[RFC] Adding RISC-V Vector support to RTEMS

Ken.Unger at microchip.com Ken.Unger at microchip.com
Fri Apr 5 04:50:15 UTC 2024

Just a late note to say thanks for the direction Sebastien.  What you suggest makes sense to me, requiring (and enforcing) that vector registers not be used within _RISCV_Interrupt_dispatch() while preserving the vector state across _Thread_Do_dispatch().  (ref: cpukit/score/cpu/riscv/riscv-exception-handler.S)

We'll upstream/PR in a few months once we have things cleaned and once you are clear of the gitlab transition.  Related to this, we'll be adding a new RISC-V BSP with some shared/shareable components for RISC-V AIA (Advanced Interrupt Architecture) components APLIC, IMSIC. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Sebastian Huber <sebastian.huber at embedded-brains.de> 
Sent: Friday, March 15, 2024 7:30 AM
To: Ken Unger - C34024 <Ken.Unger at microchip.com>; devel at rtems.org
Subject: Re: [RFC] Adding RISC-V Vector support to RTEMS

Hello Ken,

On 14.03.24 18:33, Ken.Unger at microchip.com wrote:
> Hello RTEMS experts,
> We’re in the process of implementing support for RTEMS on a new RISC-V 
> platform.  Among other things, our processor core supports the RISC-V 
> Vector ISA (RVV), with its 32 vector registers which in our case are 512
> bits (VLEN) deep.   RVV is used by applications to accelerate a variety
> of code/algorithms utilizing either the auto-vectorizer in GCC/Clang, 
> or through C intrinsics or direct assembly coding.
> My query here is regarding context saving, and options for 
> optimization.  Before I get to that, here’s a few points of background.
> #1. Use of RVV by the compiler (GCC/Clang) is dictated by the ISA 
> string provided, e.g -march=rv64imadcv,  where v is for vector.  The 
> compiler preprocessor symbol "__riscv_vector" can then be used for 
> conditionally compiled code, similar to what is done for floating point.
> #2. Enablement of RVV can be controlled via a machine status CSR.   This
> allows one to disable RVV entirely (triggering an exception if RVV 
> instructions are executed), but also allows one to track the 
> dirty/clean state of the vector register file.
> (https://github.com/riscv/riscv-v-spec/blob/master/v-spec.adoc#vector-context-status-in-mstatus <https://github.com/riscv/riscv-v-spec/blob/master/v-spec.adoc#vector-context-status-in-mstatus>).  So, one can conditionally save/restore the registers, although the 2KB of stack space (32 x (512b / 8)) would need to be allocated.
> #3. The C ABI specifies that vector registers are Caller saved.  So, 
> any system call (or any function call for that matter) does not need 
> to preserve these registers.
> A relatively straightforward approach is to say that RTEMS + 
> Application is built with vectors enabled (i.e  -march=rv64imadcv).  
> One does not need to save/restore the vector registers within 
> Context_Control because of #3, however,

Yes, in this case you don't have to save/restore the vector registers in _CPU_Context_switch(). This is similar to the SPARC architecture. For SPARC, we implemented a lazy floating point switch

  * The SPARC ABI is a bit special with respect to the floating point context.
  * The complete floating point context is volatile.  Thus, from an ABI point
  * of view nothing needs to be saved and restored during a context switch.
  * Instead the floating point context must be saved and restored during
  * interrupt processing.  Historically, the deferred floating point switch was
  * used for SPARC and the complete floating point context is saved and
  * restored during a context switch to the new floating point unit owner.
  * This is a bit dangerous since post-switch actions (e.g. signal handlers)
  * and context switch extensions may silently corrupt the floating point
  * context.
  * The floating point unit is disabled for interrupt handlers.  Thus, in case
  * an interrupt handler uses the floating point unit then this will result in a
  * In uniprocessor configurations, a lazy floating point context switch is
  * used.  In case an active floating point thread is interrupted (PSR[EF] == 1)
  * and a thread dispatch is carried out, then this thread is registered as the
  * floating point owner.  When a floating point owner is present during a
  * context switch, the floating point unit is disabled for the heir thread
  * (PSR[EF] == 0).  The floating point disabled trap checks that the use of the
  * floating point unit is allowed and saves/restores the floating point context
  * on demand.
  * In SMP configurations, the deferred floating point switch is not supported
  * in principle.  So, use here a synchronous floating point switching.
  * Synchronous means that the volatile floating point context is saved and
  * restored around a thread dispatch issued during interrupt processing.  Thus
  * post-switch actions and context switch extensions may safely use the
  * floating point unit.
#if SPARC_HAS_FPU == 1
   #if defined(RTEMS_SMP)

For simplicity, we disabled this optimization in SMP configurations. It could be probably used also in SMP configurations, however, this is a bit more complicated if threads move to other cores.

> because we are now building RTEMS with V enabled, we need to add this 
> save/restore to the CPU_Interrupt_frame and incur that
> cost on all interrupts and stack space for all tasks.   (A small
> secondary effect is that CPU_INTERRUPT_FRAME_SIZE is now larger than 
> the immediate addressing range).
> Is there an alternative to consider?   Might one build RTEMS itself
> without V, leaving that only for Applications/Tasks, perhaps adding a 
> Task attribute, and thereby taking the vector save/restore penalty 
> only when switching into or out of a vector enabled task?  (Perhaps 
> similar to HW floating point from the past).  One would then use an 
> RTEMS config flag to enable vector support, although qualified in runtime by
> validating the existence of the vector ISA (misa CSR).    Or maybe that
> direction would require too many changes?  e.g I see that “is_fp” is 
> used more specifically, rather than the more general rtems_attribute 
> in Thread_Control and in the arguments to _Context_Initialize().  
> Anyways, I’m happy to hear any thoughts on this subject.  Note that 
> I’m new to RTEMS, so may not have some past context.

The potential optimizations depend also on how aggressively the vector unit is used by the compiler. On powerpc for example, the AltiVec unit is also used to clear or copy non-vector data. There is also a vrsave register, which helps to optimize the AltiVec context save/restore. If you disable the vector unit for certain jobs (like interrupt handlers, non-vector tasks), then you have to ensure that the compiler doesn't generate vector unit instructions. In theory, you could compile your code with different options. However, during linking you provably have to select the non-vector standard libraries. Specialized numeric libraries may have to be restricted to vector tasks.

 From an RTEMS API point of view, we could simply use the RTEMS_FLOATING_POINT attribute. This is a bit of an issue since POSIX threads use this by default. Maybe it makes sense to introduce a non-standard attribute for POSIX threads to be control this.

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