Version 7 (modified by 4 years ago) (diff)  ,

Implementing primitive Bool#
This page gathers the notes about implementing primitive logical operations and thus resolving ticket #6135.
The problem
Consider following fragment of code:
case (x <# 0#)  (x >=# width)  (y <# 0#)  (y >=# height) of True > E1 False > E2
This kind of code is common in image processing (and array programming in general) where one needs to check whether the (x,y)
coordinates are within the image. Primitive comparison operators <#
and >=#
have type Int# > Int# > Bool
. Logical OR operator ()
is defined as:
() :: Bool > Bool > Bool True  _ = True False  x = x
in GHC.Classes (ghcprim library) which is equivalent of:
() x y = case x of True > True False > y
During the compilation process (assuming the optimizations are turned on) the definition of ()
gets inlined and then caseofcase transform is performed successively. This results in following Core (cleaned up for clarity):
case <# x 0 of _ { False > case >=# x width of _ { False > case <# y 0 of _ { False > case >=# y height of _ { False > E2 True > E1 }; True > E1 }; True > E1 }; True > E1 };
and in following assembler code:
.Lc1rf: testq %r14,%r14 jl .Lc1rk cmpq %rdi,%r14 jge .Lc1rp testq %rsi,%rsi jl .Lc1ru cmpq %r8,%rsi jge .Lc1rz movl $Main_g2_closure+1,%ebx jmp *0(%rbp) .Lc1rk: movl $Main_g1_closure+1,%ebx jmp *0(%rbp) .Lc1rp: movl $Main_g1_closure+1,%ebx jmp *0(%rbp) .Lc1ru: movl $Main_g1_closure+1,%ebx jmp *0(%rbp) .Lc1rz: movl $Main_g1_closure+1,%ebx jmp *0(%rbp)
There are five possible branches to take, although four of them have the same result. This is caused by code duplication introduced by caseofcase transform (see this blog post for a step by step derivation). According to Ben Lippmeier, who submitted the original bug report, mispredicted branches are bad in object code because they stall the pipeline.
Possible solutions and their consequences
Unnecessary branches could be eliminated by introducing primitive logical operators AND, OR and NOT (they will be denoted as #
, &&#
and not#
respectively). These operators would be strict and treat their logical parameters as unboxed integers (1#
for True
and 0#
for False
). Result would be produced by using lowlevel bitwise operations. This means that if logical operators were chained together like in a given example only the final result would have to be inspected and thus only one branch would be necessary.
Note (Jan Stolarek): My first thought was that introducing primitve logical operators will require changing Bool
data type to a primitive unboxed version. This might not be the case. Please treat two solution apporaches as possibly wrong.
First approach
Treat Bool
as a boxed version of primitive Bool#
. True
would be equivalent of B# True#
, False
of B# False#
:
data Bool = B# True#  B# False#  B# :: Bool# > Bool
Not sure if this can be considered equivalent to what the Haskell Report says about Bool. We need to ensure that Bool#
is populated only by True#
and False#
and that these two are translated to 1#
and 0#
in the Core. It should be impossible to write such a function at Haskell level:
g :: Bool > Int > Int g (B# b) (I# i) = I# (b + i)
This approach might require one additional case expression to inspect the value of Bool
at the Core level. For example:
f :: Int > Int > Int f x y = if x > y then x else y
would compile to:
case x of _ { I# xP > case y of _ { I# yP > case ># xP yP of _ { B# bP > case bP of _ { 1# > e1; 0# > e2 } } } }
This would complicate Core a bit but it should be possible to compile such Core to exactly the same result as with normal Bool
. This code assumes that >#
has type Int# > Int# > Bool
, but to truly avoid branching in the Core we need .># :: Int# > Int# > Bool#
so that we get a primitive value that doesn't need to be inspected using case expression but can be directly used by primitive logical operators.
Second approach
Second approach assumes creating type Bool#
that is independent of type Bool
. Boxing and unboxing would have to be done explicitly via additional functions:
data Bool = True  False  no changes here bBox :: Bool# > Bool bBox 1# = True bBox 0# = False bUnbox :: Bool > Bool# bUnbox True = 1# bUnbox False = 0#
Bool#
could not be implemented as an ADT because it is unlifted and unboxed, while ADT value constructors need to be boxed and lifted (see comments in compiler/types/TyCon.lhs). There would need to be some magical way of ensuring that Bool#
is populated only by #0
and 1#
and that these values cannot be mixed with unboxed integers. Perhaps this could be done by preventing programmer from explicitly creating values of that type (can this be done?) and allow her only to use values returned from functions.
# and &&# with type Int# > Int# > Int#  it is questionable whether anyone would want such operations available to the programmer. I think it is desirable to have primitive logical operators of type Bool# > Bool# > Bool# .

Places of interest in the source code
The file prelude/primops.txt.pp defines PrimOps and their type signatures. An example definition looks like this:
primop IntGtOp ">#" Compare Int# > Int# > Bool with fixity = infix 4
Existing definitions should remain unchanged or the code using them would break and that is a Very Bad Thing. This would require creating new PrimOps:
primop IntGtOpB ".>#" Compare Int# > Int# > Bool# with fixity = infix 4
The tricky part here is Compare
. This a value constructor of PrimOpInfo
data type defined in prelude/PrimOp.lhs:
data PrimOpInfo = Dyadic OccName  string :: T > T > T Type  Monadic OccName  string :: T > T Type  Compare OccName  string :: T > T > Bool Type  GenPrimOp OccName  string :: \/a1..an . T1 > .. > Tk > T [TyVar] [Type] Type
We would need new PrimOpInfo
value to denote PrimOps of type T > T > Bool#
. Appropriate functions like primOpSig
and getPrimOpResultInfo
would have to be adjusted accordingly.
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