[Haskell-cafe] Re: What I learned from my first serious attempt low-level Haskell programming

Lennart Augustsson lennart at augustsson.net
Thu Apr 5 15:10:11 EDT 2007

It's not that hard to figure out an order to permute the arguments on  
the stack before a tail call that minimizes that number of moves and  
temporary locations.  Lmlc did this 20 years ago. :)

	-- Lennart

On Apr 5, 2007, at 19:17 , Claus Reinke wrote:

>> Stefan O'Rear wrote:
>> > 2. Parameters are very expensive.  Our type of functions that build
>> >    (ignoring CPS for the time being) was MBA# -> Int# ->  
>> [ByteString],
>> >    where the Int# is the current write pointer.  Adding an extra  
>> Int#
>> >    to cache the size of the array (rather than calling sMBA# each
>> >    time) slowed the code down ~2x.  Conversely, moving the write
>> >    pointer into the byte array (storing it in bytes 0#, 1#, 2#, and
>> >    3#) sped the code by 4x.
>> If you were measuring on x86 then parameters are passed on the  
>> stack, which may be expensive.  On x86_64 the first 3 arguments  
>> are passed in registers, which is usually a win, but if the  
>> function immediately does an eval they need to be saved on the  
>> stack anyway.  Still, 4x sounds like a lot, perhaps you managed to  
>> avoid a stack check in the inner loop or something.
> just out of curiosity: what does GHC do with stack parameters in  
> loops/tail calls?
> there tends to be a conflict as the old set of parameters is needed  
> to build the new
> one for the recursive call/next loop iteration, while one wants to  
> get rid of the old set before doing the call. unless one keeps the  
> parameter frames away from the stack,
> or can figure out a safe order in which to overwrite the parameters  
> in the frame,
> that seems to imply some copying, even though that may be cheap for  
> few/small
> parameters per frame.
> many years ago, i saw an abstract machine and RISC processor design  
> aiming for good fp support that used two parameter stacks instead  
> of one for just this reason.
> instead of moving stack frames around on a single stack, parameters  
> were read
> from one stack, and built up on the other, followed by a cheap  
> stack switch before
> the call. perhaps something like this might be of use here, too?
> claus
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