WCET-aware Register Allocation based on Integer-Linear Programming

Heiko Falk,  Norman Schmitz,  Florian Schmoll
TU Dortmund, Computer Science 12


Current compilers lack precise timing models guiding their built-in optimizations. Hence, compilers apply ad-hoc heuristics during optimization to improve code quality. One of the most important optimizations is register allocation. Many compilers heuristically decide when and where to spill a register to memory, without having a clear understanding of the impact of such spill code on a program's runtime.
This paper presents an integer-linear programming (ILP) based register allocator that uses precise worst-case execution time (WCET) models. Using this WCET timing data, the compiler avoids spill code generation along the critical path defining a program's WCET. To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first one to present a WCET-aware ILP-based register allocator. Our results underline the effectiveness of the proposed techniques. For a total of 55 realistic benchmarks, we reduced WCETs by 20.2% on average and ACETs by 14%, compared to a standard graph coloring allocator. Furthermore, our ILP-based register allocator outperforms a WCET-aware graph coloring allocator by more than a factor of two for the considered benchmarks, while requiring less runtime.