EuroLLVM 2014

28 April 2014

2014’s EuroLLVM was a special one for us here at Codeplay, as this year the event was hosted in our home city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Those who attended will have noted the not inconsiderable number of Codeplayers at the conference which amounted to thirty out of around two hundred. Of those thirty, three of our esteemed colleagues: Marcello Maggioni, Fraser Cormack, and Pierre-André Saulais, presented talks over the two days.

The University of Edinburgh kindly provided the venue for proceedings, and many thanks to the organisers, headed by Tobias Edler von Koch of the University, for their efforts and hospitality. Likewise thanks to our fellow event sponsors: ARM, QuiC, HSA Foundation, Google, Parrot, and SICSA. For more information on the conference including presentation slides (video coming soon) visit the EuroLLVM 2014 developer meeting site.

It was a pleasure speaking to all the attendees at The Hacker’s Lab at the beginning of day one, as usual this was a great opportunity to make acquaintances new and old. Prior to the conference, the formation of The LLVM Foundation was announced by Chris Lattner, and the keynote was given by a member of the board of directors, Chandler Carruth. He presented the first installment of a multi-part series detailing the current state of Passes in LLVM, filling a gap in the knowledge base surrounding this integral component of LLVM and paving the way for the forthcoming upgrade to the pass infrastructure.

At this point, Marcello Maggioni came to the fore with his presentation on Branching in Data-Parallel Languages using Predication with LLVM. His talk focused on a method of linearizing instructions, thereby removing branches, in preparation for execution on data-parallel hardware, such as a GPUs. Day one ended with a champagne dinner at the National Museum of Scotland, which provided an excellent backdrop to the stimulating conversation in all directions.

Greg Bedwell stole the show on the morning of day two with his post-mortem of the PlayStation®4 CPU Toolchain. The Compiler Engineer and Optimizer Team Leader at SN Systems dove deep into the production of the platform's tools, citing the success stories through to the problems encountered and areas which can be improved. Greg also announced his team's intention to contribute to upstream LLVM, with the help of Sony Computer Entertainment’s global community of games developers.

Rounding off day two in style, our own Fraser Cormack and Pierre-André Saulais co-hosted a tutorial on Building an LLVM Backend, a crash course for beginners. Together with the source code for the llvm-leg backend, this step by step guide provides an excellent starting point for any budding compiler developers. Check out the slides and look forward to the video (coming soon). One conference attendee was overheard saying “that was the best backend talk yet!” To whomever that was, thank you and goodnight.

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Kenneth Benzie's Avatar

Kenneth Benzie

Senior Software Engineer, Vulkan & SPIR-V