[m-users.] Enable LCMC tail recursion optimization by default?

Sebastian Godelet sebastian.godelet at outlook.com
Wed Apr 27 23:52:47 AEST 2016

Hi Zoltan,

> Subject: Re: [m-users.] Enable LCMC tail recursion optimization by default?
> > I'm just guessing that most modules are not transformed by LCMC,
> > or are not executed enough to affect the timings.
> I found that enabling lcmc in Mmake.params leads to changes in 233 C files,

>From the original question I see that there was a need to enable LCMC for a specific 
function (family), so could we as an intermediate solution support a pragma that enables this
optimisation for the specified function only, avoiding influencing so many not directly related parts of the program.

> while 657 C files stay the same. (All the library's C files stay the same, since
> they don't need Mmake.params to enable lcmc.) Overall, and including the
> library, 971 strongly connected components of procedures are transformed
> by lcmc. The changed files and procedures are listed by the attached files.
> On the list of changed procedures, I can see a significant number for which
> lcmc is a pessimization. They are procedures that usually don't get executed,
> because they implement rarely-used or not-yet-ready features, or are
> needed only for handling errors, which should (hopefully) be rare. For these,
> the negative of the extra code space occupied by lcmc-transformed code
> is not opposed by the positive of any meaningful speedup. And then there
> are the predicates for which lcmc *may* yield a speedup, but it is likely
> to be very, very small, such as the predicates that iterate over argument
> lists. Since very few predicates have more than ten arguments, the impact
> of the extra icache misses from the bigger code generated by lcmc will
> probably outweigh the larger stack usage of the non-lcmc code, since the
> memory references to the stack near the stack pointer are *very* likely
> to hit in the dcache.
> I have long thought that the ideal way to handle lcmc and similar
> optimizations is for a profiler to generate a list of procedures whose runtime
> is nontrivial, and to give one or more such lists to the compiler.
> The compiler should then optimize the procedures that appear on at least
> one such list for speed, and every other procedure for size. That is from
> the point-of-view of speed. From the point-of-view of robustness, we
> would also need a list of procedures whose inputs can cause them to
> exhaust the stack. Unfortunately, I don't see any easy way to generate
> that list automatically. The converse, a list of procedures whose inputs
> are *bounded* somehow to a level that is guaranteed *not* to stress
> the stack may be easi*er* to obtain, but that task is still substantial.
> And any case, I expect *most* predicates would then fall into the category
> of "NOT known to NOT to be able to exhaust the stack". Compiling them
> with lcmc, just in case, would yield a result that would be scarcely
> distinguishable from compiling *everything* with lcmc.
> Since I see no better solutions in the near term, I am fine with
> making lcmc the default, with the understanding that for the modules
> in the compiler in which we believe its use to be unneeded and counter-
> productive, we turn it off in Mercury.options.

Is my understanding correct that this option could be disabled inside the compiler,
but the installed standard library could be compiled with LMC turned on, s.th. I can use a tail recursive version
of list.map etc.?

> Zoltan.



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