Trace Register Allocation Policies: Compile-time vs. Performance Trade-offs

Trace Register Allocation Policies: Compile-time vs. Performance Trade-offs

Josef Eisl, Stefan Marr, Thomas Wuerthinger, Hanspeter Moessenboeck

21 June 2017

Register allocation has to be done by every compiler that targets a register machine, regardless of whether it aims for fast compilation or optimal code quality. State-of-the-art dynamic compilers often use global register allocation approaches such as linear scan. Recent results suggest that non-global trace-based register allocation approaches can compete with global approaches in terms of allocation quality. Instead of processing the whole compilation unit at once, a trace-based register allocator divides the problem into linear code segments, called traces. In this work, we present a register allocation framework that can exploit the additional flexibility of traces to select different allocation strategies based on the characteristics of a trace. This allows fine-grained control over the compile time vs. peak performance trade-off. Our framework features three allocation strategies, a linear-scan-based approach that achieves good code quality, a single-pass bottom-up strategy that aims for short allocation times, and an allocator for trivial traces. We present 6 allocation policies to decide which strategy to use for a given trace. The evaluation shows that this approach can reduce allocation time by 3-43% at a peak performance penalty of about 0-9% on average. For systems that do not mainly focus on peak performance, our approach allows adjusting the time spent for register allocation, and therefore the overall compilation timer, finding the optimal balance between compile time and peak performance according to an application’s requirements.


Venue : Conference on Languages, Compilers, Tools and Theory for Embedded Systems (LCTES 2017)