[LLVMdev] Vectorization: Next Steps

Hal Finkel hfinkel at anl.gov
Tue Feb 7 12:10:40 PST 2012

On Mon, 2012-02-06 at 14:26 -0800, Chris Lattner wrote:
> On Feb 2, 2012, at 7:56 PM, Hal Finkel wrote:
> > As some of you may know, I committed my basic-block autovectorization
> > pass a few days ago. I encourage anyone interested to try it out (pass
> > -vectorize to opt or -mllvm -vectorize to clang) and provide feedback.
> > Especially in combination with -unroll-allow-partial, I have observed
> > some significant benchmark speedups, but, I have also observed some
> > significant slowdowns. I would like to share my thoughts, and hopefully
> > get feedback, on next steps.
> Hi Hal,
> I haven't had a chance to look at your pass in detail, but here are some opinions: :)
> > 1. "Target Data" for vectorization - I think that in order to improve
> > the vectorization quality, the vectorizer will need more information
> > about the target. This information could be provided in the form of a
> > kind of extended target data. This extended target data might contain:
> > - What basic types can be vectorized, and how many of them will fit
> > into (the largest) vector registers
> > - What classes of operations can be vectorized (division, conversions /
> > sign extension, etc. are not always supported)
> > - What alignment is necessary for loads and stores
> > - Is scalar-to-vector free?
> I think that this will be a really important API, but I strongly advocate that you model this after TargetLoweringInfo instead of TargetData.  First, TargetData isn't actually a target API (it should be fixed, I filed PR11936 to track this).  Second, targets will have to implement imperative code to return precise answers to questions.  For example, you'll want something like "what is the cost of a shuffle with this mask" which will be extremely target specific, will depend on what CPU subfeatures are enabled, etc.

This makes sense. What do you think will be the best way of
synchronizing things like CPU subfeatures between this API and the
backend target libraries? They could be linked directly, although I
don't know if we want to do that. tablegen could extract a bunch of this
information into separate objects that get linked into opt.

> When you start working on this, I strongly encourage you to propose the API you want here.  Start small and add features as you go.
> > 2. Feedback between passes - We may to implement a closer coupling
> > between optimization passes than currently exists. Specifically, I have
> > in mind two things:
> > - The vectorizer should communicate more closely with the loop
> > unroller. First, the loop unroller should try to unroll to preserve
> > maximal load/store alignments. Second, I think it would make a lot of
> > sense to be able to unroll and, only if this helps vectorization should
> > the unrolled version be kept in preference to the original. With basic
> > block vectorization, it is often necessary to (partially) unroll in
> > order to vectorize. Even when we also have real loop vectorization,
> > however, I still think that it will be important for the loop unroller
> > to communicate with the vectorizer.
> I really disagree with this, see below.
> > 3. Loop vectorization - It would be nice to have, in addition to
> > basic-block vectorization, a more-traditional loop vectorization pass. I
> > think that we'll need a better loop analysis pass in order for this to
> > happen. Some of this was started in LoopDependenceAnalysis, but that
> > pass is not yet finished. We'll need something like this to recognize
> > affine memory references, etc.
> I think that a loop vectorizor and a basic block vectorizer both make perfect sense and are important for different classes of code.  However, I don't think that we should go down the path of trying to use a "basic block vectorizor + loop unrolling" serve the purpose of a loop vectorizer.  Trying to make a BBVectorizer and a loop unroller play together will be really fragile, because they'll both have to duplicate the same metrics (otherwise, for example, you'd unroll a loop that isn't vectorizable).  This will also be a huge hit to compile time.

The only problem with this comes from loops for which unrolling is
necessary to expose vectorization because the memory access pattern is
too complicated to model in more-traditional loop vectorization. This
generally is useful only in cases with a large number of flops per
memory operation (or maybe integer ops too, but I have less experience
with those), so maybe we can design a useful heuristic to handle those
cases. That having been said, unroll+(failed vectorize)+rollback is not
really any more expensive at compile time than unroll+(failed vectorize)
except that the resulting code would run faster (actually it is cheaper
to compile because the optimization/compilation of the unvectorized
unrolled loop code takes longer than the non-unrolled loop). There might
be a clean way of doing this; I'll think about it.

Thanks again,

> -Chris

Hal Finkel
Postdoctoral Appointee
Leadership Computing Facility
Argonne National Laboratory

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