[llvm-dev] [RFC] Vector Predication
Philip Reames via llvm-dev
llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Feb 4 16:24:48 PST 2019
On 1/31/19 4:38 PM, Bruce Hoult wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 9:03 AM Philip Reames via llvm-dev
> <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> Question 1 - Why do we need separate mask and lengths? Can't the length be easily folded into the mask operand?
> RISC-V has both masks and an active vector length and the semantics
> are different.
> TLDR: Masked-off elements in the destination register retain their
> previous value, but elements past the active vector length are zeroed.
> I'll quote from the current version of the draft spec:
> 5.4. Active and Tail Element Definitions
> The elements within a vector instruction can be divided into four
> disjoint subsets.
> The prestart elements are those whose element index is less than the
> initial value in the vstart register. The prestart elements do not
> raise exceptions and do not update the destination vector register.
> The active elements during a vector instruction’s execution are the
> elements within the current vector length setting and where the
> current mask is enabled at that element position. The active elements
> can raise exceptions and update the destination vector register group.
> The inactive elements are the elements within the current vector
> length setting but where the current mask is disabled at that element
> position. The inactive elements do not raise exceptions and do not
> update the destination vector register.
> The tail elements during a vector instruction’s execution are the
> elements past the current vector length setting. The tail elements do
> not raise exceptions, but do zero the results in the destination
> vector register group.
> for element index x
> prestart = (0 <= x < vstart)
> active(x) = (vstart <= x < vl) && (unmasked || mask(x))
> inactive(x) = (vstart <= x < vl) && !(unmasked || mask(x))
> tail(x) = (vl <= x < VLMAX)
> All vector instructions place zeros in the tail elements of the
> destination vector register group. Some vector arithmetic instructions
> are not maskable, so have no inactive elements, but still zero the
> tail elements.
> Note: vstart is almost always zero, exists to support interruptable
> vector instructions. "The vstart CSR is writable by unprivileged code,
> but non-zero vstart values may cause vector instructions to run
> substantially slower on some implementations, so vstart should not be
> used by application programmers."
Thanks for sharing. Made for interesting reading.
I note two things in the context of the current proposal.
1. The zeroing behavior beyond vector length does not appear to be part
of the current proposal.
2. The vstart parameter complicates things and hasn't been discussed at
all in the context of the current proposal.
Putting these together, I don't think the current EVL proposal is
actually a good fit for this ISA specification. Or at least, is no
better a fit than the existing vector operations + selects structure.
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