[llvm-dev] RFC: callee saved register verifier

Quentin Colombet via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Fri May 13 15:45:48 PDT 2016

Hi Sanjay,

> On May 13, 2016, at 3:32 PM, Sanjoy Das <sanjoy at playingwithpointers.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> This is a proposal to introduce a mechanism to LLVM that uses runtime
> instrumentation to verify that a call target preserves all of the
> registers it says it does.  Internally, we have a diverse set of
> calling conventions for runtime functions that get called from LLVM
> compiled code, and having some sort of validation mechanism will give
> us more confidence in selecting aggressive calling conventions for
> these.
> The general idea is this: before every call store a cookie in all the
> registers that the call is supposed to preserve, and after the call
> returns, assert that the supposedly callee saved registers weren't
> clobbered.  So for a call target that respects the C calling
> convention, we'll generate something like:
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rbp
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rbx  # can also be movq %rbp, %rbx etc.
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %r12
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %r13
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %r14
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %r15
>  callq   foo
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rax
>  cmpq    %rax, %rbp
>  jne     .LBB1_5
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rax
>  cmpq    %rax, %rbx
>  jne     .LBB1_5
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rax
>  cmpq    %rax, %r12
>  jne     .LBB1_5
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rax
>  cmpq    %rax, %r13
>  jne     .LBB1_5
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rax
>  cmpq    %rax, %r14
>  jne     .LBB1_5
>  movabsq $0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F, %rax
>  cmpq    %rax, %r15
>  jne     .LBB1_5
> The 0xCA5FCA5FCA5FCA5F cookie was selected arbitrarily, but in general
> it can be anything that the call target is unlikely to clobber a CSR
> with (so it shouldn't be 0, 1, -1 etc.).
> This isn't intended to be fast, but is something you turn on in a slow
> "validate corner cases" mode.  I think for this to be practical we'll
> need to be able to switch this on and off per calling convention,
> since I suspect doing this for every call will be impractically slow,
> even for a validation run.
> Does the general idea sound reasonable?

The solution definitely solves your problems, I just wonder in what “corner case” mode this even makes sense.

> Note: the focus here is **not** verifying the register allocator or
> any other part of _LLVM_, but to verify that e.g. a custom calling
> convention that says that a call target preserves %r10 actually does
> preserve %r10.  This is the compiler enforcing a contract, just at a
> very low level.

You mean with code generated by another compiler/handwritten, because otherwise, this is pretty easy to verify in the machine verifier :).
(We probably do not verify that though, but we should.)
Thus, could you elaborate on the use cases.

> Implementation wise, I have a rough prototype that works by running a
> MachineFunctionPass before register allocation that emits the
> necessary MachineInstrs / control flow to make this happen.  Is that a
> right way to solve the problem?

I’d say yes, assuming the use cases do not involve llvm, otherwise the verifier approach seems preferable to me.

> If so, I'll clean up what I have and
> put it up for review on llvm-commits.  If there are better ways to do
> this, then I'm happy to hear them.
> -- Sanjoy


More information about the llvm-dev mailing list