[llvm-dev] Potential issue with noalias @malloc and @realloc

Daniel Berlin via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Apr 12 15:51:20 PDT 2017

On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 1:24 PM, Richard Smith <richard at metafoo.co.uk>

> On 12 April 2017 at 12:19, Daniel Berlin <dberlin at dberlin.org> wrote:
>>> It seems to me that there are two ways of thinking about this: either
>>> the value of a pointer in IR is richer than its bit sequence, in which case
>>> replacing p1 with p0 in a block predicated by p0 == p1 is an incorrect
>>> transformation if you cannot prove that one pointer was based on the other,
>> Which would be a non-starter just from the cost of doing so, not to
>> mention the allowable optimization you lose :)
> It may be possible to modify the optimization rather than losing it, such
> as by replacing p1 with barrier(p0) rather than with simply p0, where
> barrier(p) returns some pointer that is bitwise identical to p but may
> carry different ancillary data.
> The way I'm thinking of this is that we have a semilattice of virtual
> values for each bit-pattern, where it's generally correct to move a value
> up in the lattice but not down; the barrier would return the top element of
> the lattice. Viewed this way, the problem is that replacing p1 with p0 may
> change to a value that is not at or above the original value in the
> semilattice. We could preserve more information when doing these value
> replacements by inserting an intrinsic representing join(p0, p1) instead of
> barrier(p0), but that seems like it would hinder further optimization
> rather than help it.
> or the value of a pointer in IR is exactly its bit sequence, in which case
>>> the code performing the transformation incorrectly updated the IR and a
>>> correct transformation would need to somehow remove the noalias from the
>>> malloc calls.
>> Sure, but noalias is just a symptom here. You can make the same thing
>> occur in other ways.  It's fundamentally an issue of being able to express
>> when the abstract identity of a pointer has changed even when the bit-value
>> has not.
> I agree. Is it reasonable and feasible to require every optimization that
> replaces one (pointer) value with another value that is known to be
> bitwise-equal but not known to be semantically equivalent to -- somehow --
> express that in the resulting IR?

It's not *practically* different than requiring them to do something like
 "update memoryssa" (ie in terms of how you'd do it or where you'd do it)
or in some cases "update ssa".

> IE there are enough transformation updates that need to occur that we
>> probably need to do something different than try to band-aid/patch all the
>> places that will have this issue.
>> The C++ object model formally takes the former standpoint; its pointers
>>> notionally point to objects, which are abstract entities occupying storage,
>>> rather than pointing to the storage itself.
>> Which, i get why they do (in fact i would do the same), but saying the
>> abstract objects have an identity outside of the bit values of the pointers
>> means that the IR's need to be able to represent identity changes
>> separately from value changes (this is what i meant by "add support for
>> describing lifetimes that has semantic meaning").
>> I'm not aware of any compiler that does this effectively, and it's a
>> fairly large semantic change.
>> They all pretty much hack it and hope they don't break too much shit.
>> Separately, changing noalias would just band-aid it. You can make the
>> same thing occur with TBAA, placement new, or really, any way we have where
>> the abstract identity may change but llvm doesn't express it.
> Right. Even just for the noalias case, allocas would seem have the same
> problem as malloc:

Yeah, though until we want to do a lot of work, i fear we should just be
ignoring these issues until we have real world programs we are breaking :)

I hate answers like that, but i feel like ATM it's more in the category of
"something we should be cognizant of" than "something we should cut a wide
swath through the compiler destroying optimizations to make work".

Maybe others feel differently, however.
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