[llvm-dev] Vectorization with fast-math on irregular ISA sub-sets

Hal Finkel via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Feb 10 17:15:11 PST 2016

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Renato Golin" <renato.golin at linaro.org>
> To: "Hal Finkel" <hfinkel at anl.gov>
> Cc: "James Molloy" <James.Molloy at arm.com>, "Nadav Rotem" <nrotem at apple.com>, "Arnold Schwaighofer"
> <aschwaighofer at apple.com>, "LLVM Dev" <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>, "nd" <nd at arm.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 8:30:50 AM
> Subject: Re: Vectorization with fast-math on irregular ISA sub-sets
> On 9 February 2016 at 20:29, Hal Finkel <hfinkel at anl.gov> wrote:
> >> If the scalarisation is in IR, then any NEON intrinsic in C code
> >> will
> >> get wrongly scalarised. Builtins can be lowered in either IR
> >> operations or builtins, and the back-end has no way of knowing the
> >> origin.
> >>
> >> If the scalarization is lower down, then we risk also changing
> >> inline
> >> ASM snippets, which is even worse.
> >
> > Yes, but we don't do that, so that's not a practical concern.
> The IR scalarisation is, though.
> > To be fair, our IR language reference does not actually say that
> > our floating-point arithmetic is IEEE compliant, but it is
> > implied, and frontends depend on this fact. We really should not
> > change the IR floating-point semantics contract over this. It
> > might require some user education, but that's much better than
> > producing subtly-wrong results.
> But we lower a NEON intrinsic into plain IR instructions.
> If I got it right, the current "fast" attribute is "may use non IEEE
> compliant", emphasis on the *may*.
> As a user, I'd be really angry if I used "float32x4_t vaddq_f32
> (float32x4_t, float32x4_t)" and the compiler emitted four VADD.f32
> SN.
> Right now, Clang lowers:
>   vaddq_f32 (a, b);
> to:
>   %add.i = fadd <4 x float> %a, %b
> which lowers (correctly) to:
>   vadd.f32 q0, q0, q1
> If, OTOH, "fast" means "*must* select the fastest", then we may get
> away with using it.
> So, your proposal seems to be that, while lowering NEON intrinsics,
> Clang *always* emit the "fast" attribute for all FP operations, and
> that such scalarisation phase would split *all* non-fast FP
> operations
> if the target has non-IEEE-754 compliant SIMD.

To be clear, I'm recommending that you add flags like nnan, ninf and nsz. However, I think that I've changed my mind: This won't work for the intrinsics. The flags are defined as:

  No Signed Zeros - Allow optimizations to treat the sign of a zero argument or result as insignificant.

  No NaNs - Allow optimizations to assume the arguments and result are not NaN. Such optimizations are required to retain defined behavior over NaNs, but the value of the result is undefined.

  No Infs - Allow optimizations to assume the arguments and result are not +/-Inf. Such optimizations are required to retain defined behavior over +/-Inf, but the value of the result is undefined.

and this is not right for the intrinsics-generated IR. The problem is that, for intrinsics, the users get the assume the exact semantics provided by the underlying machine instructions. By using intrinsics, the user is not telling the compiler it can do arbitrary things with the sign bit on zeros and all of the bits when given an NaN/Inf input. Rather, the user expects very specific (non-IEEE) behavior.

I think we have two options here:

 1. Lower these intrinsics into target-level intrinsics

 2. Add flags (or something like that) that indicate the alternate non-IEEE semantics that ARM actually provides.

I suspect that (1) will cause performance regressions (since we don't optimize the intrinsics as well as the generic IR we previously generated), so we should investigate (2).

> James' proposal is to not vectorise loops if an IEE-754 compliant
> is not on, and to only generate VFP instructions in the SLP
> vectoriser. If we're not generating the large vector operations in
> the
> first place, why would we need to scalarise them?

We should indeed let the cost model reflect the scalarization cost in cases where we need IEEE semantics.

> If we do vectorise to SIMD and then later scalarise, wouldn't that
> change the cost model? Wouldn't it be harder to predict performance
> gains, given that our cost model is only approximate and very
> empirical?

We'd need to pass the fast-math flags to the cost model so that we'd get costs back that depended on whether or not we could actually use the vector instructions.


> Other front-ends should produce "valid" (target-specific) IR in the
> first place, no? Hand generated broken IR is not something we wish to
> support either, I believe.
> > We have a pass-feedback mechanism, I think it would be very useful
> > for compiling with -Rpass-missed=loop-vectorize and/or
> > -Rpass-analysis=loop-vectorize helpfully informed users that
> > compiling with -ffast-math and/or -ffinite-math-only and
> > -fno-signed-zeros would allow the loop to be vectorized for the
> > targeted hardware.
> That works for optimisations, not for intrinsics. Since we use the
> same intermediate representation for both, we can't assume anything.
> cheers,
> --renato

Hal Finkel
Assistant Computational Scientist
Leadership Computing Facility
Argonne National Laboratory

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