[LLVMdev] GEP vs IntToPtr/PtrToInt

Jianzhou Zhao jianzhou at seas.upenn.edu
Wed Apr 20 08:08:41 PDT 2011

I have a question about when we should apply these pointer aliasing
rules. Do the rules tell us when a load/store is safe?
"Any memory access must be done through a pointer value associated
with an address range of the memory access, otherwise the behavior is

So this means the conversion discussed here is still safe in terms of
memory safety, but its meaning after conversion could be weird. Am I

Then it comes to my another question. The base-on relation has this rule:
"A pointer value formed by an inttoptr is based on all pointer values
that contribute (directly or indirectly) to the computation of the
pointer's value."

Suppose an int value 'i'  is computed by a lot of int variables that
are converted from ptr (p1,p2...pn) by ptrtoint, then if we inttoptr i
to a point p, how should I decide which pointer value the 'p' forms?

If those p_j are ptrtoint to a i_j, and the computation for i is i =
i_0 + i_1 + ... i_n, does it mean
  we can take either p_j as a base pointer, and other int variables
its offset, say we take p_2 as the base pointer, and the p from i
points to
       p_2 + (i_0 + i_1 + i_3 + .. i_n)

So in the transformation example, the result is different when we take
%196 or %193 as a base pointer.

For alias-analysis, we may say the p can point to a memory any of the
p_j points to. But if we consider memory safety, should we say p is
safe to access if p is not out-of-bound no matter which p_j is taken
as a base pointer? Could anyone explain this rule more precisely? For
example, how can we find "
all pointer values that contribute (directly or indirectly)" ?

This would be helpful to understand
which suggest that we can do some 'wild' pointer arithmetic by
inttoptr and ptrtoint.

For example, given a pointer p, can we safely do?
   i = ptrtoint p;
   j = i + null;
   q = inttoptr j;
   v = load q;

Thanks a lot.

On Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 9:34 PM, Eli Friedman <eli.friedman at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 7:10 AM, John Criswell <criswell at illinois.edu> wrote:
> > On 4/4/2011 6:45 PM, Eli Friedman wrote:
> >>
> >> On Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 5:02 PM, Arushi Aggarwal<arushi987 at gmail.com>
> >>  wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Hi,
> >>>> Is it correct to convert,
> >>>>   %196 = load i32* %195, align 8                  ;<i32>  [#uses=1]
> >>>>   %197 = zext i32 %196 to i64                     ;<i64>  [#uses=1]
> >>>>   %198 = ptrtoint i8* %193 to i64                 ;<i64>  [#uses=1]
> >>>>   %199 = add i64 %198, %197                       ;<i64>  [#uses=1]
> >>>>   %200 = inttoptr i64 %199 to i8*                 ;<i8*>  [#uses=1]
> >>>> into
> >>>> %200 = getelementptr %193, %196
> >>>> Reducing the unnecessary casts of converting to integers and then back?
> >>>> Thanks,
> >>>> Arushi
> >>>>
> >> See http://llvm.org/docs/LangRef.html#pointeraliasing ; it's not
> >> correct in general.  It is correct if %196 isn't dependent on the
> >> address of any memory object, though.
> >
> > Can you clarify why the transform isn't correct?  Is it because in the
> > original code, %200 is based on both the originally cast pointer (%193) and
> > the indexed offset from it (%197) while the transformed code is only based
> > on %193?
> Yes, exactly.
> -Eli
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