[llvm-dev] [RFC] Being explicit in the cost model

Finkel, Hal J. via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Apr 29 11:20:39 PDT 2020

Hi, Sam,

Thanks for sending this out and I think that it's great that this is being worked on.

It looks like we currently have this:

  enum TargetCostKind {
    TCK_RecipThroughput, ///< Reciprocal throughput.
    TCK_Latency,         ///< The latency of instruction.
    TCK_CodeSize,        ///< Instruction code size.
    TCK_SizeAndLatency   ///< The weighted sum of size and latency.

Three of the four of these are measurable quantities, at least in an average sense, independent of their use in the optimizer. I think that's a good thing, in part because we can continue to create good tools to measure them. TCK_SizeAndLatency, however, is not like the others. Is there a way to set this value independent of all of its uses in the optimizer? I suspect that the answer is: no. Moreover, it's not just the use by a single transformation that matters, but use by all users in the pipeline. The only way to tune these costs is to run large test sets through the entire optimization pipeline.

While I understand that this reflects the current state of things, it seems less than ideal. There's no way that a single blended ratio of size and latency will be optimal for all potential users (inliner, unroller, PRE, etc.), or at least it seems very unlikely. The transformation also won't know what the right mixture is across all targets. If we really want to be able to tune these things, maintain stability as we evolve the optimizer, and understand what's going on, I think we'll want more flexibility in the system than this.

Also, the "size and latency" mixture is, as I recall, mostly measuring # of uops. Maybe we should understand how much it deviates from that and, if appropriate, call it that?

We might also consider a system allowing for per-pass TTI modifications of the costs returned by the model. a TCK_Blend, taking an explicit pass ID (and some discriminator code). This way a backend can return explicit heuristic costs for particular clients when there's really no other way to reason about the needed costs.

To your other questions: the vectorizers should certainly use recip throughput -- that's how they're designed. Targets do specifically return throughput costs for these separate from the costs used by the inliner. "size and latency" is the right default for the others (although, as I mention above, I think this might be better called TCK_MicroOps or similar). It is certainly a good idea to be explicit everywhere about what costs are being requested. Please do continue with that.


Hal Finkel
Lead, Compiler Technology and Programming Languages
Leadership Computing Facility
Argonne National Laboratory

From: llvm-dev <llvm-dev-bounces at lists.llvm.org> on behalf of Sam Parker via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 10:13 AM
To: llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>
Cc: nd <nd at arm.com>
Subject: [llvm-dev] [RFC] Being explicit in the cost model


I have been working in the TargetTransformInfo layer for the last few weeks with several ongoing goals:
> Remove ambiguity.
> Improve cost modelling performance, accuracy and utility.
> Help empower the backends.
> Reduce the surface area of the API.
> Reduce the dependencies between the layers - of which there are many!

My latest patch is an NFC to help address the issue of ambiguity, I have uploaded the patch here: https://reviews.llvm.org/D79002. It's a biggy, adding TargetCostKind as an argument to almost all the get*Cost methods. My hope is that, as well as clarity, it will allow some backends to re-use and correlate costs if they wish. It would also allow adding a hook to query the backend which cost kind is the most important to it, which could then be passed around.

But as the patch currently stands, even as an NFC, it could still lead users astray because nothing else is setup to differentiate and return a specific cost. I'd like to hear from the backend people to hear what kind of costs they were modelling for and how we should handle the 'default' behaviour. For instance, whether they're happy to return the same cost for all cost kinds, or whether a check should be performed first on the cost kind first and only return something specific if its the expected cost kind. There's also the issue of the value of default arguments - I've used RecipThroughput for the calls used by the vectorizers and SizeAndLatency for the rest, but I wonder if default values should be used at all.


Sam Parker

Compilation Tools Engineer | Arm

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