Register Allocation and Phase Interactions in Retargetable Optimizing Compilers

Benitez, Manuel Enrique, Department of Computer Science, University of Virginia
Davidson, Jack, Department of Computer Science, University of Virginia

Retargetability is increasingly becoming a necessary property in optimizing compilers. Because register allocation is essential to high-quality code generation, compilers whose register allocators assume a particular register file organization sacrifice retargetability. Also, the strategies used to allocate registers on optimizing compilers that incorporate many code improvement phases tend to over-commit register resources and expect the register assigner to compensate for poor allocation decisions. State-of-the-art register assignment techniques can compensate to a point, but invariably emit poor code when confronted with small register sets or very high register demand. The research presented here will show that:
• when simplicity, retargetability, code quality and execution time are considered, a simple register allocation strateg that allocates registers on a first-come, first-served basis while preventing the code improvement phases from over-committing the registers is the most effective of the various retargetable register allocation techniques evaluated,
• phase iteration, a technique that re-attempts code improvements as additional opportunities to apply them arise, is an effective way of reducing interactions between the tasks performed by an optimizing compiler and simplify the ordering of these tasks,
• it is possible to integrate the code improvement and register allocation tasks performed by an optimizing compiler in order to improve the quality of the code produced by the compiler and increase its retargetability, and
• machine-level global code improvement techniques allow retargetable optimizing compilers to produce code whose quality meets or exceeds the quality of the code produced by traditional production compilers.
This dissertation also includes a detailed description of the experimental frameworks and the register deprivation measurement techniques that were developed to support the design, implementation and evaluation of the machine-level register allocation and code improvements algorithms presented here.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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