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Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2012 09:58:12 +0530
From: Sayantan Datta <>
Subject: Re: bitslice DES on GPU

Hi Milen,

On Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 3:02 AM, Milen Rangelov <> wrote:

> Hello,
> I did not follow the whole thread (and I should have, bitslice DES on GPU
> sounds interesting, I did not manage to make it practical though :( ).
> Why do you want to patch your kernels?
> I used to patch the kernel binaries for BFI (before AMD mapped it to
> bitselect()). It was not the IL code that was being patched, it's rather
> the binary. I have never patched the AMDIL part. Binary patching is easy
> because the kernels themselves were coded in a way that all that we needed
> was to replace one instruction with another. The kernel binary is an ELF
> file indeed, and from what I remember, it had one or more embedded ELF data
> in it, so it's like ELF inside ELF. The general idea was to find all
> occurences of the instruction to replace and change it with another
> instruction (BFI) that had the same number of operands. There were several
> potential candidates for such "replacement" instructions, but the
> BYTEALIGN_INT one was best as it was easy to have it generated from OpenCL
>  code (by using an AMD extension to OpenCL). The VLIW5/VLIW4 ISA is in fact
> simple, instructions are always 64bit (though they may have 2 or more
> operands) and part of it is the instruction ID, src/dst register ids, some
> flags, etc. By exploiting the fact that the instruction id part is known
> and some flags should have fixed value, you can (heuristically) find and
> replace your instructions.
> In fact I had several versions of this, the first version was dumb. It
> assumed the ISA code started right after the ELF header and since that's
> not true, it tried several alignments and chose the one that produced most
> "instructions found" results. This of course was error-prone and I had to
> implement per-kernel quirks that failed often :) Then I decided that it
> would be better if we parse the ELF file better to find exactly where the
> text section of the kernel lies. I failed a lot of times (most of them
> ended with GPU crashes :) ) until I found out a bitcoin miner code that
> _reliably_ patched the BFI thing. Then I was rather surprised to find out
> that we have the ELF-inside-ELF situation. Once I understood that, I was
> finally able to find out where the binary code starts so that I could
> reliably patch the opcode.
> Note that this is a rather simple case, for more advanced binary patching,
> this would become much more complex. I've seen in the AMD forums some
> people posting stuff about IL patching inside kernel. I don't really know
> how that works. Perhaps they compile from source, patch the IL section
> inside binary, strip the text section, then again pass that to
> clBuildProgram to get the final binary, but I am not quite sure about this.
> Regards,
> Milen
>>> I know some people "binary patch" AMD kernels for BFI and stuff but I
>>> always thought they actually patch IL code in an ELF binary file and then
>>> load that. This will of course be a lot faster than actually recompiling so
>>> it might be a better alternative (of course vendor dependent, but I think
>>> that currently goes for any method).
>>> I bet Milen would know for sure how to proceed.
>>> My task is even simpler though. I only need to replace a set of compile
time constants. Using build options I can eliminate the source,llvmir
,amdil sections and keep only the text/ISA section in the binaries. My
problem is that I cannot pinpoint any location for patching. First I search
for an integer constant in binaries and came up with a set of locations
where I can find that integer. Next I change the constant and do the search
again to get a second set of locations. But I couldn't find any common
location between the two sets.  Should I be looking for  character
equivalent of integers(like what we do for text files e.g string matching )
instead of searching binary integers in the header ?



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