[llvm-dev] RFC: Extending LV to vectorize outerloops

Zaks, Ayal via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Sep 21 10:50:34 PDT 2016

Proposal for extending the Loop Vectorizer to handle Outer Loops




We propose to extend the innermost Loop Vectorizer to also handle outerloops (cf.[1]). Our aim is to best leverage the efforts already invested in the existing innermost Loop Vectorizer rather than introduce a separate pass dedicated to outerloop vectorization. This proposal will support explicit vector programming of loops and functions [2]. It also facilitates evaluating multiple vectorization candidates, including both outer and innermost loops, to choose the most profitable ones.

The current Loop Vectorizer is confined to handle only innermost loops. In order to extend it to also handle outerloops the following design decisions need to be reworked:

1.  The resulting vectorized loop is inherently designed to contain a *single* basic block. This poses an issue today, as innermost loops may benefit from retaining some internal branches when vectorized. For outerloops this clearly cannot hold - the resulting vectorized loop will contain more than a single basic block as it will contain innerloops.

2.  There is inherently a single vectorization candidate with a single dimension of optimization - namely the Vectorization Factor and/or Unrolling Factor of the innermost loop. When dealing with outerloops it is important to evaluate multiple vectorization candidates - including both outer and inner loops, and their respective VF/UF's.

The current Loop Vectorizer works in the following three main steps:

1.  Legal Step: check if loop can be legally vectorized; encode constraints and artifacts if so.

2.  Cost Step: compute the relative cost of vectorizing it along possible vectorization and unroll factors.

3.  Transform Step: vectorize the loop according to best vectorization and unroll factors.

This design has some implications:

1.  Cost Step tries to predict what the vectorized loop will look like and how much it will cost, independently of what the Transform Step will eventually do. It's hard to keep the two in sync, enforcing  the comment placed at the beginning of Transform Step:
// Notice: any optimization or new instruction that go
// into the code below should be also be implemented in
// the cost-model.

2.  Legal Step does more than check for vectorizability; e.g., it records auxiliary artifacts such as collectLoopUniforms() and InterleaveInfo.

3.  Transform Step first populates the single basic block of the vectorized loop and later revisits scalarized instructions to predicate them one by one, as needed.

Proposal: introduce the Vectorization Plan as an explicit model of a vectorization candidate and update the overall flow:

1.  Legal Step: check if loop can be legally vectorized, encode constraints by initiating Vectorization Plan(s) if so.

2.  Plan Step:

a.  Build initial vectorization plans complying with all legal constraints.

b.  Optimize vectorization plans.

3.  Cost Step: compute the relative cost of each plan. This step can be applied repeatedly by Plan Optimize Step 2.b.

4.  Transform Step: materialize the best plan. Note that only this step modifies the IR, as in the current Loop Vectorizer.

The Vectorization Plan is a recipe describing the vectorization candidate, including for instance its internal control-flow. It serves for both estimating the cost and for performing the translation, and facilitates dealing with multiple vectorization candidates. One can compare with LLVM's existing SLP vectorizer, where TSLP [3] adds step 2.b.

As the scope of vectorization grows from innermost to outer loops, so do the uncertainty and complexity of each step. One way to mitigate the shortcomings of the Legal and Cost steps is to rely on programmers to indicate which loops can and/or should be vectorized. This is implicit for certain loops in data-parallel languages such as OpenCL [4,5] and explicit in others such as OpenMP [6]. This proposal to extend the Loop Vectorizer to outer loops supports and raises the importance of explicit vectorization beyond the current capabilities of Clang and LLVM. Namely, from currently forcing the vectorization of innermost loops according to prescribed width and/or interleaving count, to supporting OpenMP's "#pragma omp simd" construct and associated clauses, including our earlier proposal for vectorizing across function boundaries [2].

Comments on this overall approach are welcome. The first patches we're working on are designed to have the innermost Loop Vectorizer explicitly model the control flow of its vectorized loop. More will be presented in our technical talk at the upcoming LLVM Developers' Meeting.



[1] "Outer-loop vectorization: revisited for short SIMD architectures", Dorit Nuzman and Ayal Zaks, PACT 2008.

[2] "Proposal for function vectorization and loop vectorization with function calls", Xinmin Tian, [cfe-dev] March 2, 2016 (http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/cfe-dev/2016-March/047732.html. See also https://reviews.llvm.org/D22792).

[3] "Throttling Automatic Vectorization: When Less is More", Vasileios Porpodas and Tim Jones, PACT 2015 and LLVM Developers' Meeting 2015.

[4] "Intel OpenCL SDK Vectorizer", Nadav Rotem, LLVM Developers' Meeting 2011.

[5] "Automatic SIMD Vectorization of SSA-based Control Flow Graphs", Ralf Karrenberg, Springer 2015. See also "Improving Performance of OpenCL on CPUs", LLVM Developers' Meeting 2012.

[6] "Compiling C/C++ SIMD Extensions for Function and Loop Vectorization on Multicore-SIMD Processors", Xinmin Tian and Hideki Saito et al., IPDPSW 2012.
Intel Israel (74) Limited

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