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GCC Summit 2006

  • 11th Jul, 2006 at 7:46 PM

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I look forward to going to Ottawa every June for the GCC Summit. I've gone every year since it started in 2003 and have no intention of stopping. That's because it feels so much like a family reunion. Let me explain.

The core people who have worked on GCC have been doing it for years. They're people who used to work for Cygnus Solutions, back before they were bought out by Red Hat. They're people who work for CodeSourcery. And they're people working for Intel, HP, and IBM who are compiler writers first and employees second. And they all know each other like dysfunctional family.

When I first showed up at the first Summit, Jim and I were the new kids. We had just finished typesetting the Using GCC manual that was published by GNU Press. So I went around absorbing compiler technology by osmosis, and trying to get as many developers to sign by pre-press draft.

The nice thing about the GCC Summit is that there is only one track of talks. So you never have to choose between two talks that you're interested in. It's a little bad though, since you're always tempted to check your e-mail when there's a lull in the interestingness of the presentations.

This year, the focus seemed to be on profiler-driven optimizations. I'm not really sure those are very profitable, as they actually require developers to run their applications as part of the build system. And we all know that humans are lazy. But perhaps I underestimate the heroics that build-systems people will go through to squeeze out that extra ounce of performance.

Danny Berlin and Kenneth Zadeck talked about dataflow analysis and getting rid of the terrible implementation inside GCC. I had heard horror stories about flow.c before, but have yet to actually look inside it. Their talk has disuaded me even more.

The last thing that sticks in my mind is the GDB talk, which seemed to be the only toolchain talk this year. But these things wax and wane.

I skipped out on the afterparty this year, which meant that I couldn't help with the monumental challenge that awaits us after each summit. But I shall return.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
12th Jul, 2006 00:45 (UTC)
This year, the focus seemed to be on profiler-driven optimizations.

This sounds really interesting. Are the presentation slides available afterwards?
12th Jul, 2006 02:41 (UTC)
The proceedings are available in PDF on-line. They make for a fairly interesting read, if you can get past the ugly typesetting. ;)
12th Jul, 2006 00:57 (UTC)
great seeing you
there this year. I was bummed that we didn't get a chance to at least hang out at lunch or dinner.

and yeah, this year seemed to be mostly a between year. the good talks for me were Alex's TLS talk and Diego's gomp talk.

next year should be good though.
12th Jul, 2006 02:41 (UTC)
Re: great seeing you
Yes, yes! I was hoping to hang out with you and was saddened that I wasn't able to.
12th Jul, 2006 01:47 (UTC)
What's the monumental challenge that awaits you?

- Johan
12th Jul, 2006 02:42 (UTC)
Re: Challenge?
You should show up and we'll show you. Just make sure you don't have to leave early, as I did. It's a great conference.
12th Jul, 2006 17:03 (UTC)
Re: Challenge?
Is this, by any chance, the alphabetical monumental challenge?
12th Jul, 2006 17:44 (UTC)
Re: Challenge?

But this year, it was reverse-alphabetical.
12th Jul, 2006 19:29 (UTC)
Profiler-driven optimizations are most useful in libraries and heavily numerical operations like scientific calculations or graphics rendering. The nice thing about these is that you can easily make automated "test programs" that will produce the same information every time.

Think of it like this: "make; make test; make saveprofiler; make clean; make"

That's not so bad.
27th Jul, 2006 22:17 (UTC)
Missed out on Pinski being drunk Pinski
You missed out on a lot with the afterparty.
I should know, I saw Pinski be drunk Pinski.
And besides the girls.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )