Pointer compression is atypical

Article: ARM Goes 64-bit
By: Paul A. Clayton (paaronclayton.delete@this.gmail.com), August 17, 2012 10:43 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Richard Cownie (tich.delete@this.pobox.com) on August 17, 2012 8:46 am wrote:
[snip]
> That seems plausible *if* you just take a big C or C++
> program and naively recompile it for 64bits with minimal
> changes to the source code. Because then suddenly all
> pointers change from 4byte with 4byte alignment, to 8byte
> with 8byte alignment (and in C++, any object with virtual
> methods gets an 8byte header with 8byte alignment, for the
> vtable pointer). If you haven't been careful, that makes
> many data structures 1.5x - 2x bigger, so then your cache
> miss rates go up, making it slower.

Getting software to be recompiled seems difficult enough. (I think it would be nice if C/C++ allowed the compiler to rearrange internal data structures for the sake of optimization--memory use or performance.)

> You can do better though, if you're prepared to tune your
> code carefully, e.g. storing only 40 bits for pointers, or
> shifting them 2-3 bit to squeeze into a 32bit field. If
> you optimize your critical data structures, the increase in
> data size can be kept to ~ 1.1x (rather than > 1.5x), and
> then the performance hit from the larger data structures is
> probably only 2% or so.

Without special support in the ISA, pointer compression will
cost some extra operations. (One could imagine an ISA that would perform partial loads for unaligned accesses--a bit like the early ARM processors except with sign or zero extension rather than rotation. This would make loading such pointers "free".) In addition, the programming language is not likely to support such easily. (With C++, one could presumably implement compressed pointers in much the same way one can implement smart pointers.)

> This all depends on what kind of app it is, of course - my
> experience is with a big EDA app, in C++, with 100s of
> different classes, most of which were at least 50% pointers,
> so keeping pointers small was a big deal.

A more likely scenario is combining fat pointers and compressed pointers, so one still has a 64-bit pointer but it includes some type (or other) metadata. (Some Java implementations do this. AArch64's optional ignoring of the 8 MSbits might be targeted to such uses.)

(I like pointer compression, but I am biased in favor of microoptimizations. Practicality seems to favor ordinary pointers in a flat memory space.)
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New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter08/14/12 12:04 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone08/14/12 12:44 AM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter08/14/12 01:04 AM
    MIPS MT-ASEPaul A. Clayton08/14/12 09:01 AM
      MONITOR/MWAITEduardoS08/14/12 10:08 AM
        MWAIT not specifically MTPaul A. Clayton08/14/12 10:36 AM
          MWAIT not specifically MTEduardoS08/15/12 03:16 PM
        MONITOR/MWAITanonymou508/14/12 11:07 AM
          MONITOR/MWAITEduardoS08/15/12 03:20 PM
      MIPS MT-ASErwessel08/14/12 10:14 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitSHK08/14/12 02:01 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 02:37 AM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRichard Cownie08/14/12 03:57 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 04:29 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone08/14/12 04:44 AM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 05:28 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 05:32 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS08/14/12 06:06 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone08/14/12 05:40 AM
            AArch64 select better than cmovPaul A. Clayton08/14/12 06:08 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 06:12 AM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone08/14/12 06:25 AM
                Predicated ld/store are usefulPaul A. Clayton08/14/12 06:48 AM
                  Predicated ld/store are usefulnone08/14/12 06:56 AM
                    Predicated ld/store are usefulanon08/14/12 07:07 AM
                    Predicated stores might not be that badPaul A. Clayton08/14/12 07:27 AM
                      Predicated stores might not be that badDavid Kanter08/15/12 01:14 AM
                        Predicated stores might not be that badMichael S08/15/12 11:41 AM
                        Predicated stores might not be that badR Byron08/17/12 04:09 AM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 06:54 AM
                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone08/14/12 07:04 AM
                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 07:43 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS08/14/12 06:07 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 06:20 AM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone08/14/12 06:29 AM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon08/14/12 07:00 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S08/14/12 03:43 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRichard Cownie08/14/12 06:53 AM
          OT: Conrad's "Youth"Richard Cownie08/14/12 07:20 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS08/14/12 06:04 AM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitmpx08/14/12 08:59 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitAntti-Ville Tuunainen08/14/12 09:16 AM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanonymou508/14/12 11:03 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitname9911/17/12 03:31 PM
            Microarchitecting a counter registerPaul A. Clayton11/17/12 07:37 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitbakaneko08/14/12 04:21 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitname9911/17/12 03:40 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/17/12 04:52 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDoug S11/17/12 05:48 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitbakaneko11/18/12 05:40 PM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco11/19/12 07:59 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/19/12 08:23 AM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco11/19/12 09:31 AM
                Downloading µarch-specific binaries?Paul A. Clayton11/19/12 11:21 AM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/19/12 11:41 AM
                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco11/21/12 07:44 AM
                    JIT vs. static compilation (Was: New Article: ARM Goes 64-bit)VMguy11/22/12 03:21 AM
                      JIT vs. static compilation (Was: New Article: ARM Goes 64-bit)David Kanter11/22/12 12:12 PM
                        JIT vs. static compilation (Was: New Article: ARM Goes 64-bit)Gabriele Svelto11/23/12 03:50 AM
                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/23/12 10:09 AM
                      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE11/26/12 01:24 AM
                        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitGabriele Svelto11/26/12 03:33 AM
                          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE11/27/12 11:17 PM
                            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitGabriele Svelto11/28/12 02:32 AM
                        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/26/12 12:16 PM
                          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE11/28/12 12:33 AM
                            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/28/12 05:53 AM
                              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S11/28/12 06:15 AM
                                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/28/12 07:33 AM
                                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S11/28/12 09:16 AM
                                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/28/12 09:53 AM
                                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEugene Nalimov11/28/12 05:58 PM
                                      Amazing!EduardoS11/28/12 07:25 PM
                                        Amazing! (non-italic response)EduardoS11/28/12 07:25 PM
                                        Amazing!EBFE11/28/12 08:20 PM
                                          Undefined behaviour doubles downEduardoS11/28/12 09:10 PM
                              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE11/28/12 07:54 PM
                                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS11/28/12 09:21 PM
                Have you heard of Transmeta?David Kanter11/19/12 03:47 PM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitbakaneko11/19/12 09:08 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter11/19/12 03:40 PM
              Semantic Dictionary EncodingRay11/19/12 10:37 PM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRohit11/20/12 04:48 PM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter11/20/12 11:07 PM
                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco11/21/12 06:41 AM
                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter11/21/12 10:12 AM
                    A JIT exampleMark Roulo11/21/12 10:30 AM
                      A JIT exampleWilco11/21/12 07:04 PM
                        A JIT examplerwessel11/21/12 09:05 PM
                        A JIT exampleGabriele Svelto11/23/12 03:53 AM
                        A JIT exampleEduardoS11/23/12 10:13 AM
                          A JIT exampleWilco11/23/12 01:41 PM
                            A JIT exampleEduardoS11/23/12 02:06 PM
                            A JIT exampleGabriele Svelto11/23/12 04:09 PM
                              A JIT exampleSymmetry11/26/12 05:58 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRay11/19/12 10:27 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter08/14/12 09:11 AM
  v7-M is Thumb-onlyPaul A. Clayton08/14/12 06:58 AM
  Minor suggested correctionPaul A. Clayton08/14/12 08:33 AM
    Minor suggested correctionanon08/14/12 08:57 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitExophase08/14/12 08:33 AM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter08/14/12 09:16 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitjigal08/15/12 01:49 PM
  Correction re ARM and BBC MicroPaul08/14/12 08:59 PM
    Correction re ARM and BBC MicroPer Hesselgren08/15/12 03:27 AM
  Memory BW so lowPer Hesselgren08/15/12 03:14 AM
    Memory BW so lownone08/15/12 11:16 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitdado08/15/12 10:25 AM
  Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson08/16/12 02:35 PM
    Number of GPRsExophase08/16/12 02:52 PM
      Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson08/17/12 02:41 AM
        Ooops, missing link...Kenneth Jonsson08/17/12 02:44 AM
        64-bit pointers eat some performancePaul A. Clayton08/17/12 06:19 AM
          64-bit pointers eat some performancebakaneko08/17/12 08:37 AM
            Brute force seems to workPaul A. Clayton08/17/12 10:08 AM
              Brute force seems to workbakaneko08/17/12 11:15 AM
          64-bit pointers eat some performanceRichard Cownie08/17/12 08:46 AM
            Pointer compression is atypicalPaul A. Clayton08/17/12 10:43 AM
              Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie08/17/12 12:57 PM
                Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu08/22/12 10:17 PM
                  Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie08/23/12 04:48 AM
                    Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu08/23/12 06:51 AM
              Pointer compression is atypicalWilco08/17/12 02:41 PM
                Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie08/17/12 04:13 PM
                  Pointer compression is atypicalRicardo B08/19/12 10:44 AM
                  Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu08/22/12 10:08 PM
                    Unified libraries?Paul A. Clayton08/23/12 07:49 AM
                    Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie08/23/12 08:44 AM
                      Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu08/23/12 05:17 PM
                        Pointer compression is atypicalanon08/23/12 08:15 PM
                          Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu08/23/12 09:33 PM
            64-bit pointers eat some performanceFoo_08/18/12 12:09 PM
              64-bit pointers eat some performanceRichard Cownie08/18/12 05:25 PM
                64-bit pointers eat some performanceRichard Cownie08/18/12 05:32 PM
            Page-related benefit of small pointersPaul A. Clayton08/23/12 08:36 AM
        Number of GPRsWilco08/17/12 06:31 AM
          Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson08/17/12 11:54 AM
            Number of GPRsExophase08/17/12 12:44 PM
              Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson08/17/12 01:22 PM
                Number of GPRsWilco08/17/12 02:53 PM
        What about dynamic utilization?Exophase08/17/12 09:30 AM
          Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Paul A. Clayton08/17/12 10:20 AM
            Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Exophase08/17/12 11:09 AM
            Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon08/18/12 02:23 AM
              Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Ricardo B08/19/12 11:02 AM
                Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon08/19/12 06:07 PM
                  Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Ricardo B08/19/12 07:26 PM
                    Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon08/19/12 10:03 PM
                      Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon08/20/12 01:59 AM
        Number of GPRsDavid Kanter08/17/12 12:46 PM
          RAT issues as part of reason 1Paul A. Clayton08/17/12 02:18 PM
        Number of GPRsname9911/17/12 06:37 PM
          Large ARFs increase renaming costPaul A. Clayton11/17/12 09:23 PM
    Number of GPRsDavid Kanter08/16/12 03:31 PM
    Number of GPRsRichard Cownie08/16/12 05:17 PM
    32 GPRs ~2-3%Paul A. Clayton08/16/12 06:27 PM
      Oops, Message-ID: aaed6e38-c7bd-467e-ba41-f40cf1020e5e@googlegroups.com (NT)Paul A. Clayton08/16/12 06:29 PM
      32 GPRs ~2-3%Exophase08/16/12 10:06 PM
        R31 as SP/zero is kind of neat (NT)Paul A. Clayton08/17/12 06:23 AM
        32 GPRs ~2-3%rwessel08/17/12 08:24 AM
          32 GPRs ~2-3%Exophase08/17/12 09:16 AM
            32 GPRs ~2-3%Max08/17/12 04:19 PM
      32 GPRs ~2-3%name9911/17/12 07:43 PM
    Number of GPRsmpx08/17/12 01:11 AM
      Latency and powerPaul A. Clayton08/17/12 06:54 AM
    Number of GPRsbakaneko08/17/12 03:09 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitSteve08/17/12 02:12 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter08/19/12 12:42 PM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDoug S08/19/12 02:02 PM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitAnon08/19/12 07:16 PM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitSteve08/30/12 07:51 AM
  Scalar vs Vector registersRobert David Graham08/19/12 05:19 PM
    Scalar vs Vector registersDavid Kanter08/19/12 05:29 PM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitBaserock ARM servers08/21/12 04:13 PM
    Baserock ARM serversSysanon08/21/12 04:14 PM
    A-15 virtualization and LPAE?Paul A. Clayton08/21/12 06:13 PM
      A-15 virtualization and LPAE?Anon08/21/12 07:13 PM
        Half-depth advantages?Paul A. Clayton08/21/12 08:42 PM
          Half-depth advantages?Anon08/22/12 03:33 PM
            Thanks for the information (NT)Paul A. Clayton08/22/12 04:04 PM
      A-15 virtualization and LPAE?C. Ladisch08/23/12 11:12 AM
        A-15 virtualization and LPAE?Paul08/23/12 03:17 PM
        Excessive pessimismPaul A. Clayton08/23/12 04:08 PM
          Excessive pessimismDavid Kanter08/23/12 05:05 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S08/22/12 07:12 AM
      BTW, Baserock==product, Codethink==company (NT)Paul A. Clayton08/22/12 08:56 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitReinoud Zandijk08/21/12 11:27 PM
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