Pointer compression is atypical

Article: ARM Goes 64-bit
By: Richard Cownie (tich.delete@this.pobox.com), August 17, 2012 12:57 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Paul A. Clayton (paaronclayton.delete@this.gmail.com) on August 17, 2012 10:43 am wrote:

> 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.)

I think you have to distinguish between the static and dynamic occurrence
of carefully-tuned software: out of the millions of apps, the vast majority
are not very performance-sensitive, and won't be tweaked and tuned to any
great extent. However, a relatively small number of programs account for
a disproportionate fraction of total compute cycles - stuff like database
kernels, webservers, 3d game engines, video decode, Java VM - and many of those will
be much more carefully optimized than the "average" program.

IOW, if you spend 90% of your cpu cycles running just 10 cpu-intensive
programs, and 8 out of 10 of those are carefully tuned for 64bit, then
you may get a lot more benefit than the "just recompile" figure would suggest.

> Without special
> support in the ISA, pointer compression will
> cost some extra operations.

Yes, but I can say from experience that it works pretty well on modern
machines. Unless you're in tight code with everything in L1 cache, then
a modern superscalar OoO has plenty of spare ALU cycles
to do a few shift and mask operations, and the benefit of reducing cache
misses greatly outweighs the cost of those extra operations.

Also modern x86's do most misaligned accesses really fast, which helps in
dealing with the resulting packed data structures.

> 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.)

Yes. A template class with appropriate inlined implicit conversion operators
to get a full 64bit pointer when appropriate. It can be transparent to most
of the code.

> (I like pointer compression, but I am biased in favor of
> microoptimizations. Practicality seems to favor ordinary pointers in a flat
> memory space.)

Well, it's the usual tradeoff between the software effort, and the resulting benefit
in speed and memory footprint. I happened to work for a while on a product which
was on the bleeding edge of both - the compiler for Mentor Graphics fpga-based
emulation system (I'm elsewhere now). And I learnt my trade in the 1980s, with
machines with < 1MIPS and < 1MB, where *everything* had to be pretty carefully
optimized. In a world of 3GHz+ cpu's and 4GB+ DRAM, software effort tends to be a
more critical resource. Hence the rise of languages like Java and C#, which claim
to reduce software effort by 2x or more, at the cost of reducing performance by
some factor.

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TopicPosted ByDate
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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