[llvm-dev] [RFC] Introduce a new stepvector operation

Chris Tetreault via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Jan 20 13:32:39 PST 2021


   Thanks for writing this up. I'd just like to speak to some concerns I have regarding shufflevector. As many of us know, shufflevector takes two vectors and a constant vector of i32, and does stuff. The constant shuffle mask can be scalable or fixed width. The shuffle mask is supposed to be an arbitrary constant vector, however for scalable vectors only zeroinitializer or undef are accepted. There are reasonable technical reasons for this state of affairs, but it reveals an issue: we don't really handle constant scalable vectors very well. Surely there are other similar issues throughout the codebase, but this is one I struggle with regularly so it sticks out in my mind.

   However, we probably want to be able to use the stepvector in shufflevector. For instance, if we had a stepvector literal, then we could implement vector concatenation in terms of shufflevector:

%a_concat_b = shufflevector <4 x i16> %a, <4 x i16> %b, <8 x i32> stepvector

   In fact, a lot of useful shuffles can be implemented in terms of stepvector multiplied or added to some constants. Pulling from Eli's list in https://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-dev/2020-January/138762.html, I can see:

   %result = shufflevector <vscale x 4 x i32> %v1, <vscale x 4 x i32> %v2, SHUFFLE_NAME

   SHUFFLE_NAME can be one of the following (with examples of the equivalent <4 x i32> shuffles):
   concat - Concatenate the two operands (<0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7>) -> see above
   split_low - Return the low half of the first operand (<0, 1>) -> stepvector of type <vscale x n/2 x i32>
   split_high - Return the high half of the first operand (<2, 3>) -> (stepvector + splat(n/2)) of type <vscale x n/2 x i32>
   zip_low - Zip together the low halves of the two operands (<0, 4, 1, 5>)
   zip_high - Zip together the high halves of the two operands (<2, 6, 3, 7>)
   unzip_even - Unzip the even elements of the two operands (<0, 2, 4, 6>) (stepvector + stepvector) of type <vscale x n x i32>
   unzip_odd - unzip the odd elements of the two operands (<1, 3, 5, 7>) (stepvector + stepvector + splat(1)) of type <vscale x n x i32>

   Unfortunately, all of these cannot be done because shufflevector only supports scalable undef or zeroinitializer. In order to support these cases, we would need to extend shufflevector to support stepvector (for concat), and arbitrary constant expressions for the rest. Supporting stepvector might not be so hard with the current scheme: if the shuffle is scalable, and the mask is <0, 1, ..., n - 1>, then the input mask was a scalable stepvector. However, I think this illustrates my proposal: vector pattern literals. They could look like this in IR:

   <0, 1, ...> ; stepvector

   This is also more flexible, because it enables lots of other scalable vector literals:

   <7, 7, ...> ; splat(7) without writing that horrid insertelement/shufflevector thing
   <0, 2, ...> ; unzip_even mask
   <1, 3, ...> ; unzip_odd mask

   The implementation for shufflevector would be straightforward because the mask for the two currently supported cases of zeroinitializer and undef (<0, 0, ...> <=> zeroinitializer and <undef, undef, ...> <=> undef) already follow the proposed scheme. This could also have the side benefits of making some IR easier to read (for very wide vectors, the fixed width stepvector could be more than 80 columns wide), and might result in efficiency gains in the compiler (don't need to walk a very wide vector to see if it is a stepvector; can just canonicalize <0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, ..., 2048> once to ConstantPatternVector(0, 1)).

   Sorry for rambling. I think I've personally come around to the idea that a constant would be good. However, a more flexible constant would be best if we're going to use it to add a bunch of special cases to the codebase. Most special cases for scalable undef and zeroinitializer can be replaced with equivalent code that also handles vector pattern literals.

   Christopher Tetreault

From: David Sherwood <David.Sherwood at arm.com>
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 8:04 AM
To: llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Cc: Sander De Smalen <Sander.DeSmalen at arm.com>; Paul Walker <Paul.Walker at arm.com>; Chris Tetreault <ctetreau at quicinc.com>
Subject: [EXT] [RFC] Introduce a new stepvector operation


As part of adding support for scalable vectorization we need to update llvm::InnerLoopVectorizer::getStepVector for scalable vectors. Currently this just returns a constant vector with the sequence <0, 1, 2, 3, ..>, however this assumes we are using fixed length vectors. For scalable vectors we need an operation that does the same thing, but without having to explicitly initalise all the elements. Any new stepvector operation we provide could also be used for fixed length vectors too if desired.

I believe the desirable properties of the operation should be:

1. The operation requires no arguments and simply returns a vector with the numeric sequence <0, 1, 2, ...>

2. For types with a large number of elements, e.g. <vscale x 32 x i8> (vscale = 16), there is the possibility of the sequence value exceeding the limit of the type midway through the vector. In such cases we define the operation such that those elements are undefined or poison values.

A simple 'stepvector' operation (however we choose to implement it) with the properties described above can then be used together with additional 'mul' and 'add' instructions to create any arbitrary linear sequence, i.e. <0, 2, 4, 6, ...> or <1, 3, 5, 7, ...>

The first possible implementation with the properties as described above involves using a new llvm.stepvector() intrinsic with no arguments that simply returns a vector sequence <0, 1, 2, ...> of the requested type, i.e.

  declare <vscale x 4 x i32> @llvm.stepvector.nxv4i32()

Introducing a new intrinsic is simple to implement and we can easily come up with an appropriate cost model - cheap for fixed width vectors or scalable vectors using SVE where we have the 'index' instruction.

However, since such an intrinsic is effectively returning a constant vector sequence we could instead implement it using a new 'stepvector' constant in a similar way to how 'zeroinitializer' works. This would be done using a new ConstantStepVector class similar to ConstantAggregateZero and would return a vector with the numeric sequence <0, 1, 2, ...>. The main advantages of using a constant over an intrinsic are:

1. It is easy to write tests in LLVM IR since 'stepvector' would work in the same way as 'zeroinitializer', i.e. "%1 = add <4 x i32> %0, stepvector"

2. Creation of the node is easy with the simple interface:

  static Constant *ConstantStepVector::get(Type Ty)

3. It is easy to do optimisations, e.g. CSE, and pattern matching in IR.

The main disadvantages are:

1. A scalable constant cannot be represented as well in the .data section, although we can still create a constant based on the architectural maximum for vscale. It's worth pointing out that this problem also exists for zeroinitializer too - we're just more likely to have cheap instructions to do the job.

2. Harder to fit into the cost model due to it being a constant.

3. There are some concerns that we might then have to support stepvector as a constant in the shufflevector operation too and that it should be restricted to zeroinitializer only.

Any thoughts or feedback you have would be much appreciated!

Kind Regards,

David Sherwood.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-dev/attachments/20210120/17632c6e/attachment.html>

More information about the llvm-dev mailing list