[patch tree-optimization]: Improve handling of conditional-branches on targets with high branch costs

Kai Tietz ktietz70@googlemail.com
Wed Oct 26 13:12:00 GMT 2011

2011/10/26 Michael Matz <matz@suse.de>:
> Hi,
> On Wed, 26 Oct 2011, Kai Tietz wrote:
>> > Yes, this part introduced different behavior for this small case,
>> >
>> > int f(char *i, int j)
>> > {
>> >        if (*i && j!=2)
>> >                return *i;
>> >        else
>> >                return j;
>> > }
>> Well, as far as I understand C specification and sequence points, it
>> makes indeed a difference to do branch-cost optimization on instructions
>> might cause a signal traps. As signal could be handled in specifc
>> handlers. You need to consider here that short-circuit optimization
>> assumes associative law on operands.  So right-hand side might be
>> evaluaded before the left-hand-side.  And this indeed breaks IMHO the
>> sequences as mentioned in C specification about conditions.
> I'm not sure in this specific case.  If it had been:
> if (*a && *b) ...
> the you'd be right.  The side-effect of dereferencing a must happen before
> *b, and hence transforming this into (*a!=0)&(*b!=0) would be wrong.  But
> in the case at hand we only have one potentially problematic (aka
> detectable) side-effect (*i), so I don't think you could construct a
> program that detects the difference.  It would entail detecting that
> "j!=2" was already evaluated, when (say) the segfault happens, but you
> can't as the variable is non-volatile.  It also can't happen that the
> side-effect *i does not occur (which also would be a problem).  So, I
> think there wasn't an actual problem before, and it had fewer jumps.
> Ciao,
> Michael.

the case can be produced quite easily.


extern int global = 0;

  if (*a && global) ...

the issue is that by C-specification see here about
program-termination.The important point is here::

Evaluation of an expression may produce side effects. At certain
specified points in the execution sequence called sequence points, all
side effects of previous evaluations shall be complete *** and no side
effects of subsequent evaluations shall have taken place ***

Annex C describes sequence-points as

1 The following are the sequence points described in
— The call to a function, after the arguments have been evaluated (
— The end of the first operand of the following operators: logical AND
&& (6.5.13); logical OR || (6.5.14); conditional ? (6.5.15); comma ,


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