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I guess my orginal point was that RPython has lots of hooks (eg the decorators that you mentioned) which allow the JIT to effectively trace the interpreted program. You would probably have to extend LuaJIT with similar hooks in order to use it in the same way. As tomp pointed out, the interpreter loop itself is not a good candidate for tracing. The JIT needs to at least know about the interpreters program counter to be able to identify loops in the interpreted program. You're right that referring to these as optimizations is inaccurate.

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