[llvm-dev] exploring possibilities for unifying ThinLTO and FullLTO frontend + initial optimization pipeline
Mehdi AMINI via llvm-dev
llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Apr 10 17:25:02 PDT 2018
It is non trivial to recompute summaries (which is why we have summaries in
the bitcode in the first place by the way), because bitcode is expensive to
I think shipping two different variant of the bitcode, one with and one
without summaries isn't providing much benefit while complicating the flow.
We could achieve what you're looking for by revisiting the flow a little.
I would try to consider if we can:
1) always generate summaries.
2) Use the same compile-phase optimization pipeline for ThinLTO and LTO.
3) Decide at link time if you want to do FullLTO or ThinLTO.
We haven't got this route 2 years ago because during the bringup we didn't
want to affect FullLTO in any way, but it may make sense now to have `clang
-flto=thin` and `clang -flto=full` be identical and change the linker
plugins to operate either in full-LTO mode or in ThinLTO mode but not
differentiate based on the availability of the summaries.
A possible behavior could be:
# The -flto flag in the compile phase does not change the produced bitcode
but for a flag that record the preference in the bitcode (FullLTO vs
$ clang -c -flto=thin a.cpp
$ clang -c -flto=full b.cpp
$ clang -c -flto=full c.cpp
# At link time the behavior depends on the -flto flag passed in.
# No flag: use the compile-phase preference, perform ThinLTO on a.o and
FullLTO on b.o/c.o, but allow ThinLTO import between the LTO group and the
$ clang a.o b.o c.o
# Forces full LTO, merges all the objects, no cross module importing will
clang a.o b.o c.o -flto=full
# Forces ThinLTO for all objects, FullLTO won't happen, no objects will be
clang a.o b.o c.o -flto=thin
Le mar. 10 avr. 2018 à 15:51, via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> a
> Hi David,
> Thank you so much for your reply!
> >> You're dealing with a situation where you are shipped BC files offline
> and then do one, or multiple builds with these BC files?
> Yes, that’s exactly the case.
> >> If the scenario was more like a naive build: Multiple BC files
> generated on a single (multi-core/threaded) machine (but some Thin, some
> >> Full) & then fed to the linker, I would wonder if it'd be relatively
> cheap for the LTO step to support this by computing summaries for
> >> FullLTO files on the fly (without a separate tool/writing the summary
> to disk, etc).
> I think so. My understanding that for FullLTO files, it’s possible to
> perform name anonymous globals pass and compute summaries on the fly, which
> should allow to perform ThinLTO at link phase.
> *From:* David Blaikie <dblaikie at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 10, 2018 7:38 AM
> *To:* Romanova, Katya <katya.romanova at sony.com>; Teresa Johnson <
> tejohnson at google.com>
> *Cc:* llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
> *Subject:* Re: [llvm-dev] exploring possibilities for unifying ThinLTO
> and FullLTO frontend + initial optimization pipeline
> Hi Katya,
> [+Teresa since this is about ThinLTO & she's the owner there]
> I'm not sure how other folks feel, but terminologically I'm not sure I
> think of these as different formats (for example you mention the idea of
> stripping the summaries from ThinLTO BC files to then feed them in as
> FullLTO files - I would imagine it'd be reasonable to modify/fix/improve
> the linker integration to have it (perhaps optionally) /ignore/ the
> summaries, or use the summaries but in a non-siloed way (so that there's
> not that optimization boundary between ThinLTO and FullLTO))
> You're dealing with a situation where you are shipped BC files offline and
> then do one, or multiple builds with these BC files?
> If the scenario was more like a naive build: Multiple BC files generated
> on a single (multi-core/threaded) machine (but some Thin, some Full) & then
> fed to the linker, I would wonder if it'd be relatively cheap for the LTO
> step to support this by computing summaries for FullLTO files on the fly
> (without a separate tool/writing the summary to disk, etc). Though I
> suppose that'd produce a pretty wildly different behavior in the link when
> just a single ThinLTO BC file was added to an otherwise FullLTO build.
> Anyway - just some (admittedly fairly uninformed) thoughts. I'm sure
> Teresa has more informed ideas about how this might all look.
> On Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 12:20 PM via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>
> I am exploring the possibility of unifying the BC file generation phase
> for ThinLTO and FullLTO. Our third party library providers prefer to give
> us only one version of the BC archives, rather than test and ship both Thin
> and Full LTO BC archives. We want to find a way to allow our users to pick
> either Thin or Full LTO, while having only one “unified” version of the BC
> Note, I am not necessarily proposing to do this work in the upstream
> compiler. If there is no interest from other companies, we might have to
> keep this as a private patch for Sony.
> One of the ideas (not my preference) is to mix and match files in the Thin
> and Full BC formats. I'm not sure how well the "mix and match" scenario
> works in general. I was wondering if Apple or Google are doing this for
> I wrote a toy example, compiled one group of files with ThinLTO and the
> rest with FullLTO, linked them with gold. I saw that irrespective of
> whether the Thin or Full LTO option was used at the link step, files are
> optimized within the Thin group and within the Full group separately, but
> they don't know about the files in the other group (which makes sense).
> Basically, the border between Thin and Full LTO bitcode files created an
> artificial "barrier" which prevented cross-border optimization.
> Obviously, I am not too fond of this idea. Even if mixing and matching
> ThinLTO and FullLTO bitcode files will work “as is”, I suspect we will see
> a non-trivial runtime performance degradation because of the
> "ThinLTO"/"FullLTO" border. Are you aware of any potential problems with
> this solution, other than performance?
> Another, hopefully, better idea is to introduce a "unified" BC format,
> which could either be FullLTO, ThinLTO, or neither (e.g., something in
> If the user chooses FullLTO at the link step, but some of the files are in
> the Thin BC format – the linker will call a special LTO API to convert
> these files to the Full LTO BC format (i.e., stripping the module summary
> section + potentially do some additional optimizations from the FullLTO
> pass manager pipeline).
> If the user chooses ThinLTO at the link step, but some of the files are in
> the Full BC format – the linker will call an LTO API to convert these files
> to the Thin LTO bitcode format (by regenerating the module summary section
> dynamically for the Full LTO bitcode files).
> I think the most reasonable idea for the unification of the Thin and Full
> LTO compilation pipelines is to use Full LTO as the “unified” BC format. If
> the user requests FullLTO – no additional work is needed, the linker will
> perform FullLTO as usual. If the user request ThinLTO, the linker will call
> an API to regenerate the module summary section for all the files in the
> FullLTO format and perform ThinLTO as usual.
> In reality I suspect things will be much more complicated. The pipelines
> for the Thin and Full LTO compilation phases are quite different. ThinLTO
> can afford to do much more optimization in the linking phase (since it has
> parallel backends & smaller IR compared to FullLTO), while for FullLTO we
> are forced to move some optimizations from linking to the compilation phase.
> So, if we pick FullLTO as our unified format, we would increase the build
> time for ThinLTO (we will be doing the FullLTO initial optimization
> pipeline in the compile phase, which is more than what ThinLTO is currently
> doing, but the pipeline of the optimizations in the backend will stay the
> same). It’s not clear what will happen with the runtime performance: we
> might improve it (because we repeat some of the optimizations several
> times), or we might make it worse (because we might do an optimization in
> the early compilation phase, potentially preventing more aggressive
> optimization later). What are your expectations? Will this approach work in
> general? If so, what do you think will happen with the runtime performance?
> I also noticed that the pass manager pipeline is different for
> ThinLTO+Sample PGO (use profile case). This might create some additional
> complications for unification of Thin and FullLTO BC generation phase too,
> but it’s too small detail to worry about right now. I’m more interested in
> choosing a right general direction for solving this problem now.
> Please share your thoughts!
> Thank you!
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