Q: Profile-directed optimizations

mal@bewoner.dma.be mal@bewoner.dma.be
Thu Sep 3 05:16:00 GMT 1998

Lassi A. Tuura writes:
 > |> Some folks might also claim #2.  I'm not convinced either way on whether
 > |> or not profile directed feedback helps real code.
 > I don't know about "normal" code, but I could imagine that for C++ the
 > impact could be signficant if the profiler information is comprehensive
 > enough to let compiler reason about polymorphic features, such as
 > optimising virtual function calls.  For example, if at some call site
 > the calls always or sufficiently often end up in one particular
 > function, compiler could turn it to a quick check and inlined virtual
 > function body (plus a fallback to a regular virtual call).
 > I believe much research has been done on this in the experimental
 > compiler projects at universities (I don't remember the names right now
 > and don't have access to my archives, but I can dig them up if somebody
 > wants).  Some of them are whole program optimisations, though.

One interesting project to look at is Cecil at U of Washington. Their
vortex compiler does this sort of thing for Cecil/C++/Modula-3. It can 
hardly be called light weight though.

A very good description of polymorphic call optimisation is in Jeff
Dean's Ph. D. thesis which you can find at
http://www.cs.washington.edu/research/projects/cecil/www/Papers/jdean-thesis.html .

CLOS implementors have been optimizing these kind of things for years


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