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Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2017 19:49:19 -0500
From: Rich Felker <dalias@...c.org>
To: musl@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: Do not use 64 bit division if possible

On Sun, Nov 26, 2017 at 01:10:15PM +1300, Michael Clark wrote:
> 
> 
> > On 26/11/2017, at 12:53 PM, Rich Felker <dalias@...c.org> wrote:
> > 
> > On Sun, Nov 26, 2017 at 12:46:56AM +0100, David Guillen Fandos wrote:
> >> Thanks for your response.
> >> Please note that PAGE_SIZE is not a constant but an alias to
> >> libc.page_size which is a variable of type size_t (signed).
> >> That's why at O1+ gcc doesn't generate a shift.
> > 
> > Indeed; this varies by arch.
> 
> Oh, I wasn’t aware of that.
> 
> >> I also created a patch to include libc.page_shift, but as far as I
> >> can see no other functions would benefit from it, since there's no
> >> other divides there (only negations, additions and subtractions).
> > 
> > Adding infrastructure complexity except in cases where it makes a
> > significant improvement to size or performance is generally not
> > desirable. mmap() is one other place where, in principle, division by
> > PAGE_SIZE might take place, but in practice the size is constant 4096
> > or 8192 on all archs.
> > 
> >> And yeah I agree, a_ctz_l is not exactly inexpensive but I guess it
> >> is better than full 64 bit signed division (that's why I cast
> >> unsigned otherwise the shift right is not trivial due to the sign).
> > 
> > The cost here is more a matter of adding a reading complexity
> > dependency on musl internals (a_*) where it's not needed. I wonder if
> > GCC could optimize it if we instead of /PAGE_SIZE wrote
> > /(PAGE_SIZE&-PAGE_SIZE). Or if we did something like define PAGE_SIZE
> > as ((libc.page_size&-libc.page_size)==libc.page_size ? libc.page_size
> > : 1/0) so that "PAGE_SIZE is not a power of 2" would become an
> > unreachable case.
> 
> Interesting. It seems GCC figures out the division by zero is unreachable but the (n&-n) expression leads to a power of two, not to a  log2 n so the ctz is still required.
> 
> - https://cx.rv8.io/g/eHf2Ah
> 
>  One could do so once at initialisation time and add PAGE_SHIFT and on architectures with variable page sizes do this:
> 
> #define PAGE_SHIFT libc.page_shift
> 
> diff --git a/src/env/__libc_start_main.c b/src/env/__libc_start_main.c
> index 2d758af..f24d10a 100644
> --- a/src/env/__libc_start_main.c
> +++ b/src/env/__libc_start_main.c
> @@ -29,6 +29,7 @@ void __init_libc(char **envp, char *pn)
>         __hwcap = aux[AT_HWCAP];
>         __sysinfo = aux[AT_SYSINFO];
>         libc.page_size = aux[AT_PAGESZ];
> +       libc.page_shift = a_ctz_l(libc.page_size);
>  
>         if (!pn) pn = (void*)aux[AT_EXECFN];
>         if (!pn) pn = "";
> 
> That isolates the a_ctz_l to one place.

Is there a reason it makes a difference? The operation involves a
syscall so the cost of a division is going to be dominated by the
syscall. If you're calling this repeatedly/in a loop, your program is
going to be super slow with or without the division.

Rich

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