[LLVMdev] Predication on SIMD architectures and LLVM

Tom Stellard tom at stellard.net
Fri Oct 19 09:37:59 PDT 2012

On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 04:38:29PM +0100, Marcello Maggioni wrote:
> Hello,
> I'm working on a compiler based on LLVM for a SIMD architecture that
> supports instruction predication. We would like to implement
> branching on this architecture using predication.
> As you know the LLVM-IR doesn't support instruction predication, so
> I'm not exactly sure on what is the best way to implement it.
> We came up with some ways to do it in LLVM:
> - Do not add any predication in the IR (except for load and stores
> through intrinsics), linearize the branches and substitute PHI nodes
> with selects for merging values . In the backend then we would
> custom lower the select instruction to produce a predicated mov to
> choose the right version of the value. I think this option doesn't
> make use of the possible benefits of the architecture we are
> targeting at all.

You may want to look at the IfConversion pass
(lib/CodeGen/IfConversion.cpp).  This converts branches to predicated
instructions, and you may be able to use it for all branching if you
teach it to maintain a predicate stack. I actually looked into doing
this for the newest generation of GPUs (Southern Islands) supported by
the R600[1] backend which use predication for all branching, but opted
to go with a target specific pass until the backend is more stable.


[1] http://cgit.freedesktop.org/~tstellar/llvm/tree/lib/Target/AMDGPU
> - Another way could be adding intrinsics for all instructions in the
> target to make them support predication, still linearize all the
> branches, but use instruction predication instead of generating
> cmovs . The backend then would custom lower almost any instruction
> into predicated custom nodes that are matched through tablegen
> patterns. We could generate these intrinsics in the same IR pass
> that linearizes branches.
> - Make a custom backend that actually directly outputs predicated
> instructions (we really mainly only need one type of predicate , so
> every instruction could use that kind of predicate ...) but I think
> this is a nasty solution ...
> Did someone already tried to do this in LLVM and if yes what
> solution/s did you use to solve the problem?
> Regards,
> Marcello
> -- 
> Marcello Maggioni
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