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16.18.2 RTL to RTL Peephole Optimizers

The define_peephole2 definition tells the compiler how to substitute one sequence of instructions for another sequence, what additional scratch registers may be needed and what their lifetimes must be.


The definition is almost identical to define_split (see Insn Splitting) except that the pattern to match is not a single instruction, but a sequence of instructions.

It is possible to request additional scratch registers for use in the output template. If appropriate registers are not free, the pattern will simply not match.

Scratch registers are requested with a match_scratch pattern at the top level of the input pattern. The allocated register (initially) will be dead at the point requested within the original sequence. If the scratch is used at more than a single point, a match_dup pattern at the top level of the input pattern marks the last position in the input sequence at which the register must be available.

Here is an example from the IA-32 machine description:

  [(match_scratch:SI 2 "r")
   (parallel [(set (match_operand:SI 0 "register_operand" "")
                   (match_operator:SI 3 "arith_or_logical_operator"
                     [(match_dup 0)
                      (match_operand:SI 1 "memory_operand" "")]))
              (clobber (reg:CC 17))])]
  "! optimize_size && ! TARGET_READ_MODIFY"
  [(set (match_dup 2) (match_dup 1))
   (parallel [(set (match_dup 0)
                   (match_op_dup 3 [(match_dup 0) (match_dup 2)]))
              (clobber (reg:CC 17))])]

This pattern tries to split a load from its use in the hopes that we’ll be able to schedule around the memory load latency. It allocates a single SImode register of class GENERAL_REGS ("r") that needs to be live only at the point just before the arithmetic.

A real example requiring extended scratch lifetimes is harder to come by, so here’s a silly made-up example:

  [(match_scratch:SI 4 "r")
   (set (match_operand:SI 0 "" "") (match_operand:SI 1 "" ""))
   (set (match_operand:SI 2 "" "") (match_dup 1))
   (match_dup 4)
   (set (match_operand:SI 3 "" "") (match_dup 1))]
  "/* determine 1 does not overlap 0 and 2 */"
  [(set (match_dup 4) (match_dup 1))
   (set (match_dup 0) (match_dup 4))
   (set (match_dup 2) (match_dup 4))
   (set (match_dup 3) (match_dup 4))]

If we had not added the (match_dup 4) in the middle of the input sequence, it might have been the case that the register we chose at the beginning of the sequence is killed by the first or second set.

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