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

Ralf Jung via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Thu Jun 24 01:26:04 PDT 2021

Hi Jeroen,

> My interpretation (well not just mine, we did have discussions about this in our group)
> wrt to restrict handling, is that the use of decrypt/encrypt
> triggers undefined behavior.

Yes, that is exactly what I am pushing back against. :)  I cannot see a reading 
of the standard where this is UB.  I also don't think it is the intention of the 
standard to make this UB.  Note that the line I showed could be very far away 
from the 'restrict' annotation. Basically if this is UB then a 'restrict' 
pointer cannot be passed to other functions unless we know exactly that they do 
not do ptr-to-int casts.

> Now that we are going over the different pieces of the implementation and see how we can use
> them in a broader context, the situation is different: instead of just tracking
> the 'restrict/noalias' provenance, we now want to use that part of the infrastructure to
> track provenance in general. Because of that, it also makes sense to reconsider what 'policy'
> we want to use. In that context, mapping a 'int2ptr' to a 'add_provenance(int2ptr(%Decrypt), null)'
> indicating that it can point to anything makes sense, but is still orthogonal to the infrastructure.

That is not sufficient though. You also need to know that the provenance of the 
'restrict'ed pointer can now be acquired by other pointers created literally 
anywhere via int2ptr. *That* is what makes this so tricky, I think.

int foo(int *restrict x) {
   *x = 0;
   assert(*x == 0); // can be optimized to 'true'
   assert(*x == 0); // can *not* be optimized to 'true'

> For this particular example, it would also be nice if we could somehow indicate that the
> 'decrypt(encrypt(%P))' can only depend on %P. But that is another discussion.

It would be nice if one could express this in the surface language (C/Rust), but 
I don't think we should allow LLVM to infer this -- that would basically require 
tracking provenance through integers, which is not a good idea.
Put differently: as the various examples in this thread show, integers can 
easily acquire "provenance" of other values simply by comparing them for 
equality -- so in a sense, after "x == y" evaluates to true, now 'x' also has 
the "provenance" of 'y'. I don't think we want obscure effects like this in the 
semantics of the Abstract Machine. (I am not even convinced this can be done 
So then what we are left with are those transformations that are correct without 
extra support from the abstract machine. And since these dependencies can 
entirely disappear from the source code through optimizations like GVN replacing 
'x' by 'y', there are strong limits to what can be done here.

Kind regards,

> Greetings,
> Jeroen
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Ralf Jung <jung at mpi-sws.org>
>> Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2021 09:02
>> To: Jeroen Dobbelaere <dobbel at synopsys.com>; Juneyoung Lee
>> <juneyoung.lee at sf.snu.ac.kr>; Nicolai Hähnle <nhaehnle at gmail.com>; llvm-
>> dev at lists.llvm.org
>> Subject: Re: [llvm-dev] [RFC] Introducing a byte type to LLVM
>> Hi again Jeroen,
>>>> However, I am a bit worried about what happens when we eventually add
>> proper
>>>> support for 'restrict'/'noalias': the only models I know for that one
>> actually
>>>> make 'ptrtoint' have side-effects on the memory state (similar to setting
>> the
>>>> 'exposed' flag in the C provenance TS). I can't (currently) demonstrate
>> that
>>> For the 'c standard', it is undefined behavior to convert a restrict pointer
>> to
>>> an integer and back to a pointer type.
>>> (At least, that is my interpretation of n2573 para 3:
>>>      Note that "based" is defined only for expressions with pointer types.
>>> )
>> After sleeping over it, I think I want to push back against this
>> interpretation
>> a bit more strongly. Consider a program snippet like
>> int *out = (int*) decrypt(encrypt( (uintptr_t)in  ));
>> It doesn't matter what "encrypt" and "decrypt" do, as long as they are
>> inverses
>> of each other.
>> "out" is definitely of pointer type. And by the dependency-based definition of
>> the standard, it is the case that modifying "in" to point elsewhere would also
>> make "out" point elsewhere. Thus "out" is 'based on' "in". And hence it is
>> okay
>> to use "out" to access the object "in" points to, even in the presence of
>> 'restrict'.
>> Kind regards,
>> Ralf
>>> For the full restrict patches, we do not track restrict provenance across a
>>> ptr2int, except for the 'int2ptr(ptr2int %P)' (which we do, as llvm
>> sometimes
>>> introduced these pairs; not sure if this is still valid).
>>> Greetings,
>>> Jeroen Dobbelaere
>>>> this is *required*, but I also don't know an alternative. So if this
>> remains
>>>> the
>>>> case, and if we say "load i64" performs a ptrtoint when needed, then that
>>>> would
>>>> mean we could not do dead load elimination any more as that would remove
>> the
>>>> ptrtoint side-effect.
>>>> There also is the somewhat conceptual concern that LLVM ought to have a
>> type
>>>> that can loslessly hold all kinds of data that exist in LLVM. Currently,
>> that
>>>> is
>>>> not the case -- 'iN' cannot hold data with provenance.
>>>> Kind regards,
>>>> Ralf
>> --
>> Website: https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://people.mpi-
>> sws.org/*jung/__;fg!!A4F2R9G_pg!OxsbBsUqT_ORztvmiL8KMQVNFdMPVYluQbPvIfVWl8KHjQ
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Website: https://people.mpi-sws.org/~jung/

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