[llvm-dev] [RFC][SVE] Supporting SIMD instruction sets with variable vector lengths

Graham Hunter via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Thu Jun 7 09:10:51 PDT 2018


> On 6 Jun 2018, at 17:36, David A. Greene <dag at cray.com> wrote:
> Graham Hunter via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> writes:
>>> Ok, now I understand what you're getting at.  A ConstantExpr would
>>> encapsulate this computation.  We alreay have "non-static-constant"
>>> values for ConstantExpr like sizeof and offsetof.  I would see
>>> VScaleConstant in that same tradition.  In your struct example,
>>> getSizeExpressionInBits would return:
>>> add(mul(256, vscale), 64)
>>> Does that satisfy your needs?
>> Ah, I think the use of 'expression' in the name definitely confuses the issue then. This
>> isn't for expressing the size in IR, where you would indeed just multiply by vscale and
>> add any fixed-length size.
> Ok, thanks for clarifying.  The use of "expression" is confusing.
>> This is for the analysis code around the IR -- lots of code asks for the size of a Type in
>> bits to determine what it can do to a Value with that type. Some of them are specific to
>> scalar Types, like determining whether a sign/zero extend is needed. Others would
>> apply to vector types (including scalable vectors), such as checking whether two
>> Types have the exact same size so that a bitcast can be used instead of a more
>> expensive operation like copying to memory and back to convert.
> If this method returns two integers, how does LLVM interpret the
> comparison?  If the return value is { <unscaled>, <scaled> } then how
> do, say { 1024, 0 } and { 0, 128 } compare?  Doesn't it depend on the
> vscale?  They could be the same size or not, depending on the target
> characteristics.

I did have a paragraph on that in the RFC, but perhaps a list would be
a better format (assuming X,Y,etc are non-zero):

{ X, 0 } <cmp> { Y, 0 }: Normal unscaled comparison.

{ 0, X } <cmp> { 0, Y }: Normal comparison within a function, or across
                         functions that inherit vector length. Cannot be
                         compared across non-inheriting functions.

{ X, 0 } > { 0, Y }: Cannot return true.

{ X, 0 } = { 0, Y }: Cannot return true.

{ X, 0 } < { 0, Y }: Can return true.

{ Xu, Xs } <cmp> { Yu, Ys }: Gets complicated, need to subtract common
                             terms and try the above comparisons; it
                             may not be possible to get a good answer.

I don't know if we need a 'maybe' result for cases comparing scaled
vs. unscaled; I believe the gcc implementation of SVE allows for such
results, but that supports a generic polynomial length representation.

I think in code, we'd have an inline function to deal with the first case
and an likely-not-taken call to a separate function to handle all the
scalable cases.

> Are bitcasts between scaled types and non-scaled types disallowed?  I
> could certainly see an argument for disallowing it.  I could argue that
> for bitcasting purposes that the unscaled and scaled parts would have to
> exactly match in order to do a legal bitcast.  Is that the intent?

I would propose disallowing bitcasts, but allowing extracting a subvector
if the minimum number of scaled bits matches the number of unscaled bits.

>>> Is there anything about vscale or a scalable vector that requires a
>>> minimum bit width?  For example, is this legal?
>>> <scalable 1 x double>
>>> I know it won't map to an SVE type.  I'm simply curious because
>>> traditionally Cray machines defined vectors in terms of
>>> machine-dependent "maxvl" with an element type, so with the above vscale
>>> would == maxvl.  Not that we make any such things anymore.  But maybe
>>> someone else does?
>> That's legal in IR, yes, and we believe it should be usable to represent the vectors for
>> RISC-V's 'V' extension. The main problem there is that they have a dynamic vector
>> length within the loop so that they can perform the last iterations of a loop within vector
>> registers when there's less than a full register worth of data remaining. SVE uses
>> predication (masking) to achieve the same effect.
>> For the 'V' extension, vscale would indeed correspond to 'maxvl', and I'm hoping that a
>> 'setvl' intrinsic that provides a predicate will avoid the need for modelling a change in
>> dynamic vector length -- reducing the vector length is effectively equivalent to an implied
>> predicate on all operations. This avoids needing to add a token operand to all existing
>> instructions that work on vector types.
> Right.  In that way the RISC V method is very much like what the old
> Cray machines did with the Vector Length register.
> So in LLVM IR you would have "setvl" return a predicate and then apply
> that predicate to operations using the current select method?  How does
> instruction selection map that back onto a simple setvl + unpredicated
> vector instructions?
> For conditional code both vector length and masking must be taken into
> account.  If "setvl" returns a predicate then that predicate would have
> to be combined in some way with the conditional predicate (typically via
> an AND operation in an IR that directly supports predicates).  Since
> LLVM IR doesn't have predicates _per_se_, would it turn into nested
> selects or something?  Untangling that in instruction selection seems
> difficult but perhaps I'm missing something.

My idea is for the RISC-V backend to recognize when a setvl intrinsic has
been used, and replace the use of its value in AND operations with an
all-true value (with constant folding to remove unnecessary ANDs) then
replace any masked instructions (generally loads, stores, anything else
that might generate an exception or modify state that it shouldn't) with
target-specific nodes that understand the dynamic vlen.

This could be part of lowering, or maybe a separate IR pass, rather than ISel.
I *think* this will work, but if someone can come up with some IR where it
wouldn't work then please let me know (e.g. global-state-changing instructions
that could move out of blocks where one setvl predicate is used and into one
where another is used).

Unfortunately, I can't find a description of the instructions included in
the 'V' extension in the online manual (other than setvl or configuring
registers), so I can't tell if there's something I'm missing.


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