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Subject: Re: [boost] Going forward with Boost.SIMD
From: Marc Glisse (marc.glisse_at_[hidden])
Date: 2013-04-18 19:29:10

On Thu, 18 Apr 2013, Mathias Gaunard wrote:

> Development of Boost.SIMD will still proceed, aiming for integration in
> Boost, but standardization appears to be definitely out of the question.
> Any feedback of the API presented in the proposal is welcome.
> <>

Copying here my earlier comments so they are in the same place as others'.
Some of them are only relevant for standardization, not for a boost library.


a few comments while reading N3571.

pack<T,N> seems more similar to std::array than std::tuple to me. We could
even dream of merging pack and array into a single type. One reason
existing std::array implementations (at least those I know) do not use
vector registers is the ABI. An efficient implementation would pass
function arguments in vector registers, but that would for instance make
x86, mmx, sse, sse2 and avx five incompatible ABIs.

As much as possible, I would like to avoid having a different interface
for vectors and scalars. We have std::min for scalars, we can overload it
for vectors instead of having simd::min. We have ?: for scalars, you don't
need to restrict yourself to a pure library, you can use ?: for vectors as
well instead of if_else, like OpenCL (g++-4.8 also implements that). Why
forbid & for logical? Doesn't hurt to make it equivalent to &&.

For the logical class, you may want to consider sparc VIS as an example
that doesn't use the same registers.

Masking: it is a bit strange to be able to do pack<double> & int but not
double & int. Currently in gcc we require that you (reinterpret) cast the
pack<double> to a pack<some integer>, do the masking and go back. Not very
important though.

Any policy on reinterpret_cast-ing a pack to a pack of a different type?

The description of some overloads of shuffle are hard to read: missing
indices, missing F parameter.

aligned_malloc doesn't exist. aligned_alloc is C11. posix has
posix_memalign. The closest in name is Microsoft's _aligned_malloc.
N3396 might be relevant here.

template < class T , std :: size_t N = unspecified >
struct alignas ( sizeof ( T ) * N ) pack

Do you really want to specify that large an alignment? You give examples
with N=100...

Maybe operator[] const could return by value if it wants to?

Since the splat constructor is implicit, you may not need to document all
the mixed operations.

Calling splat both the idea of copying a single element in all places, and
the idea of converting elementwise, is confusing.

Any notion of a subvector?

For gather and others, the proposal accepts mixing vector sizes. However,
for better performance, we will usually want to use vectors of the same
size. Any convenient way, given a pack type, to ask for a signed integer
pack type of the same size and number of elements?

Reduction: people sometimes come up with proposals for a variadic min/max,
which might interact in funny ways.

cmath functions: it is not clear what signatures are supported, in
particular for functions that use several types (ldexp has double and
int). The list doesn't seem to exactly match cmath, actually. frexp takes
an int*, does the vector version take a pointer to a vector, or some
scatter-like vector?

Traits: are those supposed to be template aliases? Or to derive from what
they are supposed to "return"? Or have a typedef ... type; inside?

For transform and accumulate, I have seen other proposals that specify new
versions more in terms of permissions (what the compiler is allowed to do)
and less implementation. Depending on the tag argument you pass to
transform/accumulate, you give the compiler permission to reorder the
operations, or do other transformations and it then deduces that it can
parallelize and/or vectorize. Looks nice. Note that it doesn't contradict
this proposal, simd::transform can always forward to std::transform(...,
vectorizable_tag()) (or in the reverse direction).

constexpr, noexcept?

That's it for now :-)

Marc Glisse

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