What Features LLVM/Clang 3.2 Bring To The Table
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler on 23 December 2012 at 01:18 AM EST. 9 Comments
While the features of LLVM 3.2 and its Clang C/C++ compiler front-end have been talked about in numerous Phoronix articles over the past few months, here's an overview of the new features for this open-source compiler infrastructure update that was released on Friday.

Key features for LLVM/Clang 3.2 include:

- An automatic loop vectorizer for delivering some performance improvements. This auto loop vectorizer will be advanced with LLVM 3.3 and then enabled by default while for now it requires a compile-time switch.

- Improved PowerPC processor support.

- Various processor support improvements, such as for Apple's latest ARM SoC and improving the Intel instruction set extension support (AVX2).

- Polly polyhedral optimizations including the integration of the PLUTO support, more MIT-licensed code rather than GPL, isl-based code generation, OpenMP code generation fixes, and other work.

- The new NVPTX back-end was integrated that was supplied by NVIDIA and is used by their OpenCL/CUDA compiler for GPGPU on GeForce/Quadro/Tesla graphics processors.

- Various optimizer improvements, but LLVM/Clang 3.2 compiler benchmarks haven't shown the new release to be dramatically faster than its predecessors for most workloads.

- Improved compiler warnings / debugging information for the Clang compiler front-end.

- DragonEgg, the GCC plug-in that allows using LLVM in GCC for its code generators and optimizers under several different programming languages, now allows for LLVM plug-ins to be loaded, supports thread-local storage models, passes variable life-time information to the LLVM optimizers, and can run with a non-LTO GCC build.

While this is a nice update for the increasingly popular open-source compiler, among the work not found in this new stable release is not yet any mainline OpenMP support with LLVM/Clang, Unified Parallel C, no OpenACC, and the recently-merged AMD Radeon R600 GPU back-end won't appear until LLVM 3.3.

Download the latest release and find out more information from LLVM.org.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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