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Better Trace Format

The Better Trace Format is a simple text-based format. It is intended to ease the exchange of traces between measurement tools or simulators and analysis tools. Its simple structure based on columns and separators allows the implementation of own scripts as well as the import into MS Excel and other spreadsheet programs.

This format, nowadays known as BTF, is used not only by INCHRON, but also by other tools. In the following the history, the details, and the use-cases with the INCHRON Tool-Suite are shown.

History of BTF

Defined Better Trace Format in 2009 based on customer request

Since then the format has only been changed slightly by others and has been renamed to "Best Trace Format".

Furthermore it has been selected as trace format by the AMALTHEA ITEA2 Project and has been released by the Eclipse Auto IWG.

This late success of the BTF specification makes us happy. Unfortunately the official documentation of BTF V2.1.3 neglects the history of the Better Trace Format before 2011 and misrepresents the authorship.

Use Cases with the INCHRON Tool-Suite

The INCHRON Tool-Suite supports BTF as an exchange vehicle with other tools, both for the import and the export of trace data.


The import of BTF traces is done with the flexible CSV Importer of the INCHRON Tool-Suite. Due to the amount of different tools which are used in practice as a source of traces the Importer is very flexible and permissive.

During the import the BTF traces is converted into the INCHRON internal trace format. Once this has been done the user can do the same analysis on the trace as if it originated from chronSIM. Especially for large traces (in terms of many cpus and processes as well as a long duration and many millions of events) a very fast navigation through the whole trace is possible.


The INCHRON Tool-Suite offers two different mechanisms to convert a simulation trace into a BTF trace. The first is obviously a standalone program which converts the INCHRON trace into its BTF representation.

Additionally the Batch-mode of chronSIM has an option to output direct BTF trace instead of an INCHRON trace. It is triggered by

Batch -o -:btf <other options> project.ipr

As a BTF trace is line oriented the output can be fed to analysis tool by redirection or pipes. We recommend this mode to all customers who run their own analysis scripts and do not need to archive the simulation results immediately. (Note: Of course all simulations are repeatable, just specify a seed for the random generators. This is option -S <32bit seed>.)

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