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In Massa, there are 2 slots per second. At each slot, an ensemble of autonomous smart contracts, as well as a block, are executed. If a smart contract being called executed contains an infinite loop, it might hang the whole network. To prevent this, it is required to cap the computation time of each slot below 500 milliseconds to allow the network to follow the slot schedule.

To do this we define a deterministic unit of computation time calibrated on a reference instance of the recommended hardware. We call this unit gas. Each smart contract instruction consumes a defined amount of gas when executed.

Protocol-defined gas limits ensuring a total slot execution time remains below 300 milliseconds on the reference hardware are set as follows:

  • the execution of autonomous smart contracts at each slot: MAX_ASYNC_GAS = 1_000_000_000
  • the execution of all the operations of a block: MAX_BLOCK_GAS = 4_294_967_295

Gas in operations

Block producers aim at maximizing their revenue by executing the operations that give them the highest total fee in their blocks, while respecting the protocol-defined block size and gas limits to avoid their blocks from being rejected. Having many pending operations compete for a limited amount of block space and gas creates a market for those resources. This means that if the fee of an operation is not set high enough to make it competitive given the space and gas it consumes, it less likely to be included by block producers. They would prefer allocating those resources to other operations that are more profitable to them.

Given the high throughput of the network and the low hardware requirements for block producers, it is not computationally feasible for block producers to simulate the execution of some types of operations in order to estimate the amount of gas their execution would require. Operations such as CallSC or ExecuteSC therefore contain a declarative max_gas field that caps the amount of gas that can be consumed by the execution of the operation. The sum of the max_gas of all the operations of a block must not exceed MAX_BLOCK_GAS. Beyond that, any excess operations in the block are not executed and do not profit to the block producer. It is the responsibility of the operation sender to set a max_gas value that is high enough. If the execution of the operation exceeds its declared max_gas, the fee is still paid but any other effects of the execution are reverted.

The gas usage of an operation can be estimated by its sender by using the read-only mode. The used gas is returned by the read-only calls/executions.

Gas in autonomous smart contracts

Autonomous smart contract also compete for a finite MAX_ASYNC_GAS per slot. When emitting an autonomous smart contract message, the sender speficies a fee and a max_gas in the arguments. Autonomous smart contracts do not involve block producers, so the fee is simply burned at emission.

To replicate the priorization behavior of block producers in a deterministic way, the autonomous smart contract pool sorts the autonomous smart contract messages by their profitability defined by the fee/max_gas ratio.

The pool is of finite size MAX_ASYNC_POOL_LENGTH = 1_000. Expired messages are automatically dropped from that pool. Despite this, if the pool still grows beyond its length limit, the least profitable messages are dropped to fit the limit. When a message is dropped, its coins are reimbursed to the sender but not its fee.

At each slot S, the autonomous smart contract messages that can be executed at S are picked from the most profitable to the least profitable and executed in that order until their cumulated max_gas reaches MAX_ASYNC_GAS. Autonomous smart contract messages are removed from the pool once they are executed.