks), statistics(run_queue_lengths), statistics(run_queue_lengths_all), statistics(total_run_queue_lengths), and statistics(total_run_queue_lengths_all).

statistics(Item :: context_switches) -> {ContextSwitches, 0}

Types

ContextSwitches = integer() >= 0

Returns the total number of context switches since the system started.

statistics(Item :: exact_reductions) ->
              {Total_Exact_Reductions,
               Exact_Reductions_Since_Last_Call}

Types

Total_Exact_Reductions = Exact_Reductions_Since_Last_Call = integer() >= 0

Returns the number of exact reductions.

Note

statistics(exact_reductions) is a more expensive operation than statistics(reductions).

statistics(Item :: garbage_collection) ->
              {Number_of_GCs, Words_Reclaimed, 0}

Types

Number_of_GCs = Words_Reclaimed = integer() >= 0

Returns information about garbage collection, for example:

> statistics(garbage_collection).
{85,23961,0}

This information can be invalid for some implementations.

statistics(Item :: io) -> {{input, Input}, {output, Output}}

Types

Input = Output = integer() >= 0

Returns Input, which is the total number of bytes received through ports, and Output, which is the total number of bytes output to ports.

statistics(Item :: microstate_accounting) ->
              [MSAcc_Thread] | undefined
OTP 19.0

Types

MSAcc_Thread =
    #{type := MSAcc_Thread_Type,
      id := MSAcc_Thread_Id,
      counters := MSAcc_Counters}
MSAcc_Thread_Type =
    async | aux | dirty_io_scheduler | dirty_cpu_scheduler |
    poll | scheduler
MSAcc_Thread_Id = integer() >= 0
MSAcc_Counters = #{MSAcc_Thread_State => integer() >= 0}
MSAcc_Thread_State =
    alloc | aux | bif | busy_wait | check_io | emulator | ets |
    gc | gc_fullsweep | nif | other | port | send | sleep | timers

Microstate accounting can be used to measure how much time the Erlang runtime system spends doing various tasks. It is designed to be as lightweight as possible, but some overhead exists when this is enabled. Microstate accounting is meant to be a profiling tool to help finding performance bottlenecks. To start/stop/reset microstate accounting, use system flag microstate_accounting.

statistics(microstate_accounting) returns a list of maps representing some of the OS threads within ERTS. Each map contains type and id fields that can be used to identify what thread it is, and also a counters field that contains data about how much time has been spent in the various states.

Example:

> erlang:statistics(microstate_accounting).
[#{counters => #{aux => 1899182914,
                 check_io => 2605863602,
                 emulator => 45731880463,
                 gc => 1512206910,
                 other => 5421338456,
                 port => 221631,
                 sleep => 5150294100},
   id => 1,
   type => scheduler}|...]

The time unit is the same as returned by os:perf_counter/0. So, to convert it to milliseconds, you can do something like this:

lists:map(
  fun(#{ counters := Cnt } = M) ->
          MsCnt = maps:map(fun(_K, PerfCount) ->
                                   erlang:convert_time_unit(PerfCount, perf_counter, 1000)
                           end, Cnt),
         M#{ counters := MsCnt }
  end, erlang:statistics(microstate_accounting)).

Notice that these values are not guaranteed to be the exact time spent in each state. This is because of various optimisation done to keep the overhead as small as possible.

MSAcc_Thread_Types:

scheduler
The main execution threads that do most of the work. See erl +S for more details.
dirty_cpu_scheduler
The threads for long running cpu intensive work. See erl +SDcpu for more details.
dirty_io_scheduler
The threads for long running I/O work. See erl +SDio for more details.
async
Async threads are used by various linked-in drivers (mainly the file drivers) do offload non-CPU intensive work. See erl +A for more details.
aux
Takes care of any work that is not specifically assigned to a scheduler.
poll
Does the IO polling for the emulator. See erl +IOt for more details.

The following MSAcc_Thread_States are available. All states are exclusive, meaning that a thread cannot be in two states at once. So, if you add the numbers of all counters in a thread, you get the total runtime for that thread.

aux
Time spent handling auxiliary jobs.
check_io
Time spent checking for new I/O events.
emulator
Time spent executing Erlang processes.
gc
Time spent doing garbage collection. When extra states are enabled this is the time spent doing non-fullsweep garbage collections.
other
Time spent doing unaccounted things.
port
Time spent executing ports.
sleep
Time spent sleeping.

More fine-grained MSAcc_Thread_States can be added through configure (such as ./configure --with-microstate-accounting=extra). Enabling these states causes performance degradation when microstate accounting is turned off and increases the overhead when it is turned on.

alloc
Time spent managing memory. Without extra states this time is spread out over all other states.
bif
Time spent in BIFs. Without extra states this time is part of the emulator state.
busy_wait
Time spent busy waiting. This is also the state where a scheduler no longer reports that it is active when using statistics(scheduler_wall_time). So, if you add all other states but this and sleep, and then divide that by all time in the thread, you should get something very similar to the scheduler_wall_time fraction. Without extra states this time is part of the other state.
ets
Time spent executing ETS BIFs. Without extra states this time is part of the emulator state.
gc_full
Time spent doing fullsweep garbage collection. Without extra states this time is part of the gc state.
nif
Time spent in NIFs. Without extra states this time is part of the emulator state.
send
Time spent sending messages (processes only). Without extra states this time is part of the emulator state.
timers
Time spent managing timers. Without extra states this time is part of the other state.

The utility module msacc(3) can be used to more easily analyse these statistics.

Returns undefined if system flag microstate_accounting is turned off.

The list of thread information is unsorted and can appear in different order between calls.

Note

The threads and states are subject to change without any prior notice.

statistics(Item :: reductions) ->
              {Total_Reductions, Reductions_Since_Last_Call}

Types

Total_Reductions = Reductions_Since_Last_Call = integer() >= 0

Returns information about reductions, for example:

> statistics(reductions).
{2046,11}
Note

As from ERTS 5.5 (Erlang/OTP R11B), this value does not include reductions performed in current time slices of currently scheduled processes. If an exact value is wanted, use statistics(exact_reductions).

statistics(Item :: run_queue) -> integer() >= 0

Returns the total length of all normal and dirty CPU run queues. That is, queued work that is expected to be CPU bound. The information is gathered atomically. That is, the result is a consistent snapshot of the state, but this operation is much more expensive compared to statistics(total_run_queue_lengths), especially when a large amount of schedulers is used.

statistics(Item :: run_queue_lengths) -> [RunQueueLength]
OTP 18.3

Types

RunQueueLength = integer() >= 0

Returns the same as statistics(run_queue_lengths_all) with the exception that no information about the dirty IO run queue is part of the result. That is, only run queues with work that is expected to be CPU bound is part of the result.

statistics(Item :: run_queue_lengths_all) -> [RunQueueLength]
OTP 20.0

Types

RunQueueLength = integer() >= 0

Returns a list where each element represents the amount of processes and ports ready to run for each run queue. Values for normal run queues are located first in the resulting list. The first element corresponds to the normal run queue of scheduler number 1 and so on. If support for dirty schedulers exist, values for the dirty CPU run queue and the dirty IO run queue follow (in that order) at the end. The information is not gathered atomically. That is, the result is not necessarily a consistent snapshot of the state, but instead quite efficiently gathered.

Note

Each normal scheduler has one run queue that it manages. If dirty schedulers schedulers are supported, all dirty CPU schedulers share one run queue, and all dirty IO schedulers share one run queue. That is, we have multiple normal run queues, one dirty CPU run queue and one dirty IO run queue. Work can not migrate between the different types of run queues. Only work in normal run queues can migrate to other normal run queues. This has to be taken into account when evaluating the result.

See also statistics(run_queue_lengths), statistics(total_run_queue_lengths_all), statistics(total_run_queue_lengths), statistics(active_tasks), statistics(active_tasks_all), and statistics(total_active_tasks), statistics(total_active_tasks_all).

statistics(Item :: runtime) ->
              {Total_Run_Time, Time_Since_Last_Call}

Types

Total_Run_Time = Time_Since_Last_Call = integer() >= 0

Returns information about runtime, in milliseconds.

This is the sum of the runtime for all threads in the Erlang runtime system and can therefore be greater than the wall clock time.

Warning

This value might wrap due to limitations in the underlying functionality provided by the operating system that is used.

Example:

> statistics(runtime).
{1690,1620}

statistics(Item :: scheduler_wall_time) ->
              [{SchedulerId, ActiveTime, TotalTime}] | undefined
OTP R15B01

Types

SchedulerId = integer() >= 1
ActiveTime = TotalTime = integer() >= 0

Returns information describing how much time normal and dirty CPU schedulers in the system have been busy. This value is normally a better indicator of how much load an Erlang node is under instead of looking at the CPU utilization privided by tools such as top or sysstat. This is because scheduler_wall_time also includes time where the scheduler is waiting for some other reasource (such as an internal mutex) to be available but does not use the CPU. In order to better understand what a scheduler is busy doing you can use microstate accounting.

The definition of a busy scheduler is when it is not idle and not busy waiting for new work, that is:

  • Executing process code
  • Executing linked-in driver or NIF code
  • Executing BIFs, or any other runtime handling
  • Garbage collecting
  • Handling any other memory management

Notice that a scheduler can also be busy even if the OS has scheduled out the scheduler thread.

Note

It is recommended to use the module scheduler instead of this function directly as it provides an easier way to get the information that you usually want.

If enabled this function returns a list of tuples with {SchedulerId, ActiveTime, TotalTime}, where SchedulerId is an integer ID of the scheduler, ActiveTime is the duration the scheduler has been busy, and TotalTime is the total time duration since scheduler_wall_time activation for the specific scheduler. The time unit returned is undefined and can be subject to change between releases, OSs, and system restarts. scheduler_wall_time is only to be used to calculate relative values for scheduler utilization. The ActiveTime can never exceed TotalTime. The list of scheduler information is unsorted and can appear in different order between calls.

The disabled this function returns undefined.

The activation time can differ significantly between schedulers. Currently dirty schedulers are activated at system start while normal schedulers are activated some time after the scheduler_wall_time functionality is enabled.

Only information about schedulers that are expected to handle CPU bound work is included in the return values from this function. If you also want information about dirty I/O schedulers, use statistics(scheduler_wall_time_all) instead.

Normal schedulers will have scheduler identifiers in the range 1 =< SchedulerId =< erlang:system_info(schedulers). Dirty CPU schedulers will have scheduler identifiers in the range erlang:system_info(schedulers) < SchedulerId =< erlang:system_info(schedulers) + erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers).

Note

The different types of schedulers handle specific types of jobs. Every job is assigned to a specific scheduler type. Jobs can migrate between different schedulers of the same type, but never between schedulers of different types. This fact has to be taken under consideration when evaluating the result returned.

You can use scheduler_wall_time to calculate scheduler utilization. First you take a sample of the values returned by erlang:statistics(scheduler_wall_time).

> erlang:system_flag(scheduler_wall_time, true).
false
> Ts0 = lists:sort(erlang:statistics(scheduler_wall_time)), ok.
ok

Some time later the user takes another snapshot and calculates scheduler utilization per scheduler, for example:

> Ts1 = lists:sort(erlang:statistics(scheduler_wall_time)), ok.
ok
> lists:map(fun({{I, A0, T0}, {I, A1, T1}}) ->
	{I, (A1 - A0)/(T1 - T0)} end, lists:zip(Ts0,Ts1)).
[{1,0.9743474730177548},
 {2,0.9744843782751444},
 {3,0.9995902361669045},
 {4,0.9738012596572161},
 {5,0.9717956667018103},
 {6,0.9739235846420741},
 {7,0.973237033077876},
 {8,0.9741297293248656}]

Using the same snapshots to calculate a total scheduler utilization:

> {A, T} = lists:foldl(fun({{_, A0, T0}, {_, A1, T1}}, {Ai,Ti}) ->
	{Ai + (A1 - A0), Ti + (T1 - T0)} end, {0, 0}, lists:zip(Ts0,Ts1)),
	TotalSchedulerUtilization = A/T.
0.9769136803764825

Total scheduler utilization will equal 1.0 when all schedulers have been active all the time between the two measurements.

Another (probably more) useful value is to calculate total scheduler utilization weighted against maximum amount of available CPU time:

> WeightedSchedulerUtilization = (TotalSchedulerUtilization
                                  * (erlang:system_info(schedulers)
                                     + erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers)))
                                 / erlang:system_info(logical_processors_available).
0.9769136803764825

This weighted scheduler utilization will reach 1.0 when schedulers are active the same amount of time as maximum available CPU time. If more schedulers exist than available logical processors, this value may be greater than 1.0.

As of ERTS version 9.0, the Erlang runtime system will as default have more schedulers than logical processors. This due to the dirty schedulers.

Note

scheduler_wall_time is by default disabled. To enable it, use erlang:system_flag(scheduler_wall_time, true).

statistics(Item :: scheduler_wall_time_all) ->
              [{SchedulerId, ActiveTime, TotalTime}] | undefined
OTP 20.0

Types

SchedulerId = integer() >= 1
ActiveTime = TotalTime = integer() >= 0

The same as statistics(scheduler_wall_time), except that it also include information about all dirty I/O schedulers.

Dirty IO schedulers will have scheduler identifiers in the range erlang:system_info(schedulers) + erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers) < SchedulerId =< erlang:system_info(schedulers) + erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers) + erlang:system_info(dirty_io_schedulers).

Note

Note that work executing on dirty I/O schedulers are expected to mainly wait for I/O. That is, when you get high scheduler utilization on dirty I/O schedulers, CPU utilization is not expected to be high due to this work.

statistics(Item :: total_active_tasks) -> ActiveTasks
OTP 18.3

Types

ActiveTasks = integer() >= 0

The same as calling lists:sum(statistics(active_tasks)), but more efficient.

statistics(Item :: total_active_tasks_all) -> ActiveTasks
OTP 20.0

Types

ActiveTasks = integer() >= 0

The same as calling lists:sum(statistics(active_tasks_all)), but more efficient.

statistics(Item :: total_run_queue_lengths) ->
              TotalRunQueueLengths
OTP 18.3

Types

TotalRunQueueLengths = integer() >= 0

The same as calling lists:sum(statistics(run_queue_lengths)), but more efficient.

statistics(Item :: total_run_queue_lengths_all) ->
              TotalRunQueueLengths
OTP 20.0

Types

TotalRunQueueLengths = integer() >= 0

The same as calling lists:sum(statistics(run_queue_lengths_all)), but more efficient.

statistics(Item :: wall_clock) ->
              {Total_Wallclock_Time,
               Wallclock_Time_Since_Last_Call}

Types

Total_Wallclock_Time = Wallclock_Time_Since_Last_Call = integer() >= 0

Returns information about wall clock. wall_clock can be used in the same manner as runtime, except that real time is measured as opposed to runtime or CPU time.

erlang:suspend_process(Suspendee) -> true

Types

Suspendee = pid()

Suspends the process identified by Suspendee. The same as calling erlang:suspend_process(Suspendee, []).

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging only.

erlang:suspend_process(Suspendee, OptList) -> boolean()

Types

Suspendee = pid()
OptList = [Opt]
Opt = unless_suspending | asynchronous | {asynchronous, term()}

Increases the suspend count on the process identified by Suspendee and puts it in the suspended state if it is not already in that state. A suspended process is not scheduled for execution until the process has been resumed.

A process can be suspended by multiple processes and can be suspended multiple times by a single process. A suspended process does not leave the suspended state until its suspend count reaches zero. The suspend count of Suspendee is decreased when erlang:resume_process(Suspendee) is called by the same process that called erlang:suspend_process(Suspendee). All increased suspend counts on other processes acquired by a process are automatically decreased when the process terminates.

Options (Opts):

asynchronous

A suspend request is sent to the process identified by Suspendee. Suspendee eventually suspends unless it is resumed before it could suspend. The caller of erlang:suspend_process/2 returns immediately, regardless of whether Suspendee has suspended yet or not. The point in time when Suspendee suspends cannot be deduced from other events in the system. It is only guaranteed that Suspendee eventually suspends (unless it is resumed). If no asynchronous options has been passed, the caller of erlang:suspend_process/2 is blocked until Suspendee has suspended.

{asynchronous, ReplyTag}

A suspend request is sent to the process identified by Suspendee. When the suspend request has been processed, a reply message is sent to the caller of this function. The reply is on the form {ReplyTag, State} where State is either:

exited

Suspendee has exited.

suspended

Suspendee is now suspended.

not_suspended

Suspendee is not suspended. This can only happen when the process that issued this request, have called resume_process(Suspendee) before getting the reply.

Appart from the reply message, the {asynchronous, ReplyTag} option behaves exactly the same as the asynchronous option without reply tag.

unless_suspending

The process identified by Suspendee is suspended unless the calling process already is suspending Suspendee. If unless_suspending is combined with option asynchronous, a suspend request is sent unless the calling process already is suspending Suspendee or if a suspend request already has been sent and is in transit. If the calling process already is suspending Suspendee, or if combined with option asynchronous and a send request already is in transit, false is returned and the suspend count on Suspendee remains unchanged.

If the suspend count on the process identified by Suspendee is increased, true is returned, otherwise false.

Warning

This BIF is intended for debugging only.

Warning

You can easily create deadlocks if processes suspends each other (directly or in circles). In ERTS versions prior to ERTS version 10.0, the runtime system prevented such deadlocks, but this prevention has now been removed due to performance reasons.

Failures:

badarg
If Suspendee is not a process identifier.
badarg
If the process identified by Suspendee is the same process as the process calling erlang:suspend_process/2.
badarg
If the process identified by Suspendee is not alive.
badarg
If the process identified by Suspendee resides on another node.
badarg
If OptList is not a proper list of valid Opts.
system_limit
If the process identified by Suspendee has been suspended more times by the calling process than can be represented by the currently used internal data structures. The system limit is greater than 2,000,000,000 suspends and will never be lower.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: backtrace_depth, Depth) -> OldDepth

Types

Depth = OldDepth = integer() >= 0

Sets the maximum depth of call stack back-traces in the exit reason element of 'EXIT' tuples. The flag also limits the stacktrace depth returned by process_info item current_stacktrace.

Returns the old value of the flag.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: cpu_topology, CpuTopology) ->
                      OldCpuTopology

Types

CpuTopology = OldCpuTopology = cpu_topology()
cpu_topology() = [LevelEntry :: level_entry()] | undefined
level_entry() =
    {LevelTag :: level_tag(), SubLevel :: sub_level()} |
    {LevelTag :: level_tag(),
     InfoList :: info_list(),
     SubLevel :: sub_level()}

level_tag() = core | node | processor | thread
sub_level() =
    [LevelEntry :: level_entry()] |
    (LogicalCpuId :: {logical, integer() >= 0})

info_list() = []

Warning

This argument is deprecated. Instead of using this argument, use command-line argument +sct in erl(1).

When this argument is removed, a final CPU topology to use is determined at emulator boot time.

Sets the user-defined CpuTopology. The user-defined CPU topology overrides any automatically detected CPU topology. By passing undefined as CpuTopology, the system reverts to the CPU topology automatically detected. The returned value equals the value returned from erlang:system_info(cpu_topology) before the change was made.

Returns the old value of the flag.

The CPU topology is used when binding schedulers to logical processors. If schedulers are already bound when the CPU topology is changed, the schedulers are sent a request to rebind according to the new CPU topology.

The user-defined CPU topology can also be set by passing command-line argument +sct to erl(1).

For information on type CpuTopology and more, see erlang:system_info(cpu_topology) as well as command-line flags +sct and +sbt in erl(1).

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: dirty_cpu_schedulers_online,
                   DirtyCPUSchedulersOnline) ->
                      OldDirtyCPUSchedulersOnline
OTP 17.0

Types

DirtyCPUSchedulersOnline = OldDirtyCPUSchedulersOnline = integer() >= 1

Sets the number of dirty CPU schedulers online. Range is 1 <= DirtyCPUSchedulersOnline <= N, where N is the smallest of the return values of erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers) and erlang:system_info(schedulers_online).

Returns the old value of the flag.

The number of dirty CPU schedulers online can change if the number of schedulers online changes. For example, if 12 schedulers and 6 dirty CPU schedulers are online, and system_flag/2 is used to set the number of schedulers online to 6, then the number of dirty CPU schedulers online is automatically decreased by half as well, down to 3. Similarly, the number of dirty CPU schedulers online increases proportionally to increases in the number of schedulers online.

For more information, see erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers) and erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers_online).

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: erts_alloc, Value :: {Alloc, F, V}) ->
                      ok | notsup
OTP 20.2.3

Types

Alloc = F = atom()
V = integer()

Sets system flags for erts_alloc(3). Alloc is the allocator to affect, for example binary_alloc. F is the flag to change and V is the new value.

Only a subset of all erts_alloc flags can be changed at run time. This subset is currently only the flag sbct.

Returns ok if the flag was set or notsup if not supported by erts_alloc.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: fullsweep_after, Number) -> OldNumber

Types

Number = OldNumber = integer() >= 0

Sets system flag fullsweep_after. Number is a non-negative integer indicating how many times generational garbage collections can be done without forcing a fullsweep collection. The value applies to new processes, while processes already running are not affected.

Returns the old value of the flag.

In low-memory systems (especially without virtual memory), setting the value to 0 can help to conserve memory.

This value can also be set through (OS) environment variable ERL_FULLSWEEP_AFTER.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: microstate_accounting, Action) ->
                      OldState
OTP 19.0

Types

Action = true | false | reset
OldState = true | false

Turns on/off microstate accounting measurements. When passing reset, all counters are reset to 0.

For more information see statistics(microstate_accounting).

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: min_heap_size, MinHeapSize) ->
                      OldMinHeapSize

Types

MinHeapSize = OldMinHeapSize = integer() >= 0

Sets the default minimum heap size for processes. The size is specified in words. The new min_heap_size effects only processes spawned after the change of min_heap_size has been made. min_heap_size can be set for individual processes by using spawn_opt/4 or process_flag/2.

Returns the old value of the flag.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: min_bin_vheap_size, MinBinVHeapSize) ->
                      OldMinBinVHeapSize
OTP R13B04

Types

MinBinVHeapSize = OldMinBinVHeapSize = integer() >= 0

Sets the default minimum binary virtual heap size for processes. The size is specified in words. The new min_bin_vhheap_size effects only processes spawned after the change of min_bin_vheap_size has been made. min_bin_vheap_size can be set for individual processes by using spawn_opt/2,3,4 or process_flag/2.

Returns the old value of the flag.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize) ->
                      OldMaxHeapSize
OTP 19.0

Types

MaxHeapSize = OldMaxHeapSize = max_heap_size()
max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

Sets the default maximum heap size settings for processes. The size is specified in words. The new max_heap_size effects only processes spawned efter the change has been made. max_heap_size can be set for individual processes using spawn_opt/2,3,4 or process_flag/2.

Returns the old value of the flag.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: multi_scheduling, BlockState) ->
                      OldBlockState

Types

BlockState = block | unblock | block_normal | unblock_normal
OldBlockState = blocked | disabled | enabled

If multi-scheduling is enabled, more than one scheduler thread is used by the emulator. Multi-scheduling can be blocked in two different ways. Either all schedulers but one is blocked, or all normal schedulers but one is blocked. When only normal schedulers are blocked, dirty schedulers are free to continue to schedule processes.

If BlockState =:= block, multi-scheduling is blocked. That is, one and only one scheduler thread will execute. If BlockState =:= unblock and no one else blocks multi-scheduling, and this process has blocked only once, multi-scheduling is unblocked.

If BlockState =:= block_normal, normal multi-scheduling is blocked. That is, only one normal scheduler thread will execute, but multiple dirty schedulers can execute. If BlockState =:= unblock_normal and no one else blocks normal multi-scheduling, and this process has blocked only once, normal multi-scheduling is unblocked.

One process can block multi-scheduling and normal multi-scheduling multiple times. If a process has blocked multiple times, it must unblock exactly as many times as it has blocked before it has released its multi-scheduling block. If a process that has blocked multi-scheduling or normal multi-scheduling exits, it automatically releases its blocking of multi-scheduling and normal multi-scheduling.

The return values are disabled, blocked, blocked_normal, or enabled. The returned value describes the state just after the call to erlang:system_flag(multi_scheduling, BlockState) has been made. For information about the return values, see erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling).

Note

Blocking of multi-scheduling and normal multi-scheduling is normally not needed. If you feel that you need to use these features, consider it a few more times again. Blocking multi-scheduling is only to be used as a last resort, as it is most likely a very inefficient way to solve the problem.

See also erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling), erlang:system_info(normal_multi_scheduling_blockers), erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling_blockers), and erlang:system_info(schedulers).

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: scheduler_bind_type, How) ->
                      OldBindType

Types

How = scheduler_bind_type() | default_bind
OldBindType = scheduler_bind_type()
scheduler_bind_type() =
    no_node_processor_spread | no_node_thread_spread | no_spread |
    processor_spread | spread | thread_spread |
    thread_no_node_processor_spread | unbound

Warning

This argument is deprecated. Instead of using this argument, use command-line argument +sbt in erl(1). When this argument is removed, a final scheduler bind type to use is determined at emulator boot time.

Controls if and how schedulers are bound to logical processors.

When erlang:system_flag(scheduler_bind_type, How) is called, an asynchronous signal is sent to all schedulers online, causing them to try to bind or unbind as requested.

Note

If a scheduler fails to bind, this is often silently ignored, as it is not always possible to verify valid logical processor identifiers. If an error is reported, an error event is logged. To verify that the schedulers have bound as requested, call erlang:system_info(scheduler_bindings).

Schedulers can be bound on newer Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Windows systems, but more systems will be supported in future releases.

In order for the runtime system to be able to bind schedulers, the CPU topology must be known. If the runtime system fails to detect the CPU topology automatically, it can be defined. For more information on how to define the CPU topology, see command-line flag +sct in erl(1).

The runtime system does by default not bind schedulers to logical processors.

Note

If the Erlang runtime system is the only OS process binding threads to logical processors, this improves the performance of the runtime system. However, if other OS processes (for example, another Erlang runtime system) also bind threads to logical processors, there can be a performance penalty instead. Sometimes this performance penalty can be severe. If so, it is recommended to not bind the schedulers.

Schedulers can be bound in different ways. Argument How determines how schedulers are bound and can be any of the following:

unbound
Same as command-line argument +sbt u in erl(1).
no_spread
Same as command-line argument +sbt ns in erl(1).
thread_spread
Same as command-line argument +sbt ts in erl(1).
processor_spread
Same as command-line argument +sbt ps in erl(1).
spread
Same as command-line argument +sbt s in erl(1).
no_node_thread_spread
Same as command-line argument +sbt nnts in erl(1).
no_node_processor_spread
Same as command-line argument +sbt nnps in erl(1).
thread_no_node_processor_spread
Same as command-line argument +sbt tnnps in erl(1).
default_bind
Same as command-line argument +sbt db in erl(1).

The returned value equals How before flag scheduler_bind_type was changed.

Failures:

notsup
If binding of schedulers is not supported.
badarg
If How is not one of the documented alternatives.
badarg
If CPU topology information is unavailable.

The scheduler bind type can also be set by passing command-line argument +sbt to erl(1).

For more information, see erlang:system_info(scheduler_bind_type), erlang:system_info(scheduler_bindings), as well as command-line flags +sbt and +sct in erl(1).

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: scheduler_wall_time, Boolean) ->
                      OldBoolean
OTP R15B01

Types

Boolean = OldBoolean = boolean()

Turns on or off scheduler wall time measurements.

For more information, see statistics(scheduler_wall_time).

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: schedulers_online, SchedulersOnline) ->
                      OldSchedulersOnline

Types

SchedulersOnline = OldSchedulersOnline = integer() >= 1

Sets the number of schedulers online. Range is 1 <= SchedulersOnline <= erlang:system_info(schedulers).

Returns the old value of the flag.

If the emulator was built with support for dirty schedulers, changing the number of schedulers online can also change the number of dirty CPU schedulers online. For example, if 12 schedulers and 6 dirty CPU schedulers are online, and system_flag/2 is used to set the number of schedulers online to 6, then the number of dirty CPU schedulers online is automatically decreased by half as well, down to 3. Similarly, the number of dirty CPU schedulers online increases proportionally to increases in the number of schedulers online.

For more information, see erlang:system_info(schedulers) and erlang:system_info(schedulers_online).

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: system_logger, Logger) -> PrevLogger
OTP 21.3

Types

Logger = PrevLogger = logger | undefined | pid()

Sets the process that will receive the logging messages generated by ERTS. If set to undefined, all logging messages generated by ERTS will be dropped. The messages will be in the format:

{log,Level,Format,ArgList,Metadata} where

Level = atom(),
Format = string(),
ArgList = list(term()),
Metadata = #{ pid => pid(),
   group_leader => pid(),
   time := logger:timestamp(),
   error_logger := #{ emulator := true, tag := atom() }

If the system_logger process dies, this flag will be reset to logger.

The default is the process named logger.

Returns the old value of the flag.

Note

This function is designed to be used by the KERNEL logger. Be careful if you change it to something else as log messages may be lost. If you want to intercept emulator log messages, do it by adding a specialized handler to the KERNEL logger.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: trace_control_word, TCW) -> OldTCW

Types

TCW = OldTCW = integer() >= 0

Sets the value of the node trace control word to TCW, which is to be an unsigned integer. For more information, see function set_tcw in section "Match Specifications in Erlang" in the User's Guide.

Returns the old value of the flag.

erlang:system_flag(Flag :: time_offset, Value :: finalize) ->
                      OldState
OTP 18.0

Types

OldState = preliminary | final | volatile

Finalizes the time offset when single time warp mode is used. If another time warp mode is used, the time offset state is left unchanged.

Returns the old state identifier, that is:

  • If preliminary is returned, finalization was performed and the time offset is now final.

  • If final is returned, the time offset was already in the final state. This either because another erlang:system_flag(time_offset, finalize) call or because no time warp mode is used.

  • If volatile is returned, the time offset cannot be finalized because multi-time warp mode is used.

erlang:system_info(Item :: version) -> string()
erlang:system_info(Item :: allocated_areas) -> [tuple()]
erlang:system_info(Item :: allocator) ->
                      {Allocator, Version, Features, Settings}
erlang:system_info(Item :: {allocator, Alloc}) -> [term()]
erlang:system_info(Item :: alloc_util_allocators) -> [Alloc]
erlang:system_info(Item :: {allocator_sizes, Alloc}) -> [term()]

Types

Allocator = undefined | glibc
Version = [integer() >= 0]
Features = [atom()]
Settings =
    [{Subsystem :: atom(),
      [{Parameter :: atom(), Value :: term()}]}]
Alloc = atom()

Returns various information about the memory allocators of the current system (emulator) as specified by Item:

allocated_areas

Returns a list of tuples with information about miscellaneous allocated memory areas.

Each tuple contains an atom describing the type of memory as first element and the amount of allocated memory in bytes as second element. When information about allocated and used memory is present, also a third element is present, containing the amount of used memory in bytes.

erlang:system_info(allocated_areas) is intended for debugging, and the content is highly implementation-dependent. The content of the results therefore changes when needed without prior notice.

Notice that the sum of these values is not the total amount of memory allocated by the emulator. Some values are part of other values, and some memory areas are not part of the result. For information about the total amount of memory allocated by the emulator, see erlang:memory/0,1.

allocator

Returns {Allocator, Version, Features, Settings, where:

  • Allocator corresponds to the malloc() implementation used. If Allocator equals undefined, the malloc() implementation used cannot be identified. glibc can be identified.

  • Version is a list of integers (but not a string) representing the version of the malloc() implementation used.

  • Features is a list of atoms representing the allocation features used.

  • Settings is a list of subsystems, their configurable parameters, and used values. Settings can differ between different combinations of platforms, allocators, and allocation features. Memory sizes are given in bytes.

See also "System Flags Effecting erts_alloc" in erts_alloc(3).

{allocator, Alloc}

Returns information about the specified allocator. As from ERTS 5.6.1, the return value is a list of {instance, InstanceNo, InstanceInfo} tuples, where InstanceInfo contains information about a specific instance of the allocator. If Alloc is not a recognized allocator, undefined is returned. If Alloc is disabled, false is returned.

Notice that the information returned is highly implementation-dependent and can be changed or removed at any time without prior notice. It was initially intended as a tool when developing new allocators, but as it can be of interest for others it has been briefly documented.

The recognized allocators are listed in erts_alloc(3). Information about super carriers can be obtained from ERTS 8.0 with {allocator, erts_mmap} or from ERTS 5.10.4; the returned list when calling with {allocator, mseg_alloc} also includes an {erts_mmap, _} tuple as one element in the list.

After reading the erts_alloc(3) documentation, the returned information more or less speaks for itself, but it can be worth explaining some things. Call counts are presented by two values, the first value is giga calls, and the second value is calls. mbcs and sbcs denote multi-block carriers, and single-block carriers, respectively. Sizes are presented in bytes. When a size is not presented, it is the amount of something. Sizes and amounts are often presented by three values:

  • The first is the current value.
  • The second is the maximum value since the last call to erlang:system_info({allocator, Alloc}).
  • The third is the maximum value since the emulator was started.

If only one value is present, it is the current value. fix_alloc memory block types are presented by two values. The first value is the memory pool size and the second value is the used memory size.

alloc_util_allocators

Returns a list of the names of all allocators using the ERTS internal alloc_util framework as atoms. For more information, see section The alloc_util framework in erts_alloc(3).

{allocator_sizes, Alloc}

Returns various size information for the specified allocator. The information returned is a subset of the information returned by erlang:system_info({allocator, Alloc}).

erlang:system_info(Item :: cpu_topology) -> CpuTopology
erlang:system_info(Item ::
                       {cpu_topology, defined | detected | used}) ->
                      CpuTopology
erlang:system_info(Item ::
                       logical_processors |
                       logical_processors_available |
                       logical_processors_online) ->
                      unknown | integer() >= 1
erlang:system_info(Item :: update_cpu_info) -> changed | unchanged
OTP R14B

Types

cpu_topology() = [LevelEntry :: level_entry()] | undefined
All LevelEntrys of a list must contain the same LevelTag, except on the top level where both node and processor LevelTags can coexist.
level_entry() =
    {LevelTag :: level_tag(), SubLevel :: sub_level()} |
    {LevelTag :: level_tag(),
     InfoList :: info_list(),
     SubLevel :: sub_level()}

{LevelTag, SubLevel} == {LevelTag, [], SubLevel}
level_tag() = core | node | processor | thread
More LevelTags can be introduced in a future release.
sub_level() =
    [LevelEntry :: level_entry()] |
    (LogicalCpuId :: {logical, integer() >= 0})

info_list() = []
The info_list() can be extended in a future release.

Returns various information about the CPU topology of the current system (emulator) as specified by Item:

cpu_topology

Returns the CpuTopology currently used by the emulator. The CPU topology is used when binding schedulers to logical processors. The CPU topology used is the user-defined CPU topology, if such exists, otherwise the automatically detected CPU topology, if such exists. If no CPU topology exists, undefined is returned.

node refers to Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) nodes. thread refers to hardware threads (for example, Intel hyper-threads).

A level in term CpuTopology can be omitted if only one entry exists and InfoList is empty.

thread can only be a sublevel to core. core can be a sublevel to processor or node. processor can be on the top level or a sublevel to node. node can be on the top level or a sublevel to processor. That is, NUMA nodes can be processor internal or processor external. A CPU topology can consist of a mix of processor internal and external NUMA nodes, as long as each logical CPU belongs to one NUMA node. Cache hierarchy is not part of the CpuTopology type, but will be in a future release. Other things can also make it into the CPU topology in a future release. So, expect the CpuTopology type to change.

{cpu_topology, defined}

Returns the user-defined CpuTopology. For more information, see command-line flag +sct in erl(1) and argument cpu_topology.

{cpu_topology, detected}

Returns the automatically detected CpuTopologyy. The emulator detects the CPU topology on some newer Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Windows systems. On Windows system with more than 32 logical processors, the CPU topology is not detected.

For more information, see argument cpu_topology.

{cpu_topology, used}

Returns CpuTopology used by the emulator. For more information, see argument cpu_topology.

logical_processors

Returns the detected number of logical processors configured in the system. The return value is either an integer, or the atom unknown if the emulator cannot detect the configured logical processors.

logical_processors_available

Returns the detected number of logical processors available to the Erlang runtime system. The return value is either an integer, or the atom unknown if the emulator cannot detect the available logical processors. The number of available logical processors is less than or equal to the number of logical processors online.

logical_processors_online

Returns the detected number of logical processors online on the system. The return value is either an integer, or the atom unknown if the emulator cannot detect logical processors online. The number of logical processors online is less than or equal to the number of logical processors configured.

cpu_quota

Returns the detected CPU quota the emulator is limited by. The return value is an integer saying how many processors' worth of runtime we get (between 1 and the number of logical processors), or the atom unknown if the emulator cannot detect a quota.

update_cpu_info

The runtime system rereads the CPU information available and updates its internally stored information about the detected CPU topology and the number of logical processors configured, online, available, and cpu quota.

If the CPU information has changed since the last time it was read, the atom changed is returned, otherwise the atom unchanged. If the CPU information has changed, you probably want to adjust the number of schedulers online. You typically want to have as many schedulers online as logical processors available.

erlang:system_info(Item :: fullsweep_after) ->
                      {fullsweep_after, integer() >= 0}
erlang:system_info(Item :: garbage_collection) ->
                      [{atom(), integer()}]
erlang:system_info(Item :: heap_sizes) -> [integer() >= 0]
erlang:system_info(Item :: heap_type) -> private
erlang:system_info(Item :: max_heap_size) ->
                      {max_heap_size,
                       MaxHeapSize :: max_heap_size()}
OTP 19.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: message_queue_data) ->
                      message_queue_data()
OTP 19.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: min_heap_size) ->
                      {min_heap_size,
                       MinHeapSize :: integer() >= 1}
OTP R13B04
erlang:system_info(Item :: min_bin_vheap_size) ->
                      {min_bin_vheap_size,
                       MinBinVHeapSize :: integer() >= 1}
OTP R13B04
erlang:system_info(Item :: procs) -> binary()

Types

message_queue_data() = off_heap | on_heap
max_heap_size() =
    integer() >= 0 |
    #{size => integer() >= 0,
      kill => boolean(),
      error_logger => boolean()}

Returns information about the default process heap settings:

fullsweep_after

Returns {fullsweep_after, integer() >= 0}, which is the fullsweep_after garbage collection setting used by default. For more information, see garbage_collection described below.

garbage_collection

Returns a list describing the default garbage collection settings. A process spawned on the local node by a spawn or spawn_link uses these garbage collection settings. The default settings can be changed by using erlang:system_flag/2. spawn_opt/2,3,4 can spawn a process that does not use the default settings.

heap_sizes

Returns a list of integers representing valid heap sizes in words. All Erlang heaps are sized from sizes in this list.

heap_type

Returns the heap type used by the current emulator. One heap type exists:

private
Each process has a heap reserved for its use and no references between heaps of different processes are allowed. Messages passed between processes are copied between heaps.
max_heap_size

Returns {max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize}, where MaxHeapSize is the current system-wide maximum heap size settings for spawned processes. This setting can be set using the command-line flags +hmax, +hmaxk and +hmaxel in erl(1). It can also be changed at runtime using erlang:system_flag(max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize). For more details about the max_heap_size process flag, see process_flag(max_heap_size, MaxHeapSize).

message_queue_data

Returns the default value of the message_queue_data process flag, which can be either off_heap or on_heap. The default value is set by the command-line argument +hmqd in erl(1). For more information, see the documentation of process_flag(message_queue_data, MQD).

min_heap_size

Returns {min_heap_size, MinHeapSize}, where MinHeapSize is the current system-wide minimum heap size for spawned processes.

min_bin_vheap_size

Returns {min_bin_vheap_size, MinBinVHeapSize}, where MinBinVHeapSize is the current system-wide minimum binary virtual heap size for spawned processes.

procs

Returns a binary containing a string of process and port information formatted as in Erlang crash dumps. For more information, see section How to interpret the Erlang crash dumps in the User's Guide.

erlang:system_info(Item :: atom_count) -> integer() >= 1
OTP 20.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: atom_limit) -> integer() >= 1
OTP 20.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: ets_count) -> integer() >= 1
OTP 21.1
erlang:system_info(Item :: ets_limit) -> integer() >= 1
OTP R16B03
erlang:system_info(Item :: port_count) -> integer() >= 0
OTP R16B
erlang:system_info(Item :: port_limit) -> integer() >= 1
OTP R16B
erlang:system_info(Item :: process_count) -> integer() >= 1
erlang:system_info(Item :: process_limit) -> integer() >= 1

Returns information about the current system (emulator) limits as specified by Item:

atom_count

Returns the number of atoms currently existing at the local node. The value is given as an integer.

atom_limit

Returns the maximum number of atoms allowed. This limit can be increased at startup by passing command-line flag +t to erl(1).

ets_count

Returns the number of ETS tables currently existing at the local node.

ets_limit

Returns the limit for number of ETS tables. This limit is partially obsolete and number of tables are only limited by available memory.

port_count

Returns the number of ports currently existing at the local node. The value is given as an integer. This is the same value as returned by length(erlang:ports()), but more efficient.

port_limit

Returns the maximum number of simultaneously existing ports at the local node as an integer. This limit can be configured at startup by using command-line flag +Q in erl(1).

process_count

Returns the number of processes currently existing at the local node. The value is given as an integer. This is the same value as returned by length(processes()), but more efficient.

process_limit

Returns the maximum number of simultaneously existing processes at the local node. The value is given as an integer. This limit can be configured at startup by using command-line flag +P in erl(1).

erlang:system_info(Item :: end_time) -> integer() >= 0
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: os_monotonic_time_source) ->
                      [{atom(), term()}]
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: os_system_time_source) ->
                      [{atom(), term()}]
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: start_time) -> integer()
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: time_correction) -> true | false
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: time_offset) ->
                      preliminary | final | volatile
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: time_warp_mode) ->
                      no_time_warp | single_time_warp |
                      multi_time_warp
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: tolerant_timeofday) ->
                      enabled | disabled
OTP 17.1

Returns information about the current system (emulator) time as specified by Item:

end_time

The last Erlang monotonic time in native time unit that can be represented internally in the current Erlang runtime system instance. The time between the start time and the end time is at least a quarter of a millennium.

os_monotonic_time_source

Returns a list containing information about the source of OS monotonic time that is used by the runtime system.

If [] is returned, no OS monotonic time is available. The list contains two-tuples with Keys as first element, and Values as second element. The order of these tuples is undefined. The following tuples can be part of the list, but more tuples can be introduced in the future:

{function, Function}

Function is the name of the function used. This tuple always exists if OS monotonic time is available to the runtime system.

{clock_id, ClockId}

This tuple only exists if Function can be used with different clocks. ClockId corresponds to the clock identifier used when calling Function.

{resolution, OsMonotonicTimeResolution}

Highest possible resolution of current OS monotonic time source as parts per second. If no resolution information can be retrieved from the OS, OsMonotonicTimeResolution is set to the resolution of the time unit of Functions return value. That is, the actual resolution can be lower than OsMonotonicTimeResolution. Notice that the resolution does not say anything about the accuracy or whether the precision aligns with the resolution. You do, however, know that the precision is not better than OsMonotonicTimeResolution.

{extended, Extended}

Extended equals yes if the range of time values has been extended; otherwise Extended equals no. The range must be extended if Function returns values that wrap fast. This typically is the case when the return value is a 32-bit value.

{parallel, Parallel}

Parallel equals yes if Function is called in parallel from multiple threads. If it is not called in parallel, because calls must be serialized, Parallel equals no.

{time, OsMonotonicTime}

OsMonotonicTime equals current OS monotonic time in native time unit.

os_system_time_source

Returns a list containing information about the source of OS system time that is used by the runtime system.

The list contains two-tuples with Keys as first element, and Values as second element. The order of these tuples is undefined. The following tuples can be part of the list, but more tuples can be introduced in the future:

{function, Function}

Function is the name of the funcion used.

{clock_id, ClockId}

Exists only if Function can be used with different clocks. ClockId corresponds to the clock identifier used when calling Function.

{resolution, OsSystemTimeResolution}

Highest possible resolution of current OS system time source as parts per second. If no resolution information can be retrieved from the OS, OsSystemTimeResolution is set to the resolution of the time unit of Functions return value. That is, the actual resolution can be lower than OsSystemTimeResolution. Notice that the resolution does not say anything about the accuracy or whether the precision do align with the resolution. You do, however, know that the precision is not better than OsSystemTimeResolution.

{parallel, Parallel}

Parallel equals yes if Function is called in parallel from multiple threads. If it is not called in parallel, because calls needs to be serialized, Parallel equals no.

{time, OsSystemTime}

OsSystemTime equals current OS system time in native time unit.

start_time

The Erlang monotonic time in native time unit at the time when current Erlang runtime system instance started.

See also erlang:system_info(end_time).

time_correction

Returns a boolean value indicating whether time correction is enabled or not.

time_offset

Returns the state of the time offset:

preliminary

The time offset is preliminary, and will be changed and finalized later. The preliminary time offset is used during the preliminary phase of the single time warp mode.

final

The time offset is final. This either because no time warp mode is used, or because the time offset have been finalized when single time warp mode is used.

volatile

The time offset is volatile. That is, it can change at any time. This is because multi-time warp mode is used.

time_warp_mode

Returns a value identifying the time warp mode that is used:

no_time_warp
The no time warp mode is used.
single_time_warp
The single time warp mode is used.
multi_time_warp
The multi-time warp mode is used.
tolerant_timeofday

Returns whether a pre ERTS 7.0 backwards compatible compensation for sudden changes of system time is enabled or disabled. Such compensation is enabled when the time offset is final, and time correction is enabled.

erlang:system_info(Item :: dirty_cpu_schedulers) ->
                      integer() >= 0
OTP 17.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: dirty_cpu_schedulers_online) ->
                      integer() >= 0
OTP 17.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: dirty_io_schedulers) ->
                      integer() >= 0
OTP 17.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: multi_scheduling) ->
                      disabled | blocked | blocked_normal |
                      enabled
erlang:system_info(Item :: multi_scheduling_blockers) ->
                      [Pid :: pid()]
erlang:system_info(Item :: normal_multi_scheduling_blockers) ->
                      [Pid :: pid()]
OTP 19.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: scheduler_bind_type) ->
                      spread | processor_spread | thread_spread |
                      thread_no_node_processor_spread |
                      no_node_processor_spread |
                      no_node_thread_spread | no_spread | unbound
erlang:system_info(Item :: scheduler_bindings) -> tuple()
erlang:system_info(Item :: scheduler_id) ->
                      SchedulerId :: integer() >= 1
erlang:system_info(Item :: schedulers | schedulers_online) ->
                      integer() >= 1
erlang:system_info(Item :: smp_support) -> boolean()
erlang:system_info(Item :: threads) -> boolean()
erlang:system_info(Item :: thread_pool_size) -> integer() >= 0

Returns information about schedulers, scheduling and threads in the current system as specified by Item:

dirty_cpu_schedulers

Returns the number of dirty CPU scheduler threads used by the emulator. Dirty CPU schedulers execute CPU-bound native functions, such as NIFs, linked-in driver code, and BIFs that cannot be managed cleanly by the normal emulator schedulers.

The number of dirty CPU scheduler threads is determined at emulator boot time and cannot be changed after that. However, the number of dirty CPU scheduler threads online can be changed at any time. The number of dirty CPU schedulers can be set at startup by passing command-line flag +SDcpu or +SDPcpu in erl(1).

See also erlang:system_flag(dirty_cpu_schedulers_online, DirtyCPUSchedulersOnline), erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers_online), erlang:system_info(dirty_io_schedulers), erlang:system_info(schedulers), erlang:system_info(schedulers_online), and erlang:system_flag(schedulers_online, SchedulersOnline).

dirty_cpu_schedulers_online

Returns the number of dirty CPU schedulers online. The return value satisfies 1 <= DirtyCPUSchedulersOnline <= N, where N is the smallest of the return values of erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers) and erlang:system_info(schedulers_online).

The number of dirty CPU schedulers online can be set at startup by passing command-line flag +SDcpu in erl(1).

For more information, see erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers), erlang:system_info(dirty_io_schedulers), erlang:system_info(schedulers_online), and erlang:system_flag(dirty_cpu_schedulers_online, DirtyCPUSchedulersOnline).

dirty_io_schedulers

Returns the number of dirty I/O schedulers as an integer. Dirty I/O schedulers execute I/O-bound native functions, such as NIFs and linked-in driver code, which cannot be managed cleanly by the normal emulator schedulers.

This value can be set at startup by passing command-line argument +SDio in erl(1).

For more information, see erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers), erlang:system_info(dirty_cpu_schedulers_online), and erlang:system_flag(dirty_cpu_schedulers_online, DirtyCPUSchedulersOnline).

multi_scheduling

Returns one of the following:

disabled

The emulator has been started with only one scheduler thread.

blocked

The emulator has more than one scheduler thread, but all scheduler threads except one are blocked. That is, only one scheduler thread schedules Erlang processes and executes Erlang code.

blocked_normal

The emulator has more than one scheduler thread, but all normal scheduler threads except one are blocked. Notice that dirty schedulers are not blocked, and can schedule Erlang processes and execute native code.

enabled

The emulator has more than one scheduler thread, and no scheduler threads are blocked. That is, all available scheduler threads schedule Erlang processes and execute Erlang code.

See also erlang:system_flag(multi_scheduling, BlockState), erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling_blockers), erlang:system_info(normal_multi_scheduling_blockers), and erlang:system_info(schedulers).

multi_scheduling_blockers

Returns a list of Pids when multi-scheduling is blocked, otherwise the empty list is returned. The Pids in the list represent all the processes currently blocking multi-scheduling. A Pid occurs only once in the list, even if the corresponding process has blocked multiple times.

See also erlang:system_flag(multi_scheduling, BlockState), erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling), erlang:system_info(normal_multi_scheduling_blockers), and erlang:system_info(schedulers).

normal_multi_scheduling_blockers

Returns a list of Pids when normal multi-scheduling is blocked (that is, all normal schedulers but one is blocked), otherwise the empty list is returned. The Pids in the list represent all the processes currently blocking normal multi-scheduling. A Pid occurs only once in the list, even if the corresponding process has blocked multiple times.

See also erlang:system_flag(multi_scheduling, BlockState), erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling), erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling_blockers), and erlang:system_info(schedulers).

scheduler_bind_type

Returns information about how the user has requested schedulers to be bound or not bound.

Notice that although a user has requested schedulers to be bound, they can silently have failed to bind. To inspect the scheduler bindings, call erlang:system_info(scheduler_bindings).

For more information, see command-line argument +sbt in erl(1) and erlang:system_info(scheduler_bindings).

scheduler_bindings

Returns information about the currently used scheduler bindings.

A tuple of a size equal to erlang:system_info(schedulers) is returned. The tuple elements are integers or the atom unbound. Logical processor identifiers are represented as integers. The Nth element of the tuple equals the current binding for the scheduler with the scheduler identifier equal to N. For example, if the schedulers are bound, element(erlang:system_info(scheduler_id), erlang:system_info(scheduler_bindings)) returns the identifier of the logical processor that the calling process is executing on.

Notice that only schedulers online can be bound to logical processors.

For more information, see command-line argument +sbt in erl(1) and erlang:system_info(schedulers_online).

scheduler_id

Returns the scheduler ID (SchedulerId) of the scheduler thread that the calling process is executing on. SchedulerId is a positive integer, where 1 <= SchedulerId <= erlang:system_info(schedulers).

See also erlang:system_info(schedulers).

schedulers

Returns the number of scheduler threads used by the emulator. Scheduler threads online schedules Erlang processes and Erlang ports, and execute Erlang code and Erlang linked-in driver code.

The number of scheduler threads is determined at emulator boot time and cannot be changed later. However, the number of schedulers online can be changed at any time.

See also erlang:system_flag(schedulers_online, SchedulersOnline), erlang:system_info(schedulers_online), erlang:system_info(scheduler_id), erlang:system_flag(multi_scheduling, BlockState), erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling), erlang:system_info(normal_multi_scheduling_blockers) and erlang:system_info(multi_scheduling_blockers).

schedulers_online

Returns the number of schedulers online. The scheduler identifiers of schedulers online satisfy the relationship 1 <= SchedulerId <= erlang:system_info(schedulers_online).

For more information, see erlang:system_info(schedulers) and erlang:system_flag(schedulers_online, SchedulersOnline).

smp_support

Returns true.

threads

Returns true.

thread_pool_size

Returns the number of async threads in the async thread pool used for asynchronous driver calls ( erl_driver:driver_async()). The value is given as an integer.

erlang:system_info(Item :: creation) -> integer()
erlang:system_info(Item :: delayed_node_table_gc) ->
                      infinity | integer() >= 0
OTP 18.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: dist) -> binary()
erlang:system_info(Item :: dist_buf_busy_limit) ->
                      integer() >= 0
OTP R14B01
erlang:system_info(Item :: dist_ctrl) ->
                      {Node :: node(),
                       ControllingEntity :: port() | pid()}

Returns information about Erlang Distribution in the current system as specified by Item:

creation

Returns the creation of the local node as an integer. The creation is changed when a node is restarted. The creation of a node is stored in process identifiers, port identifiers, and references. This makes it (to some extent) possible to distinguish between identifiers from different incarnations of a node. The valid creations are integers in the range 1..3, but this will probably change in a future release. If the node is not alive, 0 is returned.

delayed_node_table_gc

Returns the amount of time in seconds garbage collection of an entry in a node table is delayed. This limit can be set on startup by passing command-line flag +zdntgc to erl(1). For more information, see the documentation of the command-line flag.

dist

Returns a binary containing a string of distribution information formatted as in Erlang crash dumps. For more information, see section How to interpret the Erlang crash dumps in the User's Guide.

dist_buf_busy_limit

Returns the value of the distribution buffer busy limit in bytes. This limit can be set at startup by passing command-line flag +zdbbl to erl(1).

dist_ctrl

Returns a list of tuples {Node, ControllingEntity}, one entry for each connected remote node. Node is the node name and ControllingEntity is the port or process identifier responsible for the communication to that node. More specifically, ControllingEntity for nodes connected through TCP/IP (the normal case) is the socket used in communication with the specific node.

erlang:system_info(Item :: c_compiler_used) -> {atom(), term()}
erlang:system_info(Item :: check_io) -> [term()]
erlang:system_info(Item :: compat_rel) -> integer()
erlang:system_info(Item :: debug_compiled) -> boolean()
erlang:system_info(Item :: driver_version) -> string()
erlang:system_info(Item :: dynamic_trace) ->
                      none | dtrace | systemtap
OTP R15B01
erlang:system_info(Item :: dynamic_trace_probes) -> boolean()
OTP R15B01
erlang:system_info(Item :: emu_flavor) -> emu | jit
OTP 24.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: emu_type) ->
                      opt | debug | gcov | valgrind | gprof |
                      lcnt | frmptr
OTP 24.0
erlang:system_info(Item :: info) -> binary()
erlang:system_info(Item :: kernel_poll) -> boolean()
erlang:system_info(Item :: loaded) -> binary()
erlang:system_info(Item :: machine) -> string()
erlang:system_info(Item :: modified_timing_level) ->
                      integer() | undefined
erlang:system_info(Item :: nif_version) -> string()
OTP 17.4
erlang:system_info(Item :: otp_release) -> string()
erlang:system_info(Item :: port_parallelism) -> boolean()
OTP R16B
erlang:system_info(Item :: system_architecture) -> string()
erlang:system_info(Item :: system_logger) ->
                      logger | undefined | pid()
OTP 21.3
erlang:system_info(Item :: system_version) -> string()
erlang:system_info(Item :: trace_control_word) ->
                      integer() >= 0
erlang:system_info(Item :: version) -> string()
erlang:system_info(Item ::
                       wordsize |
                       {wordsize, internal} |
                       {wordsize, external}) ->
                      4 | 8

Returns various information about the current system (emulator) as specified by Item:

build_type

Deprecated, use emu_type instead

c_compiler_used

Returns a two-tuple describing the C compiler used when compiling the runtime system. The first element is an atom describing the name of the compiler, or undefined if unknown. The second element is a term describing the version of the compiler, or undefined if unknown.

check_io

Returns a list containing miscellaneous information about the emulators internal I/O checking. Notice that the content of the returned list can vary between platforms and over time. It is only guaranteed that a list is returned.

compat_rel

Returns the compatibility mode of the local node as an integer. The integer returned represents the Erlang/OTP release that the current emulator has been set to be backward compatible with. The compatibility mode can be configured at startup by using command-line flag +R in erl(1).

debug_compiled

Returns true if the emulator has been debug-compiled, otherwise false.

driver_version

Returns a string containing the Erlang driver version used by the runtime system. It has the form "<major ver>.<minor ver>".

dynamic_trace

Returns an atom describing the dynamic trace framework compiled into the virtual machine. It can be dtrace, systemtap, or none. For a commercial or standard build, it is always none. The other return values indicate a custom configuration (for example, ./configure --with-dynamic-trace=dtrace). For more information about dynamic tracing, see dyntrace(3) manual page and the README.dtrace/README.systemtap files in the Erlang source code top directory.

dynamic_trace_probes

Returns a boolean() indicating if dynamic trace probes (dtrace or systemtap) are built into the emulator. This can only be true if the virtual machine was built for dynamic tracing (that is, system_info(dynamic_trace) returns dtrace or systemtap).

emu_flavor

Returns an atom describing the flavor of the runtime system. This will be either emu or jit. Possible return values can be added or removed at any time without prior notice.

emu_type

Returns an atom describing the build type of the runtime system. This is normally the atom opt for optimized. Other possible return values are debug, gcov, valgrind, gprof, and lcnt. Possible return values can be added or removed at any time without prior notice.

info

Returns a binary containing a string of miscellaneous system information formatted as in Erlang crash dumps. For more information, see section How to interpret the Erlang crash dumps in the User's Guide.

kernel_poll

Returns true if the emulator uses some kind of kernel-poll implementation, otherwise false.

loaded

Returns a binary containing a string of loaded module information formatted as in Erlang crash dumps. For more information, see section How to interpret the Erlang crash dumps in the User's Guide.

machine

Returns a string containing the Erlang machine name.

modified_timing_level

Returns the modified timing-level (an integer) if modified timing is enabled, otherwise undefined. For more information about modified timing, see command-line flag +T in erl(1)

nif_version

Returns a string containing the version of the Erlang NIF interface used by the runtime system. It is on the form "<major ver>.<minor ver>".

otp_release

Returns a string containing the OTP release number of the OTP release that the currently executing ERTS application is part of.

As from Erlang/OTP 17, the OTP release number corresponds to the major OTP version number. No erlang:system_info() argument gives the exact OTP version. This is because the exact OTP version in the general case is difficult to determine. For more information, see the description of versions in System principles in System Documentation.

port_parallelism

Returns the default port parallelism scheduling hint used. For more information, see command-line argument +spp in erl(1).

system_architecture

Returns a string containing the processor and OS architecture the emulator is built for.

system_logger

Returns the current system_logger as set by erlang:system_flag(system_logger, _).

system_version

Returns a string containing version number and some important properties, such as the number of schedulers.

trace_control_word

Returns the value of the node trace control word. For more information, see function get_tcw in section Match Specifications in Erlang in the User's Guide.

version

Returns a string containing the version number of the emulator.

wordsize

Same as {wordsize, internal}.

{wordsize, internal}

Returns the size of Erlang term words in bytes as an integer, that is, 4 is returned on a 32-bit architecture, and 8 is returned on a 64-bit architecture.

{wordsize, external}

Returns the true word size of the emulator, that is, the size of a pointer. The value is given in bytes as an integer. On a pure 32-bit architecture, 4 is returned. On a 64-bit architecture, 8 is returned.

erlang:system_monitor() -> MonSettings

Types

MonSettings = undefined | {MonitorPid, Options}
MonitorPid = pid()
Options = [system_monitor_option()]
system_monitor_option() =
    busy_port | busy_dist_port |
    {long_gc, integer() >= 0} |
    {long_schedule, integer() >= 0} |
    {large_heap, integer() >= 0}

Returns the current system monitoring settings set by erlang:system_monitor/2 as {MonitorPid, Options}, or undefined if no settings exist. The order of the options can be different from the one that was set.

erlang:system_monitor(Arg) -> MonSettings

Types

Arg = MonSettings = undefined | {MonitorPid, Options}
MonitorPid = pid()
Options = [system_monitor_option()]
system_monitor_option() =
    busy_port | busy_dist_port |
    {long_gc, integer() >= 0} |
    {long_schedule, integer() >= 0} |
    {large_heap, integer() >= 0}

When called with argument undefined, all system performance monitoring settings are cleared.

Calling the function with {MonitorPid, Options} as argument is the same as calling erlang:system_monitor(MonitorPid, Options).

Returns the previous system monitor settings just like erlang:system_monitor/0.

erlang:system_monitor(MonitorPid, Options) -> MonSettings

Types

MonitorPid = pid()
Options = [system_monitor_option()]
MonSettings = undefined | {OldMonitorPid, OldOptions}
OldMonitorPid = pid()
OldOptions = [system_monitor_option()]
system_monitor_option() =
    busy_port | busy_dist_port |
    {long_gc, integer() >= 0} |
    {long_schedule, integer() >= 0} |
    {large_heap, integer() >= 0}

Sets the system performance monitoring options. MonitorPid is a local process identifier (pid) receiving system monitor messages. The second argument is a list of monitoring options:

{long_gc, Time}

If a garbage collection in the system takes at least Time wall clock milliseconds, a message {monitor, GcPid, long_gc, Info} is sent to MonitorPid. GcPid is the pid that was garbage collected. Info is a list of two-element tuples describing the result of the garbage collection.

One of the tuples is {timeout, GcTime}, where GcTime is the time for the garbage collection in milliseconds. The other tuples are tagged with heap_size, heap_block_size, stack_size, mbuf_size, old_heap_size, and old_heap_block_size. These tuples are explained in the description of trace message gc_minor_start (see erlang:trace/3). New tuples can be added, and the order of the tuples in the Info list can be changed at any time without prior notice.

{long_schedule, Time}

If a process or port in the system runs uninterrupted for at least Time wall clock milliseconds, a message {monitor, PidOrPort, long_schedule, Info} is sent to MonitorPid. PidOrPort is the process or port that was running. Info is a list of two-element tuples describing the event.

If a pid(), the tuples {timeout, Millis}, {in, Location}, and {out, Location} are present, where Location is either an MFA ({Module, Function, Arity}) describing the function where the process was scheduled in/out, or the atom undefined.

If a port(), the tuples {timeout, Millis} and {port_op,Op} are present. Op is one of proc_sig, timeout, input, output, event, or dist_cmd, depending on which driver callback was executing.

proc_sig is an internal operation and is never to appear, while the others represent the corresponding driver callbacks timeout, ready_input, ready_output, event, and outputv (when the port is used by distribution). Value Millis in tuple timeout informs about the uninterrupted execution time of the process or port, which always is equal to or higher than the Time value supplied when starting the trace. New tuples can be added to the Info list in a future release. The order of the tuples in the list can be changed at any time without prior notice.

This can be used to detect problems with NIFs or drivers that take too long to execute. 1 ms is considered a good maximum time for a driver callback or a NIF. However, a time-sharing system is usually to consider everything < 100 ms as "possible" and fairly "normal". However, longer schedule times can indicate swapping or a misbehaving NIF/driver. Misbehaving NIFs and drivers can cause bad resource utilization and bad overall system performance.

{large_heap, Size}

If a garbage collection in the system results in the allocated size of a heap being at least Size words, a message {monitor, GcPid, large_heap, Info} is sent to MonitorPid. GcPid and Info are the same as for long_gc earlier, except that the tuple tagged with timeout is not present.

The monitor message is sent if the sum of the sizes of all memory blocks allocated for all heap generations after a garbage collection is equal to or higher than Size.

When a process is killed by max_heap_size, it is killed before the garbage collection is complete and thus no large heap message is sent.

busy_port

If a process in the system gets suspended because it sends to a busy port, a message {monitor, SusPid, busy_port, Port} is sent to MonitorPid. SusPid is the pid that got suspended when sending to Port.

busy_dist_port

If a process in the system gets suspended because it sends to a process on a remote node whose inter-node communication was handled by a busy port, a message {monitor, SusPid, busy_dist_port, Port} is sent to MonitorPid. SusPid is the pid that got suspended when sending through the inter-node communication port Port.

Returns the previous system monitor settings just like erlang:system_monitor/0.

The arguments to system_monitor/2 specifies how all system monitoring on the node should be done, not how it should be changed. This means only one process at a time (MonitorPid) can be the receiver of system monitor messages. Also, the way to clear a specific monitor option is to not include it in the list Options. All system monitoring will, however, be cleared if the process identified by MonitorPid terminates.

There are no special option values (like zero) to clear an option. Some of the options have a unspecified minimum value. Lower values will be adjusted to the minimum value. For example, it is currently not possible to monitor all garbage collections with {long_gc, 0}.

Note

If a monitoring process gets so large that it itself starts to cause system monitor messages when garbage collecting, the messages enlarge the process message queue and probably make the problem worse.

Keep the monitoring process neat and do not set the system monitor limits too tight.

Failures:

badarg
If MonitorPid does not exist.
badarg
If MonitorPid is not a local process.

erlang:system_profile() -> ProfilerSettings

Types

ProfilerSettings = undefined | {ProfilerPid, Options}
ProfilerPid = pid() | port()
Options = [system_profile_option()]
system_profile_option() =
    exclusive | runnable_ports | runnable_procs | scheduler |
    timestamp | monotonic_timestamp | strict_monotonic_timestamp

Returns the current system profiling settings set by erlang:system_profile/2 as {ProfilerPid, Options}, or undefined if there are no settings. The order of the options can be different from the one that was set.

erlang:system_profile(ProfilerPid, Options) -> ProfilerSettings

Types

ProfilerPid = pid() | port() | undefined
Options = [system_profile_option()]
ProfilerSettings =
    undefined | {pid() | port(), [system_profile_option()]}
system_profile_option() =
    exclusive | runnable_ports | runnable_procs | scheduler |
    timestamp | monotonic_timestamp | strict_monotonic_timestamp

Sets system profiler options. ProfilerPid is a local process identifier (pid) or port receiving profiling messages. The receiver is excluded from all profiling. The second argument is a list of profiling options:

exclusive

If a synchronous call to a port from a process is done, the calling process is considered not runnable during the call runtime to the port. The calling process is notified as inactive, and later active when the port callback returns.

monotonic_timestamp

Time stamps in profile messages use Erlang monotonic time. The time stamp (Ts) has the same format and value as produced by erlang:monotonic_time(nanosecond).

runnable_procs

If a process is put into or removed from the run queue, a message, {profile, Pid, State, Mfa, Ts}, is sent to ProfilerPid. Running processes that are reinserted into the run queue after having been pre-empted do not trigger this message.

runnable_ports

If a port is put into or removed from the run queue, a message, {profile, Port, State, 0, Ts}, is sent to ProfilerPid.

scheduler

If a scheduler is put to sleep or awoken, a message, {profile, scheduler, Id, State, NoScheds, Ts}, is sent to ProfilerPid.

strict_monotonic_timestamp

Time stamps in profile messages consist of Erlang monotonic time and a monotonically increasing integer. The time stamp (Ts) has the same format and value as produced by {erlang:monotonic_time(nanosecond), erlang:unique_integer([monotonic])}.

timestamp

Time stamps in profile messages include a time stamp (Ts) that has the same form as returned by erlang:now(). This is also the default if no time stamp flag is specified. If cpu_timestamp has been enabled through erlang:trace/3, this also effects the time stamp produced in profiling messages when flag timestamp is enabled.

Note

erlang:system_profile behavior can change in a future release.

erlang:system_time() -> integer()
OTP 18.0

Returns current Erlang system time in native time unit.

Calling erlang:system_time() is equivalent to erlang:monotonic_time() + erlang:time_offset().

Note

This time is not a monotonically increasing time in the general case. For more information, see the documentation of time warp modes in the User's Guide.

erlang:system_time(Unit) -> integer()
OTP 18.0

Types

Returns current Erlang system time converted into the Unit passed as argument.

Calling erlang:system_time(Unit) is equivalent to erlang:convert_time_unit(erlang:system_time(), native, Unit).

Note

This time is not a monotonically increasing time in the general case. For more information, see the documentation of time warp modes in the User's Guide.

term_to_binary(Term) -> ext_binary()

Types

Term = term()

Returns a binary data object that is the result of encoding Term according to the Erlang external term format.

This can be used for various purposes, for example, writing a term to a file in an efficient way, or sending an Erlang term to some type of communications channel not supported by distributed Erlang.

> Bin = term_to_binary(hello).
<<131,100,0,5,104,101,108,108,111>>
> hello = binary_to_term(Bin).
hello

See also binary_to_term/1.

Note

There is no guarantee that this function will return the same encoded representation for the same term.

term_to_binary(Term, Options) -> ext_binary()

Types

Term = term()
Options =
    [compressed |
     {compressed, Level :: 0..9} |
     deterministic |
     {minor_version, Version :: 0..2}]

Returns a binary data object that is the result of encoding Term according to the Erlang external term format.

If option compressed is provided, the external term format is compressed. The compressed format is automatically recognized by bin