[cfe-dev] [RFC][HIPSPV] Emitting HIP device code as SPIR-V
Henry Linjamäki via cfe-dev
cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org
Sun Aug 8 23:57:06 PDT 2021
HIP is a C++ Runtime API and kernel language that allows developers to
create portable applications for AMD and NVIDIA GPUs from a single
source code . There are also projects for running HIP code on Intel
GPU platforms via the Intel Level Zero API  called HIPLZ  and
HIPCL , which runs HIP programs in OpenCL devices with certain
advanced features supported. Both of these backends consume SPIR-V
We are proposing a patch set to be upstreamed that enables SPIR-V
emission through the HIP code path. The end goal of the patches to be
submitted is to emit SPIR-V binaries from HIP device code so it can be
embedded into executables for OpenCL-like environments (at least for
starters). Our current focus is on the two above-mentioned projects,
HIPCL and HIPLZ which are both work-in-progress HIP
implementations. They itself do not consume SPIR-V, but the device
binaries are handed over to the OpenCL and Intel Level Zero APIs,
Coarsely, the current process of translating the HIP code to SPIR-V in
* Retargeting HIP device code generation to the SPIR-V target.
* Mapping address spaces in HIP to corresponding ones in SPIR-V.
* Expanding HIP features, which can not be directly modeled in SPIR-V
(e.g. dynamic shared memory).
The HIPSPIRV experimental branch is available at . Note that it is
not yet in a state we intend to propose for upstreaming, but shaping
up the patches is a work in progress. Before proceeding to shape up
and submit the patches, we would like to get feedback for the plans we
have for upstreaming. In the following sections, we open up the above
points further and sketch our plans for changes to LLVM (mostly to the
Clang tool) to achieve the goal.
Retargeting device codegen
For making the HIP toolchain to emit and embed SPIR-V we are
tentatively planning the following changes to the LLVM/Clang:
* Introduce, at minimum, a 'spirv64' architecture type in Triple. This
is what the SPIR-V backend  (SPIR-V BE) effort is planning to
upstream. We would like to upstream this change in advance to
specify the HIP SPIR-V device code target, potentially before the
SPIR-V BE work lands.
* Implement a new SPIRVTargetInfo and fill it with necessary
information. For HIPCL/-LZ we are planning to adjust the address
space mapping in a way which is discussed later in the ‘address
space mapping’ section.
* Introduce a clang option to override the HIP device code target. We
are interested in the option ‘--offload=<target>’ discussed in the
'Unified offload option for CUDA/HIP/OpenMP'-thread . This option
would suit this use case well. As far as we know, the subject has
not advanced further from the discussion - is anyone working on it?
* Compilation driver:
HIP offload builder is changed to retrieve the offload device target
from the --offload option. If it is not present, it can fall back to
AMD's default target for avoiding changing the current default HIP
Temporarily change Driver to force clang to emit LLVM bitcode for
SPIR-V targets in the backend compilation phase. Otherwise, the
compilation will fail due to the lack of the real SPIR-V BE in many
parts of the code. Reworked HIPToolChain takes care of translating
the bitcode to SPIR-V during the linking phase. When the SPIR-V BE
lands in LLVM, we can revert this change.
* Introduce ’hipspv’ as an OS or environment type in Triple. The
primary and the current use of the type is to select device offload
toolchain for HIPCL/-LZ.
* Implement a new toolchain class 'HIPSPVToolChain' in clang which is
selected when the HIP device target is specified to be
‘spirv64-unknown-hipspv’ with the --offload option. Since the SPIR-V
BE might not land in LLVM soon, we will set up the compilation flow
to produce the SPIR-V binary by using the LLVM-SPIR-V translator 
which is used in our experimental branch.
One important thing the toolchain does is to run one or several LLVM
IR passes, which are needed by the HIPCL/LZ runtime, on the final
fully linked device bitcode. The passes are required to be run
during link time - all user specified device code and HIPCL/LZ
device library routines have to be visible when the passes are
run. The reason for the requirement is explained in the 'HIP code
expansion' section. HIPSPVToolChain will use the opt tool for
running the passes at link time.
* Currently, HIPToolChain is derived from ROCmToolchain and its long
chain of super classes (AMDGPUToolChain, Generic_ELF and
Generic_GCC). The new upstreamed target would not logically belong
under the AMDGPU/ROCm family so it does not make sense to derive the
HIPCL toolchain from the HIP toolchain. Therefore, we propose to:
- Create a new base HIP tool chain, 'BaseHIPToolChain' or just
'HIPToolChain', derived directly from ToolChain and put any
HIP-related code that is common or that can be reused in the
derived toolchains there.
- Derive a new HIPSPVToolChain from HIPToolChain.
- Rebase the HIPToolChain under the HIPToolChain and rename it to
HIPAMDToolChain. Since the current HIPToolChain depends on methods
in the super classes (e.g. AMDGPUToolChain’s getParsedTargetID)
the rebased class is planned to be a proxy class to avoid code
duplication and to reduce the amount of changes. Another option to
refactor the current HIPToolChain would be to use multiple
heritance but that leads to dreaded diamond class structure which
probably is not a great choice.
With the current plan, HIPToolChain is not going to have much code
to be shared with the derived classes - so far only a bit of the
“fat binary” construction code is in sight for sharing, so the
immediate gains for the effort seems small. However, The TC’s layout
is more logical and it may spark more HIP implementations, as well
as help refactoring when going forward.
Address space mapping
Translating HIP device code to valid SPIR-V binary requires tweaks on
Pointers without address space (AS) qualification in HIP programs are
considered “flat” pointers - they can point to function local,
__device__, __shared__ and __constant__ memory space dynamically,
which matches the idea of ‘generic’ pointers introduced in OpenCL
2.0. Therefore, the logical choice for the flat pointers is to map
them to generic pointers of SPIR-V’s OpenCL environment. HIPCL’s and
HIPLZ’s SPIR-V environment mandates that the kernel pointer parameters
must point to __global, __local or __constant memory (these are named
differently in SPIR-V; using OpenCL names as they are more
familiar). So HIP pointer parameters in the HIP kernel (__global__)
functions would be mapped to global pointers. Otherwise, HIP pointers
with AS qualifiers are mapped to SPIR-V equivalent, if suitable.
Now, there are significant differences between HIP’s __constant__ and
SPIR-V/OpenCL’s constant address space:
* In HIP, __constant__ globals can be altered on the host side with
the hipMemcpyToSymbol() API function. In the OpenCL’s host API you
cannot do this.
(Side-note: OpenCL host API does not have an equivalent method for
hipMemcpyToSymbol but HIPCL currently supports hipMemcpyToSymbol for
the global __global variables via Intel’s
clGetDeviceGlobalVariablePointerINTEL API extension, but we are
planning to inject shadow kernel commands that access the global
variables instead for portability.)
* In HIP flat pointers can point to __constant__ memory. In OpenCL
this is not the case with __generic pointers, which means __constant
pointers cannot be casted to __generic pointers and vice versa.
There are a couple ways to deal with constants:
* Map __constant__ to __global space in SPIR-V. That way we can
generate code that works and is simple to implement. Of course, we
lose the optimization/placing benefits of constant memory.
* Transform the code after clang codegen (by an LLVM pass) by
converting the __constant objects to kernel arguments. This covers
the hipMemcpyToSymbol() case. There is still the constant-to-generic
cast issue, so we would have to use the previous point as the
We plan to start by upstreaming the first option, and time permitting,
improve by implementing the second option.
The planned changes to Clang to achieve the aforementioned AS mapping
are as follows:
* Define address space mapping in the new, aforementioned
SPIRVTargetInfo to map CUDA address spaces (which the HIP reuses) to
do the mapping mentioned earlier. Default AS (0) used for the flat
pointers are mapped to the SPIR-V’s ‘generic’. We intend this
mapping being enabled when the language mode is HIP.
* Change SPIRABIInfo to coerce kernel AS-unqualified pointer arguments
to __global ones. Pointer arguments in regular device functions
receive the __generic AS qualifier via the address space mapping
defined in SPIRVTargetInfo in the above point.
HIP code expansion
There are features in HIP language which do not have direct
counterparts in SPIR-V’s OpenCL environment and those features need to
be rewritten before translation to SPIR-V (in the future, lowering to
SPIR-V machine code through the new BE). The non-exhaustive list of
features that need to be expanded includes:
* Dynamic shared memory allocation (DSM): It is an array which is
declared globally in LLVM IR and its actual size determined at
kernel launch. OpTypeRuntimeArray in SPIR-V is the closest thing to
model this object, alas, it requires shader capability.
* abort() builtin: No counterpart in SPIR-V/OpenCL.
(Note: the behavior is not well specified in the HIP spec
either. Assuming it terminates the whole grid if any work item
reaches it. AMD’s abort definition calls __builtin_trap).
* printf(): OpenCL’s printf takes the format string as ‘__constant__
char*’ while in HIP the format string does not have to reside in
* Texture objects. These roughly correspond to image and sampler
objects of OpenCL combined. Also, texture objects carry more
information for the texture functions than image+sampler objects do.
* Texture references. Same as above but these are program global
objects. In OpenCL, image objects cannot reside in the program
HIPCL/-LZ’s solution to the DSM allocation case is that the runtime
allocates a shared buffer and passes it to the kernel as an additional
argument (which is hidden from the user). The device code is modified
so that the DSM object is replaced with the new kernel
argument. Various other cases listed will be handled similarly:
* For the printf case we tentatively replace the printf calls with a
function that packs their arguments to an additional buffer passed
as additional kernel argument and do the printing on the host side.
* Texture objects will be tentatively split to image and sampler
objects and possibly auxiliary struct to carry texture
settings. This means at least that the kernel parameter listing
needs to be rewritten for the Texture objects.
* For the texture reference we tentatively planned replacing the
global texture objects also with a number of additional kernel
For this and other HIP features we need to apply LLVM IR passes to
perform modifications on the device code. In many cases the passes
should be run when the device code (as LLVM bitcode) is fully
linked. This is simply achieved as the HIP offload mechanism already
emits device code as LLVM bitcode in RDC mode (-fgpu-rdc), so during
linking we do receive the device code as LLVM bitcode where to apply
these expansions with full view of the device code.
The current plan for implementing this is to make the HIPSPVToolChain
to build a linker that uses llvm-link for linking device code, opt for
running the IR passes needed and the external llvm-spirv tool (llc in
the future when the SPIR-V BE lands) for emitting the SPIR-V
binary. We load the passes from a path the user provides
via --hip-link-pass-path (name pending) or automatically from HIP
runtime’s installation location by using the search logic provided by
There is interest in upstreaming the HIPCL/-LZ passes from the
HIPCL/-LZ repositories in the future for reduced maintenance
burden. However, we are not attempting to upstream them initially, as
they are not yet completed and are subject to rapid changes. Question
is: Where should the passes eventually be put in within the LLVM
project tree? Could it be OK to add a new directory under Clang for
tool chain passes?
We will provide llvm-lit tests for our toolchain in the upstream. We
also want to add tests to make sure clang who will run the HIPCL/-LZ
runtime passes get run at device code link time. For this we need a
dummy pass plugin that the clang loads during the test.
When the new LLVM SPIR-V BE work lands on LLVM, we will add SPIR-V
assembly checks that are relevant for HIPSPV.
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