[LLVMdev] Making GEP into vector illegal?

Mon Ping Wang wangmp at apple.com
Tue Oct 14 13:05:34 PDT 2008


I didn't know that about bitcast.  This becomes important if someone  
wants a pointer to a vector element as we would either need to support  
the bistcast or we just don't allow that. For most vector code that  
I'm aware of, no one really wants to take an address of vector element  
as by doing so, one is kind of scalarizing the vector which would be  
bad for performance.  If someone has a case where this is useful,  I  
would like to see it as it make help us make a better decision in this  

   -- Mon Ping

On Oct 14, 2008, at 11:38 AM, Dan Gohman wrote:

> On Oct 14, 2008, at 9:50 AM, Mon Ping Wang wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I ran into a case where ScalarReplAggregates can not promote an array
>> of vectors into registers, e..g,
>>  	%a = alloca [8 x <2 x float>], align 8
>>        %arrayidx74597 = getelementptr [8 x <2 x float>]* %a, i32 0,
>> i32 1, i32 0		; <float*> [#uses=2]
>> 	%tmp76 = load float* %arrayidx74597, align 8
>>        %arrayidx74598 = getelementptr [8 x <2 x float>]* %a, i32 0,
>> i32 1, i32 1		; <float*> [#uses=2]
>> 	%tmp77 = load float* %arrayidx74598, align 4
>> Though we could change the algorithm to look through the vector  
>> index,
>> it lead to an interesting question about if we should allow a
>> getelementptr (GEP) into a vector.
>> A vector is not like an short array of elements.  It is more of an
>> entity in itself.  When dealing with vectors, it seems to me that it
>> is  cleaner to think of them as an entity and GEP to the vector and
>> then use extract element to access the element of the vector instead
>> of using a GEP to get a pointer into a vector and loading it
>> directly.  If a client wants to do this, it would seem cleaner to
>> force the client to bitcast it to an array and then do a GEP to the
>> element.  This would it more similar to what clients have to do to  
>> get
>> to a pointer to a byte in a word today.  For ScalarReplAggr, we would
>> want to promote the vector itself and not to treat it as promoting  
>> the
>> float elements.
>> I would like to make it illegal to GEP into a vector as I think it is
>> cleaner and more consistent.  Opinions?  Comments?
> I agree that disallowing GEP from indexing into vector elements seems
> a little cleaner and more consistent. I have used GEPs to index into
> vectors once (in code not in the LLVM tree), but I'm pretty sure that
> code could be rewritten to avoid needing that.
> It's currently illegal to bitcast directly to or from an array type
> though, so the workaround for people who need to index into vector
> elements with a GEP is to bitcast the GEP's pointer operand.
> Dan
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