[LLVMdev] RFC - Extending ProfileInfo to support external profiles

Evan Cheng evan.cheng at apple.com
Fri Sep 6 20:43:29 PDT 2013

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 6, 2013, at 10:01 AM, Chandler Carruth <chandlerc at google.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 6:00 AM, Diego Novillo <dnovillo at google.com> wrote:
>> Is my understanding more or less correct?
> Probably for all I know. I'm not aware of anyone actively maintaining or keeping these pieces working. AFAICT, there have been 3-4 projects that started hacking on this and didn't finish, and frankly the result is a mess. It's not clear than any of it really works today.
>>  If so, I would like to
>> make three main changes:
>> 1- Unify profile loading so that it only talks to the basic
>>    analysis API. Here, I would like to change the way that
>>    profile information is reflected in the program. Currently,
>>    the compiler loads data from the profile file into 4 arrays
>>    inside ProfileInfo.  This is then reflected into the CFG for
>>    the corresponding function.
>>    Instead, I would like to reflect profile info as metadata in
>>    the IR. For instance, functions seldom called in the profile
>>    could be annotated with the 'cold' attribute in the IR. Block
>>    frequency is more straightforward: we add the frequency data
>>    to the first instruction of the block.
>>    Things like that. The problem here is that different profiling
>>    mechanisms will have different kinds of data. We will need
>>    ways of translating those into metadata that is then served
>>    from the analysis API. For example, how do we deal with value
>>    profilers?
>>    For now, I'm focusing on the most common types of profilers.
>>    These tend to use block/edge frequencies, which are more
>>    straightforward to convert.
> I really think you should ignore the existing profile support in LLVM. ALl of it. I actually think we should remove all of it, but that can happen later.

I haven't look at the profiling support recently. But this doesn't quite match my understanding. Bob, do you have comments?


> I would build whatever passes and infrastructure you need in order to load your profile data, in whatever format makes sense, and annotate the IR with metadata. I would just build them from scratch. I don't think there is anything to be gained from trying toclean up the existing profiling infrastructure when you'll end up re-using almost none of it, you will have different constraints when dealing with profiles from sampling tools, and will still have a common IR-level interface in the metadata.
>> 2- Passes should not need to be aware that profile
>>    information exists. They would make the usual calls to the
>>    analysis API, which will use profile data, if available.
>>    With this, I want to make optimizers automatically make
>>    better decisions when profile information exists.
> I believe this has already been done. I'm not aware of any optimization passes in use today that will need changes here.
>> 3- Profile data should be flexible wrt code drift. This is
>>    something that the profile loader should deal with. It
>>    currently fails when the profile is out of sync with the shape
>>    of the IR. In the presence of stale profile:
>>    (a) Do not fail hard.
>>    (b) Make conservative decisions with the annotations it
>>        generates.
>>    (c) Provide feedback to the user about the staleness of the
>>        profile (e.g. % of samples/records dropped from the profile).
> Yes, in designing your own (from the ground up) loader, these will be important issues.
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