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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New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/08/14 12:04 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone2012/08/14 12:44 AM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/08/14 01:04 AM
    MIPS MT-ASEPaul A. Clayton2012/08/14 09:01 AM
      MONITOR/MWAITEduardoS2012/08/14 10:08 AM
        MWAIT not specifically MTPaul A. Clayton2012/08/14 10:36 AM
          MWAIT not specifically MTEduardoS2012/08/15 03:16 PM
        MONITOR/MWAITanonymou52012/08/14 11:07 AM
          MONITOR/MWAITEduardoS2012/08/15 03:20 PM
      MIPS MT-ASErwessel2012/08/14 10:14 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitSHK2012/08/14 02:01 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 02:37 AM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRichard Cownie2012/08/14 03:57 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 04:29 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone2012/08/14 04:44 AM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 05:28 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 05:32 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/08/14 06:06 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone2012/08/14 05:40 AM
            AArch64 select better than cmovPaul A. Clayton2012/08/14 06:08 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 06:12 AM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone2012/08/14 06:25 AM
                Predicated ld/store are usefulPaul A. Clayton2012/08/14 06:48 AM
                  Predicated ld/store are usefulnone2012/08/14 06:56 AM
                    Predicated ld/store are usefulanon2012/08/14 07:07 AM
                    Predicated stores might not be that badPaul A. Clayton2012/08/14 07:27 AM
                      Predicated stores might not be that badDavid Kanter2012/08/15 01:14 AM
                        Predicated stores might not be that badMichael S2012/08/15 11:41 AM
                        Predicated stores might not be that badR Byron2012/08/17 04:09 AM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 06:54 AM
                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone2012/08/14 07:04 AM
                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 07:43 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/08/14 06:07 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 06:20 AM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitnone2012/08/14 06:29 AM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanon2012/08/14 07:00 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S2012/08/14 03:43 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRichard Cownie2012/08/14 06:53 AM
          OT: Conrad's "Youth"Richard Cownie2012/08/14 07:20 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/08/14 06:04 AM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitmpx2012/08/14 08:59 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitAntti-Ville Tuunainen2012/08/14 09:16 AM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitanonymou52012/08/14 11:03 AM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitname992012/11/17 03:31 PM
            Microarchitecting a counter registerPaul A. Clayton2012/11/17 07:37 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitbakaneko2012/08/14 04:21 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitname992012/11/17 03:40 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/17 04:52 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDoug S2012/11/17 05:48 PM
        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitbakaneko2012/11/18 05:40 PM
          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco2012/11/19 07:59 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/19 08:23 AM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco2012/11/19 09:31 AM
                Downloading µarch-specific binaries?Paul A. Clayton2012/11/19 11:21 AM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/19 11:41 AM
                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco2012/11/21 07:44 AM
                    JIT vs. static compilation (Was: New Article: ARM Goes 64-bit)VMguy2012/11/22 03:21 AM
                      JIT vs. static compilation (Was: New Article: ARM Goes 64-bit)David Kanter2012/11/22 12:12 PM
                        JIT vs. static compilation (Was: New Article: ARM Goes 64-bit)Gabriele Svelto2012/11/23 03:50 AM
                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/23 10:09 AM
                      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE2012/11/26 01:24 AM
                        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitGabriele Svelto2012/11/26 03:33 AM
                          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE2012/11/27 11:17 PM
                            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitGabriele Svelto2012/11/28 02:32 AM
                        New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/26 12:16 PM
                          New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE2012/11/28 12:33 AM
                            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/28 05:53 AM
                              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S2012/11/28 06:15 AM
                                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/28 07:33 AM
                                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S2012/11/28 09:16 AM
                                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/28 09:53 AM
                                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEugene Nalimov2012/11/28 05:58 PM
                                      Amazing!EduardoS2012/11/28 07:25 PM
                                        Amazing! (non-italic response)EduardoS2012/11/28 07:25 PM
                                        Amazing!EBFE2012/11/28 08:20 PM
                                          Undefined behaviour doubles downEduardoS2012/11/28 09:10 PM
                              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEBFE2012/11/28 07:54 PM
                                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitEduardoS2012/11/28 09:21 PM
                Have you heard of Transmeta?David Kanter2012/11/19 03:47 PM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitbakaneko2012/11/19 09:08 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/11/19 03:40 PM
              Semantic Dictionary EncodingRay2012/11/19 10:37 PM
              New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRohit2012/11/20 04:48 PM
                New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/11/20 11:07 PM
                  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitWilco2012/11/21 06:41 AM
                    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/11/21 10:12 AM
                    A JIT exampleMark Roulo2012/11/21 10:30 AM
                      A JIT exampleWilco2012/11/21 07:04 PM
                        A JIT examplerwessel2012/11/21 09:05 PM
                        A JIT exampleGabriele Svelto2012/11/23 03:53 AM
                        A JIT exampleEduardoS2012/11/23 10:13 AM
                          A JIT exampleWilco2012/11/23 01:41 PM
                            A JIT exampleEduardoS2012/11/23 02:06 PM
                            A JIT exampleGabriele Svelto2012/11/23 04:09 PM
                              A JIT exampleSymmetry2012/11/26 05:58 AM
            New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitRay2012/11/19 10:27 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/08/14 09:11 AM
  v7-M is Thumb-onlyPaul A. Clayton2012/08/14 06:58 AM
  Minor suggested correctionPaul A. Clayton2012/08/14 08:33 AM
    Minor suggested correctionanon2012/08/14 08:57 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitExophase2012/08/14 08:33 AM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/08/14 09:16 AM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitjigal2012/08/15 01:49 PM
  Correction re ARM and BBC MicroPaul2012/08/14 08:59 PM
    Correction re ARM and BBC MicroPer Hesselgren2012/08/15 03:27 AM
  Memory BW so lowPer Hesselgren2012/08/15 03:14 AM
    Memory BW so lownone2012/08/15 11:16 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitdado2012/08/15 10:25 AM
  Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson2012/08/16 02:35 PM
    Number of GPRsExophase2012/08/16 02:52 PM
      Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson2012/08/17 02:41 AM
        Ooops, missing link...Kenneth Jonsson2012/08/17 02:44 AM
        64-bit pointers eat some performancePaul A. Clayton2012/08/17 06:19 AM
          64-bit pointers eat some performancebakaneko2012/08/17 08:37 AM
            Brute force seems to workPaul A. Clayton2012/08/17 10:08 AM
              Brute force seems to workbakaneko2012/08/17 11:15 AM
          64-bit pointers eat some performanceRichard Cownie2012/08/17 08:46 AM
            Pointer compression is atypicalPaul A. Clayton2012/08/17 10:43 AM
              Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie2012/08/17 12:57 PM
                Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu2012/08/22 10:17 PM
                  Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie2012/08/23 04:48 AM
                    Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu2012/08/23 06:51 AM
              Pointer compression is atypicalWilco2012/08/17 02:41 PM
                Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie2012/08/17 04:13 PM
                  Pointer compression is atypicalRicardo B2012/08/19 10:44 AM
                  Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu2012/08/22 10:08 PM
                    Unified libraries?Paul A. Clayton2012/08/23 07:49 AM
                    Pointer compression is atypicalRichard Cownie2012/08/23 08:44 AM
                      Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu2012/08/23 05:17 PM
                        Pointer compression is atypicalanon2012/08/23 08:15 PM
                          Pointer compression is atypicalHoward Chu2012/08/23 09:33 PM
            64-bit pointers eat some performanceFoo_2012/08/18 12:09 PM
              64-bit pointers eat some performanceRichard Cownie2012/08/18 05:25 PM
                64-bit pointers eat some performanceRichard Cownie2012/08/18 05:32 PM
            Page-related benefit of small pointersPaul A. Clayton2012/08/23 08:36 AM
        Number of GPRsWilco2012/08/17 06:31 AM
          Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson2012/08/17 11:54 AM
            Number of GPRsExophase2012/08/17 12:44 PM
              Number of GPRsKenneth Jonsson2012/08/17 01:22 PM
                Number of GPRsWilco2012/08/17 02:53 PM
        What about dynamic utilization?Exophase2012/08/17 09:30 AM
          Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Paul A. Clayton2012/08/17 10:20 AM
            Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Exophase2012/08/17 11:09 AM
            Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon2012/08/18 02:23 AM
              Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Ricardo B2012/08/19 11:02 AM
                Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon2012/08/19 06:07 PM
                  Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?Ricardo B2012/08/19 07:26 PM
                    Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon2012/08/19 10:03 PM
                      Compiler vs. assembly aliasing knowledge?anon2012/08/20 01:59 AM
        Number of GPRsDavid Kanter2012/08/17 12:46 PM
          RAT issues as part of reason 1Paul A. Clayton2012/08/17 02:18 PM
        Number of GPRsname992012/11/17 06:37 PM
          Large ARFs increase renaming costPaul A. Clayton2012/11/17 09:23 PM
    Number of GPRsDavid Kanter2012/08/16 03:31 PM
    Number of GPRsRichard Cownie2012/08/16 05:17 PM
    32 GPRs ~2-3%Paul A. Clayton2012/08/16 06:27 PM
      Oops, Message-ID: aaed6e38-c7bd-467e-ba41-f40cf1020e5e@googlegroups.com (NT)Paul A. Clayton2012/08/16 06:29 PM
      32 GPRs ~2-3%Exophase2012/08/16 10:06 PM
        R31 as SP/zero is kind of neat (NT)Paul A. Clayton2012/08/17 06:23 AM
        32 GPRs ~2-3%rwessel2012/08/17 08:24 AM
          32 GPRs ~2-3%Exophase2012/08/17 09:16 AM
            32 GPRs ~2-3%Max2012/08/17 04:19 PM
      32 GPRs ~2-3%name992012/11/17 07:43 PM
    Number of GPRsmpx2012/08/17 01:11 AM
      Latency and powerPaul A. Clayton2012/08/17 06:54 AM
    Number of GPRsbakaneko2012/08/17 03:09 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitSteve2012/08/17 02:12 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDavid Kanter2012/08/19 12:42 PM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitDoug S2012/08/19 02:02 PM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitAnon2012/08/19 07:16 PM
      New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitSteve2012/08/30 07:51 AM
  Scalar vs Vector registersRobert David Graham2012/08/19 05:19 PM
    Scalar vs Vector registersDavid Kanter2012/08/19 05:29 PM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitBaserock ARM servers2012/08/21 04:13 PM
    Baserock ARM serversSysanon2012/08/21 04:14 PM
    A-15 virtualization and LPAE?Paul A. Clayton2012/08/21 06:13 PM
      A-15 virtualization and LPAE?Anon2012/08/21 07:13 PM
        Half-depth advantages?Paul A. Clayton2012/08/21 08:42 PM
          Half-depth advantages?Anon2012/08/22 03:33 PM
            Thanks for the information (NT)Paul A. Clayton2012/08/22 04:04 PM
      A-15 virtualization and LPAE?C. Ladisch2012/08/23 11:12 AM
        A-15 virtualization and LPAE?Paul2012/08/23 03:17 PM
        Excessive pessimismPaul A. Clayton2012/08/23 04:08 PM
          Excessive pessimismDavid Kanter2012/08/23 05:05 PM
    New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitMichael S2012/08/22 07:12 AM
      BTW, Baserock==product, Codethink==company (NT)Paul A. Clayton2012/08/22 08:56 AM
  New Article: ARM Goes 64-bitReinoud Zandijk2012/08/21 11:27 PM
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