[Haifux] [HAIFUX LECTURE] Compiling Effectively for Cell with GCC

Orna Agmon Ben-Yehuda ladypine at gmail.com
Sun May 31 09:46:22 IDT 2009

Hello all,

This is the abstract of tomorrow's talk:

Title: "Compiling Effectively for Cell with GCC"
Ira Rosen, David Edelsohn, Ben Elliston, Revital Eres, Alan Modra, Dorit
Nuzman, Ulrich Weigand, and Ayal Zaks. CPC 2009

In this talk I describe several techniques that we developed to support the
generation of high quality code for the Cell Broadband Engine, addressing
of its key challenges and advantages.
The architecture of the Cell Broadband Engine developed jointly by Sony,
Toshiba, and IBM, represents a new direction in processor design.
In addition to a PowerPC-compatible Power Processor Element (PPE) the Cell
architecture features an array of eight Synergistic Processor
Elements (SPEs) supporting a new SIMD instruction set.
Each SPE consists of a Synergistic Processor Unit (SPU) and a memory-flow
controller (MFC).

Load and store instructions of an SPE access a local store of 256KB private
to the SPE.
The SPE instruction text itself must reside within its local store as well.
DMA operations provided by the MFC enable the SPE to copy data between its
local store and main storage.
Applications making optimal use of the Cell architecture will comprise of
both PPE and SPE components, requiring tool-chain support for working with
two different instruction set architectures and ABIs in an integrated

The techniques we developed and present include
compiler-assisted accesses to PPE memory from SPE programs,
automatic vectorization enhancements for the SPE, and
support for large SPE programs using compiler and linker
partitioning coupled with an overlay mechanism.
These techniques alleviate the task of programming for Cell by automating
use of SIMD instructions and abstracting the use of DMA transfers between
stores and main memory for both code and data.
I will describe how we incorporated these techniques into the GNU Compiler
Collection (GCC), GNU ld linker, and runtime libraries.


See you there,
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