Visualizing the Provenance Graph


If you are using a Python version older than 2.7.3, this feature will not be available due to Python bug 13676 related to sqlite3.

To generate a provenance graph related to the experiment execution, the reprounzip graph command should be used:

$ reprounzip graph mypackfile.rpz

where corresponds to the graph, and mypackfile.rpz corresponds to the experiment package.

Alternatively, you can generate the graph after running reprozip trace without creating a .rpz package:

$ reprounzip graph [-d tracedirectory]

The graph is outputted in the DOT language. You can use Graphviz to load and visualize the graph:

$ dot -Tpng -o graph.png

It is also possible to output a JSON file with the flag --json.

Command-Line Options

Since an experiment may involve a significantly large number of file dependencies, reprounzip graph offers several command-line options to control what will be shown in the provenance graph, as described below. By default it includes all information available, which is often unreadable (see fig-toobig).

Filtering Out Files

Files can be filtered out using a regular expression [1] with the flag --regex-filter. For example:

  • --regex-filter /~[^/]*$` will filter out files whose name begins with a tilde
  • --regex-filter ^/usr/share will filter out /usr/share recursively
  • --regex-filter \.bin$ will filter out files with a .bin extension

These flags can be passed multiple times.

Replacing Filenames

Users can remap filenames using regular expressions [1] with the flag --regex-replace. This can be used to:

  • simplify the graph by making filenames shorter,
  • aggregate multiple files to a single node by mapping them to the same name, or
  • fix programs that are using some type of cache or for which the wrong access was logged, such as Python’s .pyc files.


  • --regex-replace .pyc$ \.py will replace accesses to bytecode cache files (.pyc) to the original source (.py)
  • --regex-replace ^/dev(/.*)?$ /dev will aggregate all device files as a single path /dev
  • --regex-replace ^/home/vagrant/experiment/data/(.*)\.bin data:\1 will simplify the paths to some data files

The flag --aggregate is a shortcut allowing users to aggregate all files beginning with a given prefix. For instance, --aggregate /usr/somepath will collapse all files under /usr/somepath (this is equivalent to --regex-replace '^/usr/somepath' '/usr/somepath').

Both flags can be passed multiple times.

Controlling Levels of Detail

Users can control the levels of detail for each category of items in the provenance graph.

Software Packages

  • --packages file will show all the files belonging to a package grouped under that package’s name
  • --packages package will show the package as a single item, not detailing the individual files that it contains
  • --packages drop will entirely hide the packages, removing all their files from the graph
  • --packages ignore will ignore the package identification, handling their files as if they had not been detected as being part of a package

Note that regex filters and replacements are applied beforehand, so files that are remapped to a package will be shown under that package name.


  • --processes thread will show every process and thread
  • --processes process will show every process and hide threads
  • --processes run will show only one node for an experiment run, even if the run is composed by multiple processes and threads

Other Files

For files that are not part of a software package, or if --packages ignore is being used:

  • --otherfiles all will show every file (unless filtered by --regex-filter)
  • --otherfiles io will show only the input and output files, as identified in the configuration file
  • --otherfiles no will ignore all the files
[1](1, 2) Anchoring regular expressions with ^ and $ and escaping dots (\.) is recommended. For more information about regular expressions, please see here.

Common Recipes

  • Full provenance graph (likely to be unreadable for most experiments, due to the large amount of information to be presented):

    $ reprounzip graph myexperiment.rpz

Provenance graph showing all the information available (full graph). This represents the default configuration.

  • Mapping Python bytecode cache files to their corresponding source file (this may help attribute file accesses to software packages):

    $ reprounzip graph --regex-replace '\.pyc$' '\.py' myexperiment.rpz
  • Dataflow of the experiment, showing the runs and their corresponding input and output files:

    $ reprounzip graph --packages drop --otherfiles io --processes run myexperiment.rpz

Provenance graph showing input and output files for an experiment with 4 runs.

  • Provenance graph showing only processes and threads (no file accesses):

    $ reprounzip graph --packages drop --otherfiles drop --processes thread myexperiment.rpz

Provenance graph showing only processes and threads.