[llvm-dev] RFC: Allow readnone and readonly functions to throw exceptions

Hal Finkel via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Thu Jan 5 10:39:19 PST 2017

On 01/05/2017 12:17 PM, Reid Kleckner wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 9:19 AM, Hal Finkel via llvm-dev 
> <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org <mailto:llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>> wrote:
>     On 01/05/2017 10:55 AM, Sanjoy Das wrote:
>         Hi Hal,
>         On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 6:12 AM, Hal Finkel <hfinkel at anl.gov
>         <mailto:hfinkel at anl.gov>> wrote:
>             On 01/04/2017 10:35 PM, Sanjoy Das via llvm-dev wrote:
>                 I just realized that there's an annoying corner case
>                 to this scheme --
>                 I can't DSE stores across readnone maythrow function
>                 calls because the
>                 exception handler could read memory. That is, in:
>                 try {
>                     *a = 10;
>                     call void @readnone_mayunwind_fn();
>                     *a = 20;
>                 } catch (...) {
>                     assert(*a == 10);
>                 }
>                 I can't DSE the `*a = 10` store.
>                 As far as I can tell, the most restrictive memory
>                 attribute for a
>                 potentially throwing function is readonly. "readnone
>                 may-unwind" does
>                 not make sense.
>             Why not? I've not followed this thread in detail, but it
>             seems like you're
>             discussing allowing the modeling of EH schemes that don't
>             access accessible
>             memory. In that case, a may-unwind readnone function is
>             just one that makes
>             its decision about if/what to throw based only on its
>             arguments.
>         If the call to @readnone_mayunwind_fn throws and I've DSE'ed
>         the "*a =
>         10" store, the exception handler will fail the *a == 10 assert
>         (assume
>         *a is not 10 to begin with).  The function call itself is
>         readnone,
>         but its exceptional continuation may read any part of the heap.
>         This isn't a big deal, but it means that "readnone may-unwind"
>         will
>         effectively have to be treated as "readonly may-unwind" -- I
>         don't see
>         any optimization that would be applicable to one and not the
>         other.
>         Maybe we should just move ahead with that (that readnone
>         may-unwind is
>         allowed, but if you want readnone-like optimizations then you
>         need to
>         also mark it as nounwind)?
>     Yes, I think that makes sense. The attribute only applies to the
>     function anyway, so what exception handlers might do (which is
>     assumed to be reading/writing any memory that might be available
>     to them) must be reasoned about separately.
> I don't think we need or want to do that. The way I see it, readonly 
> implies that the exception handler cannot write memory readable by 
> LLVM. Similarly, readnone should imply that the exception handler does 
> not read memory written by LLVM. Basically, any function that may 
> unwind but also has these attributes asserts that the exception 
> handler is operating outside of memory modeled by LLVM.

I don't understand why that's desirable, and I think it would severely 
limit our ability to infer these attributes for functions that unwind. 
You'd need to prove things -- likely unknowable things -- about the 
exception handlers in place around every call site of a function in 
order to mark it readonly, readnone, etc. We'd have the same problem 
with the attribute parameters. I'm fairly certain we do need and want to 
separate these concerns. This way we can apply callsite specific 
reasoning to the potential effects of exception handlers separate from 
what the function itself might do.


> I don't think we'll do DSE in your example because the store isn't 
> dead, it's visible along the invoke's unwind edge, and we don't need 
> to change the semantics of readnone to see that.

Hal Finkel
Lead, Compiler Technology and Programming Languages
Leadership Computing Facility
Argonne National Laboratory

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