[llvm-dev] Understanding targets

Simon Atanasyan via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Thu Nov 14 01:45:48 PST 2019


1. Here by architecture I mean instruction set architecture (ISA) [1].
In extremely simplified form ISA can be considered a set of machine
instructions which can be handled by CPU.

2. Intel, ARM, MIPS etc design various ISAs. Intel designs and
manufactures CPUs. AMD uses almost the same instruction set as Intel
but uses different "internal" design of CPUs and manufactures them by
itself too. ARM, MIPS and some other companies only design CPUs. ARM
and MIPS processors are manufactured by other companies like Mediatek
or Qualcomm for example. Sometimes chipmakers produce CPU with
"canonical" design. Sometimes they add extensions. New instructions
for example.

2. Sometimes CPU name almost directly points to supported ISA. It's
true for Intel CPUs. For ARM and MIPS it's more difficult. There no
ISA named "Qualcomm Snapdragon 820" and you have to look as
documentation to get know that this chip supports ARMv8 ISA. MIPS
R3000 [2] implements MIPS I ISA [3].

3. RISC is an abbreviation for "reduced instruction set computer" [4].
It covers a large set of ISAs designed by different companies. MIPS in
particular. RISC-V (supported by LLVM) is an open-source hardware
instruction set architecture based on "reduced instruction set
computer" principles [5]. MIPS 1 is a RISC ISA, RISC-V is a RISC ISA
too. But MIPS 1 is not equal to RISC-V as well as MIPS 1 is not equal

4. Some ISA defines floating point instructions, some other does not
do that. CPU might support most part of ISA but does not support
floating point instructions. You need to refer CPU documentation. For
example, if your CPU supports MIPS32 R2 ISA (which defines FPU
instructions), but does not have FPU, you can specify that and request
emulation of FPU by the following Clang options: -mips32r2

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruction_set_architecture
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R3000
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIPS_architecture#MIPS_I
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced_instruction_set_computer
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RISC-V

On Thu, Nov 14, 2019 at 10:11 AM Gaier, Bjoern <Bjoern.Gaier at horiba.com> wrote:
> So the R3000 is a "MIPS CPU"? What does that actually mean? Is the architecture MIPS? Or the producer? When I go to Wikipedia I see MIPS as the designer, so I take it is like saying "Intel CPU" or "AMD CPU" but that does not tell me anything about the assembly instruction it uses, right?
> But then also I see as Design "RISC", as I understood it describes the assembly instructions? But why would I tell Clang to target "mips1" when the design of the R3000 is RISC? Why isn't RISCV correct then? Or RISC1 or so...
> Also how does that influence floating point arithmetic? I often heard that those are separated processors FPUs(?). So could it be, that there is an additional processor besides the processor I know about? Like R3000 + FPU? Wouldn't had Clang or any other compiler to know about such a construct or is that not the case?

Simon Atanasyan

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