Please provide a short (approximately 100 word) summary of the following web Content, written in the voice of the original author. If there is anything controversial please highlight the controversy. If there is something surprising, unique, or clever, please highlight that as well. Content: Title: What's new for RISC-V in LLVM 16 Site: What's new for RISC-V in LLVM 16 2023Q1 . LLVM 16.0.0 was just released today , and as I did for LLVM 15 , I wanted to highlight some of the RISC-V specific changes and improvements. This is very much a tour of a chosen subset of additions rather than an attempt to be exhaustive. If you're interested in RISC-V, you may also want to check out my recent attempt to enumerate the commercially available RISC-V SoCs and if you want to find out what's going on in LLVM as a whole on a week-by-week basis, then I've got the perfect newsletter for you . In case you're not familiar with LLVM's release schedule, it's worth noting that there are two major LLVM releases a year (i.e. one roughly every 6 months) and these are timed releases as opposed to being cut when a pre-agreed set of feature targets have been met. We're very fortunate to benefit from an active and growing set of contributors working on RISC-V support in LLVM projects, who are responsible for the work I describe below - thank you! I coordinate biweekly sync-up calls for RISC-V LLVM contributors, so if you're working in this area please consider dropping in . Documentation LLVM 16 is the first release featuring a user guide for the RISC-V target ( 16.0.0 version , current HEAD . This fills a long-standing gap in our documentation, whereby it was difficult to tell at a glance the expected level of support for the various RISC-V instruction set extensions (standard, vendor-specific, and experimental extensions of either type) in a given LLVM release. We've tried to keep it concise but informative, and add a brief note to describe any known limitations that end users should know about. Thanks again to Philip Reames for kicking this off, and the reviewers and contributors for ensuring it's kept up to date. Vectorization LLVM 16 was a big release for vectorisation. As well as a long-running strand of work making incremental improvements (e.g. better cost modelling) and fixes, scalable vectorization was enabled by default . This allows LLVM's loop vectorizer to use scalable vectors when profitable. Follow-on work enabled support for loop vectorization using fixed length vectors and disabled vectorization of epilogue loops . See the talk optimizing code for scalable vector architectures ( slides ) by Sander de Smalen for more information about scalable vectorization in LLVM and introduction to the RISC-V vector extension by Roger Ferrer Ibáñez for an overview of the vector extension and some of its codegen challenges. The RISC-V vector intrinsics supported by Clang have changed (to match e.g. this and this ) during the 16.x development process in a backwards incompatible way, as the RISC-V Vector Extension Intrinsics specification evolves towards a v1.0. In retrospect, it would have been better to keep the intrinsics behind an experimental flag when the vector codegen and MC layer (assembler/disassembler) support became stable, and this is something we'll be more careful of for future extensions. The good news is that thanks to Yueh-Ting Chen, headers are available that provide the old-style intrinsics mapped to the new version. Support for new instruction set extensions I refer to 'experimental' support many times below. See the documentation on experimental extensions within RISC-V LLVM for guidance on what that means. One point to highlight is that the extensions remain experimental until they are ratified, which is why some extensions on the list below are 'experimental' despite the fact the LLVM support needed is trivial. On to the list of newly added instruction set extensions: Experimental support for the Zca, Zcf, and Zcd instruction set extensions. These are all 16-bit instructions and are being defined as part of the output of the RISC-V code size reduction working group. Zca is just a subset of the standard 'C' compressed instruction set extension but without floating point loads/stores. Zcf is also a subset of the standard 'C' compressed instruction set extension, including just the single precision floating point loads and stores ( c.flw , c.flwsp , c.fsw , c.fswsp ). Zcd, as you might have guessed, just includes the double precision floating point loads and stores from the standard 'C' compressed instruction set extension ( c.fld , c.fldsp , c.fsd , c.fsdsp ). Experimental support for the Zihintntl instruction set extension. This provides a small set of instructions that can be used to hint that the memory accesses of the following instruction exhibits poor temporal locality. Experimental support for the Zawrs instruction set extension, providing a pair of instructions meant for use in a polling loop allowing a core to enter a low-power state and wait on a store to a memory location. Experimental support for the Ztso extension, which for now just means setting the appropriate ELF header flag. If a core implements Ztso, it implements the Total Store Ordering memory consistency model. Future releases will provide alternate lowerings of atomics operations that take advantage of this. Code generation support for the Zfhmin extension (load/store, conversion, and GPR/FPR move support for 16-bit floating point values). Codegen and assembler/disassembler support for the XVentanaCondOps vendor extension, which provides conditional arithmetic and move/select operations. Codegen and assembler/disassembler support for the XTHeadVdot vendor extension, which implements vector integer four 8-bit multiple and 32-bit add. LLDB LLDB has started to become usable for RISC-V in this period due to work by contributor 'Emmer'. As they summarise here , LLDB should be usable for debugging RV64 programs locally but support is lacking for remote debug (e.g. via the gdb server protocol). During the LLVM 16 development window, LLDB gained support for software single stepping on RISC-V , support in EmulateInstructionRISCV for RV{32,64}I , as well as extensions A and M , C , RV32F and RV64F , and D . Short forward branch optimisation Another improvement that's fun to look more closely at is support for "short forward branch optimisation" for the SiFive 7 series cores. What does this mean? Well, let's start by looking at the problem it's trying to solve. The base RISC-V ISA doesn't include conditional moves or predicated instructions, which can be a downside if your code features unpredictable short forward branches (with the ensuing cost in terms of branch mispredictions and bloating branch predictor state). The ISA spec includes commentary on this decision (page 23), noting some disadvantages of adding such instructions to the specification and noting microarchitectural techniques exist to convert short forward branches into predicated code internally. In the case of the SiFive 7 series, this is achieved using macro-op fusion where a branch over a single ALU instruction is fused and executed as a single conditional instruction. In the LLVM 16 cycle, compiler optimisations targeting this microarchitectural feature were enabled for conditional move style sequences (i.e. branch over a register move) as well as for other ALU operations . The job of the compiler here is of course to emit a sequence compatible with the micro-architectural optimisation when possible and profitable. I'm not aware of other RISC-V designs implementing a similar optimisation - although there are developments in terms of instructions to support such operations directly in the ISA which would avoid the need for such microarchitectural tricks. See XVentanaCondOps , XTheadCondMov , the previously proposed but now abandoned Zbt extension (part of the earlier bitmanip spec) and more recently the proposed Zicond (integer conditional operations) standard extension. Atomics It's perhaps not surprising that code generation for atomics can be tricky to understand, and the LLVM documentation on atomics codegen and libcalls is actually one of the best references on the topic I've found. A particularly important note in that document is that if a backend supports any inline lock-free atomic operations at a given size, all operations of that size must be supported in a lock-free manner. If targeting a RISC-V CPU without the atomics extension, all atomics operations would usually be lowered to __atomic_* libcalls. But if we know a bit more about the target, it's possible to do better - for instance, a single-core microcontroller could implement an atomic operation in a lock-free manner by disabling interrupts (and conventionally, lock-free implementations of atomics are provided through __sync_* libcalls). This kind of setup is exactly what the +forced-atomics feature enables, where atomic load/store can be lowered to a load/store with appropriate fences (as is supported in the base ISA) while other atomic operations generate a __sync_* libcall. There's also been a very minor improvement for targets with native atomics support (the 'A' instruction set extension) that I may as well mention while on the topic. As you might know, atomic operations such as compare and swap that are lowered to an instruction sequence involving lr.{w,d} (load reserved) and sc.{w,d} (store conditional). There are very specific rules about these instruction sequences that must be met to align with the architectural forward progress guarantee (section 8.3, page 51), which is why we expand to a fixed instruction sequence at a very late stage in compilation (see original RFC ). This means the sequence of instructions implementing the atomic operation are opaque to LLVM's optimisation passes and are treated as a single unit. The obvious disadvantage of avoiding LLVM's optimisations is that sometimes there are optimisations that would be helpful and wouldn't break that forward-progress guarantee. One that came up in real-world code was the lack of branch folding, which would have simplified a branch in the expanded cmpxchg sequence that just targets another branch with the same condition (by just folding in the eventual target). With some relatively simple logic , this suboptimal codegen is resolved. ; Before