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GCC Developers' Summit, Day 1

  • 22nd Jun, 2005 at 11:59 PM

On Wednesday, we showed up reasonably early (but not at all bright) to the registration desk. It was very nice to see steph_grrl again and I had a very nice chat as I signed in. With my loot bag in one hand and my laptop in the other, I joined my roommates for breakfast. Which was a mistake.

After a disasterous meal, even for an iron stomach as mine, we made our way to the talks. Several of them were quite good:

C/C++ Compatibility on Linux, Requirements, Achievements and Prospects
was a very interesting talk by Joe Goodman and David Moore. They talked about a method to easily version the symbols in C++, which would be quite beneficial to ABI stability for libraries. I have a personal interest in this, of course, because WvStreams is a C++ library. After the talk, I took David out to lunch at the Horn of Africa, where we hashed out some of the finer points of his proposal. I definitely look forward to seeing some of his patches on the mailing lists.
Cache Aware Data Layout Reorganization Optimzation in GCC
was presented by Mostafa Hagog and Caroline Tice. Their talk was about changing data structures at compile-time to improve data locality. The idea is to profile large data-structures to see which fields were accessed closely and to reorder or split up these data-structures. This way, they can allocate the sub-fields close together on the heap.
Yet Another GCC Register Allocator
was the topic of Vladimir Makarov's talk. Practically everyone has noticed that the new optimizations that GCC 4.0 puts out really stresses out the register allocator on machines with high register pressure. And since the x86 and x86-64 architectures suffer the most from this, they're not really seeing very good performance improvements with the modern compiler. Vladimir talked about his idea for how to rewrite the register allocator and we all wished him the very best of luck.

Once talks had finished, Jeff and I invited some people over to our hotel room for dinner. We then dashed off to the market to pick up some ingredients and dashed back to the hotel room. Now I must admit that going to a conference with me is not very usual. You're supposed to go out for dinner to a restaurant and expense your meals. Sadly, I have discovered that restaurant dining is either expensive, horrible, or (with sad frequency) both. At 18:30, Andrew Hutton, Jody McIntyre, Angie Thomas, Zack Weinberg, Carlos O'Donnel and Christine showed up for dinner. We served an appetizer of blue corn nachos, followed by soft-tacos, and finished with sorbet. This was very well received and segued into a wonderful evening of geeking out.

I'll spare you most of the details for three reasons: (a) this conversation was quite obscure, (b) this conversation was sometimes racy (except when locking was involved), and (c) I was having difficulty retaining consciousness. I did enjoy the evening though, and I suspect our guests did as well.