As far as I know, reference/pointer aliasing can hinder the compiler's ability to generate optimized code, since they must ensure the generated binary behaves correctly in the case where the two references/pointers indeed alias. For instance, in the following C code,

void adds(int  *a, int *b) {
    *a += *b;
    *a += *b;
}

when compiled by clang version 6.0.0-1ubuntu2 (tags/RELEASE_600/final) with the -O3 flag, it emits

0000000000000000 :
   0:    8b 07                    mov    (%rdi),%eax
   2:    03 06                    add    (%rsi),%eax
   4:    89 07                    mov    %eax,(%rdi)  # The first time
   6:    03 06                    add    (%rsi),%eax
   8:    89 07                    mov    %eax,(%rdi)  # The second time
   a:    c3                       retq

Here the code stores back to (%rdi) twice in case int *a and int *b alias.

When we explicitly tell the compiler that these two pointers cannot alias with the restrict keyword:

void adds(int * restrict a, int * restrict b) {
    *a += *b;
    *a += *b;
}

Then Clang will emit a more optimized version of the binary code:

0000000000000000 :
   0:    8b 06                    mov    (%rsi),%eax
   2:    01 c0                    add    %eax,%eax
   4:    01 07                    add    %eax,(%rdi)
   6:    c3                       retq

Since Rust makes sure (except in unsafe code) that two mutable references cannot alias, I would think that the compiler should be able to emit the more optimized version of the code.

When I test with the code below and compile it with rustc 1.35.0 with -C opt-level=3 --emit obj,

#![crate_type = "staticlib"]
#[no_mangle]
fn adds(a: &mut i32, b: &mut i32) {
    *a += *b;
    *a += *b;
}

it generates:

0000000000000000 :
   0:    8b 07                    mov    (%rdi),%eax
   2:    03 06                    add    (%rsi),%eax
   4:    89 07                    mov    %eax,(%rdi)
   6:    03 06                    add    (%rsi),%eax
   8:    89 07                    mov    %eax,(%rdi)
   a:    c3                       retq

This does not take advantage of the guarantee that a and b cannot alias.

Is this because the current Rust compiler is still in development and has not yet incorporated alias analysis to do the optimization?

Is this because there is still a chance that a and b could alias, even in safe Rust?

Ответы (1)

Rust originally did enable LLVM's noalias attribute, but this caused miscompiled code. When all supported LLVM versions no longer miscompile the code, it will be re-enabled.

If you add -Zmutable-noalias=yes to the compiler options, you get the expected assembly:

adds:
        mov     eax, dword ptr [rsi]
        add     eax, eax
        add     dword ptr [rdi], eax
        ret

Simply put, Rust put the equivalent of C's restrict keyword everywhere, far more prevalent than any usual C program. This exercised corner cases of LLVM more than it was able to handle correctly. It turns out that C and C++ programmers simply don't use restrict as frequently as &mut is used in Rust.

This has happened multiple times.

  • Rust 1.0 through 1.7 — noalias enabled
  • Rust 1.8 through 1.27 — noalias disabled
  • Rust 1.28 through 1.29 — noalias enabled
  • Rust 1.30 through 1.54 — noalias disabled
  • Rust 1.54 through ??? — noalias conditionally enabled depending on the version of LLVM the compiler uses

Related Rust issues

2022 WebDevInsider