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RFC: Improve MIPS code generation.

Recently I have been thinking about gcc's code generation especially
WRT the MIPS o32 ABI, but I think that the ideas might be relevant to
other architectures as well.

I am not quite sure how to implement this, but wanted to get feedback.

For the MIPS o32 ABI (when compiling most application code) all non-leaf functions have a prolog generated by the .cpload pseudo-op which results in code being generated (by as) to set up the $gp (GOT pointer register) for the rest of the function.

A typical disassembly is something like this:

00400a9c <_Z2f1v>:
 400a9c:    3c1c0fc0     lui    gp,0xfc0
 400aa0:    279c7704     addiu    gp,gp,30468
 400aa4:    0399e021     addu    gp,gp,t9
 400aa8:    27bdffe0     addiu    sp,sp,-32

And a typical calling sequence would be: . . . 400c88: 8f998084 lw t9,-32636(gp) 400c8c: 0320f809 jalr t9 . . .

Now we know (or at least I think we know) that the gp will have the
same value for any code from a single compilation unit (.o input to
ld) because of how ld works WRT creating GOTs.

Here is the big question:

For function calls within a single compilation unit why couldn't the
jalr be replaced by a bal (branch and link) to the 4th instruction of
the target function?

You would save setting up $t9 before the call and setting up $gp in
the called function.  A total savings of 4 instructions for each
intra-compilation-unit call.

There might be even greater savings if conditional branches around
jalr could be replaced by conditional bal of the opposite condition.

Thanks for considering this,

David Daney

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