Alias-free parameters in C using multibodies

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Assaad, Medhat
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Computer Science

Computer Science—the theory, representation, processing, communication and use of information—is fundamentally transforming every aspect of human endeavor. The Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University advances computational and information sciences through; 1. educational and research programs within and beyond the university; 2. active engagement to help define national and international research, and 3. educational agendas, and sustained commitment to graduating leaders for academia, industry and government.

The Computer Science Department was officially established in 1969, with Robert Stewart serving as the founding Department Chair. Faculty were composed of joint appointments with Mathematics, Statistics, and Electrical Engineering. In 1969, the building which now houses the Computer Science department, then simply called the Computer Science building, was completed. Later it was named Atanasoff Hall. Throughout the 1980s to present, the department expanded and developed its teaching and research agendas to cover many areas of computing.

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Aliasing may cause problems for both optimization and reasoning about programs. Since static alias analysis is expensive, and sometimes, even impossible, compilers tend to be conservative. This usually leads to missing some optimization opportunities. Furthermore, when trying to understand code, one must consider all possible aliasing patterns. This can make reasoning about code difficult and non-trivial. We have implemented an approach for having alias-free parameters in C. This approach allows aliasing between the arguments at the call site, but guarantees that there will be no aliasing between arguments and between arguments and globals inside procedure bodies. This is done by having multiple bodies, up to one for each aliasing pattern. Procedure calls will be dispatched to the body that matches the aliasing pattern at the call site. By having alias-free parameters in the bodies, good optimization can be achieved. Furthermore, verification and reasoning about the code is easier when there is no aliasing. The main advantages of our approach are that code to determine the aliasing pattern is automatically generated, and the programmer does not have to code it by hand. We tested our implementation, and found that using this approach can be very practical. It is easy to convert already-existing code to use it. And in some cases, we had run-time execution speedup as much as 29%.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2001