ARMv8: few details.

It looks like few details about ARMv8 are starting to appear on the network. The root of this is presentation and videos about ARMv8 made by Richard Grisenthwaite and which are now linked from the ARM ISAs page. Please just scroll down and select ARMv8 Resources tab.
Anyway, I’d like to list a few details also here especially focused on details which affect user-land application writer. Small table should do the job I hope. Please note that with ARMv8, ARM started to name various ISAs as A32, which is classical ARM, T32, which is Thumb2 and A64 which is new ISA for ARM 64bit computing. So far ARMv7’s and ARMv8’s A32 and T32 ISAs looks similar.

32 bit ISAs A32, T32 A32, T32
64 bit ISAs A64
Number of GPs 13* 13* (A32, T32), 31** (A64)
ISNs encoding length (bits) 16-32 (T32), 32 (A32) 16-32 (T32), 32 (A32), 32 (A64)
NEON 64 bit regs 32 32
NEON 128 bit regs 16 32
Crypto ISNs (using NEON regs) AES, SHA-1, SHA-256

*: I count only R0-R12
**: PC and SP are no longer considered GPs

So as you can see, we get nearly twice the general purpose registers, twice the number of 128 bit registers in NEON and we also get some additional instructions to support some common cryptography operations. Besides this A64 also provides new load-acquire/store-release instructions to better support ARM weak-memory model in higher level programming languages.

Well, so from the point of view of GHC this might indeed be fun. The only pity is that we still depend on LLVM to come with A64 support first and then we’ll be able to use it in GHC.


New hardware: ThinkPad Tablet

My new target hardware for the GHC port arrived a week ago. It is a brand new ThinkPad Tablet which contains NVidia Tegra2 CPU, 1GB RAM and 64GB FLASH. It is also equipped with 3G modem which I’m not using as the price of 3G internet in The Czech Republic is prohibitive (one of the highest in EU!) and I really don’t like to support those greedy carriers.

ThinkPad Tablet accompanied by Tablet's pen and alto recorder showing web page of the Real World Haskell book.

Anyway, this is my first tablet ever and also first tablet with real pen input! I’ve been always dreaming about really personal computer which would work like an “inteligent” diary. This one does have ability to fulfill this dream — at least on the paper. Well, well, everything does have its own set of bugs and ThinkPad Tablet is not different, but I still like it a lot. Especially those application with builtin pen capability, e.g. MyScript Notes. If you don’t know the application, I highly recommend you to see this video to get some idea what’s this about.

Now, what about to have a GHCi editor with pen input? Would be nice, wouldn’t it? 🙂

LLVM patch is merged for inclusion in LLVM 3.0 release

Good news for those shy to patch LLVM source code and build from scratch. 🙂 The patch which adds GHC calling convention for ARM platform is merged for inclusion in LLVM 3.0 release. This is mainly due to David Terei persistence and constant push on Apple engineering to get it in since I’ve submitted the patch for inclusion just last day and was not able to answer all the questions arising from it. David not only replied with all needed information, but also kept emailing LLVM 3.0 release engineer and asking for inclusion. Thanks David!

Current status: merged into GHC HEAD!

I’ve thought it might be a good idea to post some information about how is it going with the project.
So yes, thanks to help provided by David Terei and Manuel M T Chakravarty our project results were merged into GHC HEAD. Last commit (so far!) went in during August 20/21 2011. If you do have some ARM system, then please give it a try! You will need your own build of LLVM, which is described here. If you are curious and would just like to see tests results, then look here:

OVERALL SUMMARY for test run started at Tue Aug 23 22:59:36 CEST 2011
    2927 total tests, which gave rise to
    7123 test cases, of which
       1 caused framework failures
    2646 were skipped

    4260 expected passes
     148 expected failures
       0 unexpected passes
      68 unexpected failures

Unexpected failures:
   ../../libraries/random/tests  rangeTest [bad exit code] (normal,threaded1,threaded2,optllvm)
   annotations/should_run        annrun01 [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2,optllvm)
   cabal                         ghcpkg05 [bad stderr] (normal)
   cabal/cabal04                 cabal04 [bad exit code] (normal)
   codeGen/should_compile        jmp_tbl [exit code non-0] (normal)
   codeGen/should_compile        massive_array [exit code non-0] (normal)
   dph/dotp                      dph-dotp-fast [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2)
   dph/dotp                      dph-dotp-opt [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2)
   dph/primespj                  dph-primespj-fast [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2)
   dph/primespj                  dph-primespj-opt [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2)
   dph/quickhull                 dph-quickhull-fast [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2)
   dph/quickhull                 dph-quickhull-opt [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2)
   dph/sumnats                   dph-sumnats [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2)
   dph/words                     dph-words-fast [exit code non-0] (normal)
   dph/words                     dph-words-opt [exit code non-0] (normal)
   driver                        5313 [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2,optllvm)
   driver/recomp009              recomp009 [bad exit code] (normal)
   dynlibs                       T3807 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghc-api/T4891                 T4891 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghc-api/apirecomp001          apirecomp001 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghci/linking                  ghcilink001 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghci/linking                  ghcilink002 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghci/linking                  ghcilink003 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghci/linking                  ghcilink004 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghci/linking                  ghcilink005 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghci/linking                  ghcilink006 [bad exit code] (normal)
   ghci/scripts                  ghci024 [bad exit code] (normal)
   perf/compiler                 T1969 [stat not good enough] (normal)
   perf/compiler                 T3064 [stat not good enough] (normal)
   perf/compiler                 T5030 [stat not good enough] (normal)
   quasiquotation/qq007          qq007 [exit code non-0] (normal)
   quasiquotation/qq008          qq008 [exit code non-0] (normal)
   rts                           T2615 [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2,optllvm)
   rts                           derefnull [bad exit code] (threaded2)
   rts                           testblockalloc [bad exit code] (normal,threaded1)
   safeHaskell/flags             Flags02 [exit code non-0] (normal)
   simplCore/should_compile      T3016 [exit code non-0] (normal)
   typecheck/should_run          T4809 [exit code non-0] (normal,threaded1,threaded2,optllvm)

Majority of the failures are caused by missing GHCi support, which is also my next item on the project’s TODO list.

Nofib benchmarking

I’ve decided to do some nofib benchmarking on trees I do have here. Big thanks to Simon Marlow who helped me with fixing bugs in my benchmarking process (initially I’ve been comparing builds with different optimize options and getting strange results). I’ve compared results of unregisterised build when using -fvia-C and when using -fllvm together with registerised builds, one without tables next to code functionality enabled and another with it enabled. Results are summarized in table below. I’m using via-C build as a baseline.

unregisterised viaC unregisterised LLVM registerised LLVM registerised LLVM with tables next to code enabled
binary sizes +0.1% -31.3% -33.3%
allocations -0.0% -0.9% -0.9%
run time -9.9% -47.5% -51.4%
gc time -0.3% -1.6% -2.5%

IMHO -51.4% for runtime on registerised LLVM build with tables next to code enabled in comparison with via-C unregisterised build (which is currently the only available build on ARM/Linux!) is a nice outcome of the project. Click here to see whole results.