[cfe-dev] Fixed-size argument arrays in LLVM assembly

nkavv at physics.auth.gr nkavv at physics.auth.gr
Thu Feb 14 02:35:36 PST 2013

Hi John, David,

> I'm not a language lawyer, but just as a trifling technicality I gather the
> construct
> void f(int m,int array[static m])

I was thinking that for certain targets, the knowledge of the static  
array size, allows for interesting optimizations, e.g. parallelized  
forms for accessing the interface array (ranging from single-element  
to simultaneous access of all elements, as would a partial or full  
unroller permit). If the compile-time known size information cannot  
propagate in the IR, then this opportunity is lost.

David, your approach offers a way to circumvent the problem from a  
software view (and spilling to a large stack/heap). I guess it will  
work with C99. It might also be directly usable in a JIT setting,  
however, in general, the m argument (size) will not be known at  
compile time.

For a hardware target, an LLVM procedure (CDFG) would be implemented  
as control+datapath block, by a high-level synthesis mapping process  
to a model of computation such as an FSMD (Finite-State Machine with  

> then "the value of the corresponding actual argument shall provide access to
> the first element of an array with at least as many elements as specified by
> the size expression". So you might get user code using this construct whence
> the compiler is entitled to expect a minimum size.

I agree and will put it to test in order to check how it is mapped to the IR.

> But that's realy quite a
> weak requirement, and it's also the wrong way round ("at least as big as"
> rather than "not bigger than").

Yes, the hard requirement for the case i'm thinking is indeed "not  
bigger than"; a static limit that should not be surpassed. The memory  
model i assume is segmented (physically), each array is mapped into  
physically separate storage, and by default array layout is not  
further optimized. For safe accesses, scratch storage or spilling to  
slower memory (external memory if using an FPGA-based system) would be  
needed, but either option has its disadvantages. Defining also a  
default static size for bounds checking would be arbitrary (would  
usually be too large or too small).

Best regards
Nikolaos Kavvadias

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