[m-users.] Link-time optimization
m.dentico at virgilio.it
Sun Jun 14 04:48:14 AEST 2020
On 13/06/2020 18:21, Zoltan Somogyi wrote:
> 2020-06-13 12:24 GMT+10:00 Peter Wang<novalazy at gmail.com>:
>> On Fri, 12 Jun 2020 22:27:28 +0200 Massimo Dentico <m.dentico at virgilio.it> wrote:
>>> b. How much effort would be needed to modify the Mercury compiler
>>> (specifically the back-end that produces high-level C code)
>>> to produce a single stand-alone C file? That is, a single source file
>>> easy to include in other C projects, which has *only* the necessary
>>> machinery from the run-time library and refers to C standard
>>> libraries only, with an option to avoid them too.
>> A lot of effort.
> As Peter says, with a lot of effort, you could implement what you propose.
> However, the result will very likely *not* be all that useful. Putting all
> the C code generated by the Mercury compiler into a single .c file
> will generate a huge .c file for any Mercury program of a nontrivial size,
> especially when compiled in a debug grade.
Obviously this single C file would be for distribution only, not
for development. So no debug grade involved (I presume here that the
developers using the library would not be interested in learning
I have read Henderson & Somogyi, "Compiling Mercury to high-level C
code" (2002) and I was under the impression that the ratio of lines of
C code produced for one line of Mercury code was not dramatically high.
Do you care/have time to explain why this is not (or is no more)
Anyway I'm not particularly worried by this because I would like to use
Mercury only for the inference engine part of an application. The rest
will be in another language.
> .......................................... This will mean that you
> wouldn't be able to compile that .c file with any C compiler options
> that call for the use of any algorithm whose complexity is O(n^2) or
> worse in the number of functions in the file. The last time I looked,
> this meant that even -O2 was off the table (though admittedly
> that was more than a decade ago). So the resulting executable
> code may be compact, but would also be quite slow.
The assumption here is that -O3 is always beneficial. I beg to differ:
I have examined the assembly output of GCC (to a less extent of Clang)
and I have often found that -Os (enables all -O2 optimizations that do
not typically increase code size) is more than adequate for a lot of use
cases. Of course hot spots, especially in numerical code, require
special care. But I would not use Mercury for numerical code, of course.
Anyway consider that:
1. header-only libraries  and Single Compilation Unit  are not
2. in my reply to Peter Wang I mentioned CMI, the Cross-Module Inliner
, which was developed in early 2000s and does more or less what
I asked for above (it's unmaintained and written in Haskell; I'll
see what I can do);
3. the SQLite developers distribute an easy to use amalgamation file 
that is nearly 230,000 lines long and is 7.73 MiBs in size (version
If compilation time was unbearable for SCU, there would have been no
Massimo A. Dentico
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