[llvm-dev] [RFC] Introducing a byte type to LLVM

Juneyoung Lee via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Jun 23 01:36:36 PDT 2021

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 2:27 PM Nicolai Hähnle <nhaehnle at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 22, 2021 at 11:59 AM Ralf Jung via llvm-dev <
> llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> I don't think it makes sense for LLVM to adopt an explicit "exposed" flag
>> in its
>> semantics. Reasoning based on non-determinism works fine, and has the
>> advantage
>> of keeping ptr-to-int casts a pure, side-effect-free operation. This is
>> the
>> model we explored in <
>> https://people.mpi-sws.org/~jung/twinsem/twinsem.pdf>, and
>> we were able to show quite a few of LLVM's standard optimizations correct
>> formally. Some changes are still needed as you noted, but those changes
>> will be
>> required anyway even if LLVM were to adopt PNVI-ae:
>> - No removal of ptr-int-ptr roundtrips.
>> (https://bugs.llvm.org/show_bug.cgi?id=34548)
>> - No GVN replacement of pointer-typed values.
>> (https://bugs.llvm.org/show_bug.cgi?id=35229)
> I've read this paper now, and it makes good sense to me as something to
> adopt in LLVM.
> I do have one question about a point that doesn't seem sufficiently
> justified, though. In the semantics of the paper,
> store-pointer-then-load-as-integer results in poison. This seems to be the
> root cause for being forced to introduce a "byte" type for correctness, but
> it is only really justified by an optimization that eliminates a store that
> writes back a previously loaded value. That optimization doesn't seem all
> that important (but feel free to point out why it is...), while introducing
> a "byte" type is a massive change. On the face of it, that doesn't seem
> like a good trade-off to me.
> Has the alternative of allowing type punning through memory at the cost of
> removing that optimization been studied sufficiently elsewhere?

The transformation is analogous to removing memcpy-like code with the same
dst and src.
Such code might not be written by humans frequently, but I believe C++'s
template instantiation or optimizations like inlining can expose such a


> Cheers,
> Nicolai
> --
> Lerne, wie die Welt wirklich ist,
> aber vergiss niemals, wie sie sein sollte.


Juneyoung Lee
Software Foundation Lab, Seoul National University
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