Recompiling DSP applications to x86 using LLVM IR

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Programvara och systemLinköpings universitet/Tekniska högskolan

Abstract: This thesis describes the design and implementation of a prototype LLVM compiler backend, x86-64p, that compiles code written for a DSP architecture, FADER, into executables for the x86-64 architecture. The prototype takes LLVM IR generated for the FADER architecture and compiles x86-64 executables that emulate the properties of the DSP architecture, e.g. the multiple address spaces, the big-endianness and the support for fixed-point arithmetics. The backend is compared to a previous solution, C-Emu, that converts the DSP code to normal C code that is compiled using a normal x86-64 compiler. The two solutions are compared in terms of their correctness, debuggability and performance. The created prototype handles code containing low-level architectural assumptions better than C-Emu. However, the added emulation reduces the debuggability and performance of the generated executables. We have measured a runtime overhead of up to a factor of two compared to C-Emu. We also present some possible solutions for these issues.

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