[LLVMdev] [LLVM Dev] [Discussion] Function-based parallel LLVM backend code generation

Chandler Carruth chandlerc at google.com
Tue Jul 16 03:46:56 PDT 2013

While I think the end goal you're describing is close to the correct one, I
see the high-level strategy for getting there somewhat differently:

1) The code generators are only one collection of function passes that
might be parallelized. Many others might also be parallelized profitably.
The design for parallelism within LLVM's pass management infrastructure
should be sufficiently generic to express all of these use cases.

2) The idea of having multiple pass managers necessitates (unless I
misunderstand) duplicating a fair amount of state. For example, the caches
in immutable analysis passes would no longer be shared, etc. I think that
is really unfortunate, and would prefer instead to use parallelizing pass
managers that are in fact responsible for the scheduling of passes.

3) It doesn't provide a strategy for parallelizing the leaves of a CGSCC
pass manager which is where a significant portion of the potential
parallelism is available within the middle end.

4) It doesn't deal with the (numerous) parts of LLVM that are not actually
thread safe today. They may happen to work with the code generators you're
happening to test, but there is no guarantee. Notable things to think about
here are computing new types, the use-def lists of globals, commandline
flags, and static state variables. While our intent has been to avoid
problems with the last two that could preclude parallelism, it seems
unlikely that we have succeeded without thorough testing to this point.
Instead, I fear we have leaned heavily on the crutch of

5) It adds more complexity onto the poorly designed pass manager
infrastructure. Personally, I think that cleanups to the design and
architecture of the pass manager should be prioritized above adding new
functionality like parallelism. However, so far no one has really had time
to do this (including myself). While I would like to have time in the
future to do this, as with everything else in OSS, it won't be real until
the patches start flowing.

On Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 3:33 AM, Wan, Xiaofei <xiaofei.wan at intel.com> wrote:

> Hi, community:
> For the sake of our business need, I want to enable "Function-based
> parallel code generation" to boost up the compilation of single module,
> please see the details of the design and provide your feedbacks on below
> aspects, thanks!
> 1. Is this idea the proper solution for my requirement
> 2. This new feature will be enabled by llc -thd=N and has no impact on
> original llc when -thd=1
> 3. Can this new feature of llc be accepted by community and merged into
> LLVM code tree
> Patches
> The patch is divided into four separated parts, the all-in-one patch could
> be found here:
> http://llvm-reviews.chandlerc.com/D1152
> Design
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QSkP6AumMCAVpgzwympD5pI3btPJt4SRgjY-vhyfySg/edit?usp=sharing
> Background
> 1. Our business need to compile C/C++ source files into LLVM IR and link
> them into a big BC file; the big BC file is then compiled into binary code
> on different arch/target devices.
> 2. Backend code generation is a time-consuming activity happened on target
> device which makes it an important user experience.
> 3. Make -j or file based parallelism can't help here since there is only
> one big BC file; function-based parallel LLVM backend code generation is a
> good solution to improve compilation time which will fully utilize
> multi-cores.
> Overall design strategy and goal
> 1. Generate totally same binary as what single thread output
> 2. No impacts on single thread performance & conformance
> 3. Little impacts on LLVM code infrastructure
> Current status and test result
> 1. Parallel llc can generate same code as single thread by "objdump -d",
> it could pass 10 hours stress test for all performance benchmark
> 2. Parallel llc can introduce ~2.9X performance gain on XEON sever for 4
> threads
> Thanks
> Wan Xiaofei
> _______________________________________________
> LLVM Developers mailing list
> LLVMdev at cs.uiuc.edu         http://llvm.cs.uiuc.edu
> http://lists.cs.uiuc.edu/mailman/listinfo/llvmdev
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