[Mesa-dev] Ideas on loop unrolling, loop examples, and my GSoC-blog

Connor Abbott cwabbott0 at gmail.com
Fri May 29 09:04:01 PDT 2015

On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 6:23 AM, Eero Tamminen
<eero.t.tamminen at intel.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> On 05/28/2015 10:19 PM, Thomas Helland wrote:
>> One more thing;
>> Is there a limit where the loop body gets so large that we
>> want to decide that "gah, this sucks, no point in unrolling this"?
>> I imagine as the loops get large there will be a case of
>> diminishing returns from the unrolling?
> I think only backend can say something to that.   You e.g. give backend
> unrolled and non-unrolled versions and backend decides which one is better
> (after applying additional optimizations)...

I don't really think it's going to be too good of an idea to do that,
mainly because it means you'd be duplicating a lot of work for the
normal vs. unrolled versions, and there might be some really large
loops where generating the unrolled version is going to kill your CPU
-- doing any amount of work that's proportional to the number of times
the loop runs, without any limit, seems like a recipe for disaster.

In GLSL IR, we've been fairly lax about figuring out when unrolling is
helpful and unhelpful -- we just have a simple "node count" plus a
threshold (as well as a few other heuristics). In NIR, we could
similarly have an instruction count plus a threshold and port over the
heuristics to whatever extent possible. We do have some logic for
figuring out if an array access is constant after unrolling, and it
seems like we'd want to keep that around. The next level of
sophistication, I guess, is to give the backend a callback to give an
estimation of the execution cost of certain operations. For example,
unless a negate/absolute value instruction is used by something that
can't handle the modifier, then on i965 the cost of those instructions
would be 0. I think that would get us most of the way there to
something accurate, without needing to do an undue amount of work (in
terms of CPU time and man-effort).


>         - Eero
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