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A Tool for Navigating Complex Computer Instructions

Intel processor

The VeGen vectorizer generates assembly code for Intel processors.

Credit: Getty Images

Scientists from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a way to navigate the complexity of supporting new Intel microprocessor instructions. The VeGen tool automatically generates compiler plugins to effectively use more complicated instructions.

VeGen takes in the same documentation that Intel gives to software developers, and automatically generates a compiler plugin that lets the compiler exploit non-Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions. The tool is described in "VeGen: A Vectorizer Generator for SIMD and Beyond," published in the Proceedings of the 26th ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems.

"With the advent of complex instructions, it's become hard for compiler developers to keep code generation strategies up-to-date in order to harness the full potential supported by the underlying hardware," says Charith Mendis, professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an author on a paper. "VeGen's approach . . .  alleviates this burden by automatically generating parts of the compiler responsible for identifying code sequences that can exploit new hardware features."

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