[llvm-dev] RFC: Comprehensive Static Instrumentation

TB Schardl via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Thu Jun 16 13:55:54 PDT 2016

We've just released the project code for public review.  You can find the
diffs at the following links:

CSI LLVM pass: http://reviews.llvm.org/D21445
CSI Clang support: http://reviews.llvm.org/D21446
CSI Runtime and tests: http://reviews.llvm.org/D21447

The RST for the CSI project can be found with the Clang diff.

We know that this code requires changes, additions, more tests, cleanup,
etc.  Although we've asked our Google sponsors for help on these points,
any additional help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.


On Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 2:23 PM, Kostya Serebryany <kcc at google.com> wrote:

> I am very glad this project reached the state where we can start the
> public code review. Please shoot the patches for review when ready.
> --kcc
> On Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 12:14 PM, TB Schardl via llvm-dev <
> llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> CC'ing the mailing list for the CSI project.
>> On Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 12:01 PM, TB Schardl <neboat at mit.edu> wrote:
>>> Hey LLVM-dev,
>>> We propose to build the CSI framework to provide a comprehensive suite
>>> of compiler-inserted instrumentation hooks that dynamic-analysis tools can
>>> use to observe and investigate program runtime behavior.  Traditionally,
>>> tools based on compiler instrumentation would each separately modify the
>>> compiler to insert their own instrumentation.  In contrast, CSI inserts a
>>> standard collection of instrumentation hooks into the program-under-test.
>>> Each CSI-tool is implemented as a library that defines relevant hooks, and
>>> the remaining hooks are "nulled" out and elided during link-time
>>> optimization (LTO), resulting in instrumented runtimes on par with custom
>>> instrumentation.  CSI allows many compiler-based tools to be written as
>>> simple libraries without modifying the compiler, greatly lowering the bar
>>> for
>>> developing dynamic-analysis tools.
>>> ================
>>> Motivation
>>> ================
>>> Key to understanding and improving the behavior of any system is
>>> visibility -- the ability to know what is going on inside the system.
>>> Various dynamic-analysis tools, such as race detectors, memory checkers,
>>> cache simulators, call-graph generators, code-coverage analyzers, and
>>> performance profilers, rely on compiler instrumentation to gain visibility
>>> into the program behaviors during execution.  With this approach, the tool
>>> writer modifies the compiler to insert instrumentation code into the
>>> program-under-test so that it can execute behind the scene while the
>>> program-under-test runs.  This approach, however, means that the
>>> development of new tools requires compiler work, which many potential tool
>>> writers are ill equipped to do, and thus raises the bar for building new
>>> and innovative tools.
>>> The goal of the CSI framework is to provide comprehensive static
>>> instrumentation through the compiler, in order to simplify the task of
>>> building efficient and effective platform-independent tools.  The CSI
>>> framework allows the tool writer to easily develop analysis tools that
>>> require
>>> compiler instrumentation without needing to understand the compiler
>>> internals or modifying the compiler, which greatly lowers the bar for
>>> developing dynamic-analysis tools.
>>> ================
>>> Approach
>>> ================
>>> The CSI framework inserts instrumentation hooks at salient locations
>>> throughout the compiled code of a program-under-test, such as function
>>> entry and exit points, basic-block entry and exit points, before and after
>>> each memory operation, etc.  Tool writers can instrument a
>>> program-under-test simply by first writing a library that defines the
>>> semantics of relevant hooks
>>> and then statically linking their compiled library with the
>>> program-under-test.
>>> At first glance, this brute-force method of inserting hooks at every
>>> salient location in the program-under-test seems to be replete with
>>> overheads.  CSI overcomes these overheads through the use of
>>> link-time-optimization (LTO), which is now readily available in most major
>>> compilers, including GCC and LLVM.  Using LTO, instrumentation hooks that
>>> are not used by a particular tool can be elided, allowing the overheads of
>>> these hooks to be avoided when the
>>> instrumented program-under-test is run.  Furthermore, LTO can optimize a
>>> tool's instrumentation within a program using traditional compiler
>>> optimizations.  Our initial study indicates that the use of LTO does not
>>> unduly slow down the build time, and the LTO can indeed optimize away
>>> unused hooks.  One of our experiments with Apache HTTP server shows that,
>>> compiling with CSI and linking with the "null" CSI-tool (which consists
>>> solely of empty hooks) slows down the build time of the Apache HTTP server
>>> by less than 40%, and the resulting tool-instrumented executable is as fast
>>> as the original uninstrumented code.
>>> ================
>>> CSI version 1
>>> ================
>>> The initial version of CSI supports a basic set of hooks that covers the
>>> following categories of program objects: functions, function exits
>>> (specifically, returns), basic blocks, call sites, loads, and stores.  We
>>> prioritized instrumenting these IR objects based on the need of seven
>>> example CSI tools, including a race detector, a cache-reuse analyzer, and a
>>> code-coverage analyzer.  We plan to evolve the CSI API over time to be more
>>> comprehensive, and we have designed the CSI API to be extensible, allowing
>>> new instrumentation to be added as needs grow.  We chose to initially
>>> implement a minimal "core" set of hooks, because we felt it was best to add
>>> new instrumentation on an as-needed basis in order to keep the interface
>>> simple.
>>> There are three salient features about the design of CSI.  First, CSI
>>> assigns each instrumented program object a unique integer identifier within
>>> one of the (currently) six program-object categories.  Within each
>>> category, the ID's are consecutively numbered from 0 up to the number of
>>> such objects minus 1.  The contiguous assignment of the ID's allows the
>>> tool writer to easily keep track of IR objects in the program and iterate
>>> through all objects in a category (whether the object is encountered during
>>> execution or not).  Second, CSI provides a platform-independent means to
>>> relate a given program object to locations in the source code.
>>> Specifically, CSI provides "front-end-data (FED)" tables, which provide
>>> file name and source lines for each program object given the object's ID.
>>> Third, each CSI hook takes in as a parameter a "property": a 64-bit
>>> unsigned integer that CSI uses to export the results of compiler analyses
>>> and other information known at compile time.  The use of properties allow
>>> the tool to rely on compiler analyses to optimize instrumentation and
>>> decrease overhead.  In particular, since the value of a property is known
>>> at compile time, LTO can constant-fold the conditional test around a
>>> property to elide unnecessary instrumentation.
>>> ================
>>> Future plan
>>> ================
>>> We plan to expand CSI in future versions by instrumenting additional
>>> program objects, such as atomic instructions, floating-point instructions,
>>> and exceptions.  We are also planning to provide additional static
>>> information to tool writers, both through information encoded in the
>>> properties passed to hooks and by other means.  In particular, we are also
>>> looking at mechanisms to present tool writers with more complex static
>>> information, such as how different program objects relate to each other,
>>> e.g., which basic blocks belong to a given function.
>> _______________________________________________
>> LLVM Developers mailing list
>> llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
>> http://lists.llvm.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/llvm-dev
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-dev/attachments/20160616/f74c5aca/attachment.html>

More information about the llvm-dev mailing list