[llvm-dev] RFC: We should stop merging allocas in the inliner

Gerolf Hoflehner via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Aug 1 19:23:44 PDT 2016

> On Jul 31, 2016, at 9:47 PM, Chandler Carruth via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> Chris added alloca merging in the inliner a looooong time ago, 2009. The reason he added it was because at the time we didn't do stack coloring and without it we had serious stack size problems in LLVM.
> Since then, a few rather important things have changed:
> - We have reasonably powerful stack coloring support in the backend based on lifetime markers
> - Clang (the primary frontend I'm aware of that hit issues with this) is now emitting lifetime markers for essentially everything
> - Clang even has front-end based -O0 stack reuse tricks
> - AliasAnalysis has become even more important (extended to codegen time etc) and relies heavily on distinguishing between allocas.
> - We have lots of tools like the sanitizers that directly reason about allocas to catch bugs in user programs.
> The first two changes pretty much completely obviate the need for alloca merging as far as I'm aware, and the second two changes make the information loss caused by this practice, IMO, really bad.
> Even if there are problems exposed by turning off alloca merging in the inliner, they are almost certainly deficiencies in stack coloring, Clang, or other parts of the optimizer that we should fix rather than continue to ignore.
> Thoughts? The code changes are easy and mechanical. My plan would be:

I like the principal idea.
> 1) Add a flag to turn this off.
> 2) Run benchmarks with flag to make sure things are actually working.
> 3) Change default for the flag, make sure chaos doesn't ensue.

What does this imply? Just run-time?  I’d like to see stack size data w/ and w/o the change and  - just in case - an investigation/fix of the outliers. Any thoughts about compile-time and code size?

You probably also want to collect the data across more than one platform.

> 4) Delete the (quite substantial) complexity associated with this and the flag.
You might need to allow target specific behavior for some grace period.
> 5) Profit!
> -Chandler
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