[LLVMdev] PTX target for LLVM?

Torvald Riegel torvald at se.inf.tu-dresden.de
Thu Apr 1 04:30:46 PDT 2010

On Sunday 28 March 2010 16:39:44 llvmdev at erichocean.oib.com wrote:
> To the list:
>  Tons of LLVM research is being done that is damn near worthless to anyone
>  but the person who did it because the team doesn't publish supporting code
>  or even describe at a high level description of the algorithms they're
>  using. And the excuse is always, ALWAYS the same: "we need to clean up the
>  code before we release it."

I certainly agree that publishing code is A Good Thing and will help scientific 
progress, but we don't live in an ideal world. There are perfectly valid 
reasons to publish code late or even never.

>  No! Just put a repository up (or make a tarball)! This is open source.
>  Code is never perfect, so just put it out there with the same BSD-style
>  license as LLVM. Every programmer can read code, even bad code, especially
>  when there's a research paper or thesis to go along with it. Every delay
>  in releasing code just slows down the progress of the the world. That's
>  the only "benefit": slowing the progress of other researchers. If the code
>  is needed to replicate your research, for the love of Turing *publish it
>  alongside the research*.

It's not that easy, unfortunately. To get funding for research, publications 
still count more than whether your code is used by others or not. Code (re)use 
is also often not properly cited, nor tracked and valued as "contributions" as 
much as it should be. Some communities are better than others in this, but in 
general you cannot expect groups from academia to risk their future funding. 
These decisions always depend on the community you are in, how the other 
researchers in your community behave, etc.

Also, there are other practical reasons for publishing later (or for 
publishing code that is polished and idiot-proof). For example, some people 
don't understand the difference between a code drop and a release that is 
supposed to work in every case. Some treat any piece of code that they can get 
as final release, never update even if you publish new versions, and report 
results based on this (ie, there might be a risk it will be (accidentally) 
misused). You might get more (support) questions due to instable code than you 
can handle, and you don't want people to loose interest because you seem to be 

>  Look, the LLVM project has already set a great example with its permissive
>  BSD license and all LLVM development is done out in the open; I see (and
>  read) every commit. The rest of us need to get with the program and follow
>  suit. If you publish research built on top of LLVM, please,*please*,
>  PLEASE at least make a tarball of the source code available alongside the
>  research so the rest of us can view it, build on it, and improve it.
>  Thanks!
>  Best, Erich Ocean
>  P.s. I too would like access to a PTX backend for LLVM. :-)

Perhaps you should just have asked for access, if that was your intention.


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