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GIMPLE is a three-address representation derived from GENERIC by
breaking down GENERIC expressions into tuples of no more than 3
operands (with some exceptions like function calls). GIMPLE was
heavily influenced by the SIMPLE IL used by the McCAT compiler project
at McGill University, though we have made some different choices. For
one thing, SIMPLE doesn't support `goto'.
Temporaries are introduced to hold intermediate values needed to
compute complex expressions. Additionally, all the control structures
used in GENERIC are lowered into conditional jumps, lexical scopes are
removed and exception regions are converted into an on the side
exception region tree.
The compiler pass which converts GENERIC into GIMPLE is referred to as
the `gimplifier'. The gimplifier works recursively, generating GIMPLE
tuples out of the original GENERIC expressions.
One of the early implementation strategies used for the GIMPLE
representation was to use the same internal data structures used by
front ends to represent parse trees. This simplified implementation
because we could leverage existing functionality and interfaces.
However, GIMPLE is a much more restrictive representation than abstract
syntax trees (AST), therefore it does not require the full structural
complexity provided by the main tree data structure.
The GENERIC representation of a function is stored in the
`DECL_SAVED_TREE' field of the associated `FUNCTION_DECL' tree node.
It is converted to GIMPLE by a call to `gimplify_function_tree'.
If a front end wants to include language-specific tree codes in the
tree representation which it provides to the back end, it must provide a
definition of `LANG_HOOKS_GIMPLIFY_EXPR' which knows how to convert the
front end trees to GIMPLE. Usually such a hook will involve much of
the same code for expanding front end trees to RTL. This function can
return fully lowered GIMPLE, or it can return GENERIC trees and let the
main gimplifier lower them the rest of the way; this is often simpler.
GIMPLE that is not fully lowered is known as "High GIMPLE" and consists
of the IL before the pass `pass_lower_cf'. High GIMPLE contains some
container statements like lexical scopes (represented by `GIMPLE_BIND')
and nested expressions (e.g., `GIMPLE_TRY'), while "Low GIMPLE" exposes
all of the implicit jumps for control and exception expressions
directly in the IL and EH region trees.
The C and C++ front ends currently convert directly from front end
trees to GIMPLE, and hand that off to the back end rather than first
converting to GENERIC. Their gimplifier hooks know about all the
`_STMT' nodes and how to convert them to GENERIC forms. There was some
work done on a genericization pass which would run first, but the
existence of `STMT_EXPR' meant that in order to convert all of the C
statements into GENERIC equivalents would involve walking the entire
tree anyway, so it was simpler to lower all the way. This might change
in the future if someone writes an optimization pass which would work
better with higher-level trees, but currently the optimizers all expect
You can request to dump a C-like representation of the GIMPLE form
with the flag `-fdump-tree-gimple'.
* Tuple representation
* GIMPLE instruction set
* GIMPLE Exception Handling
* Manipulating GIMPLE statements
* Tuple specific accessors
* GIMPLE sequences
* Sequence iterators
* Adding a new GIMPLE statement code
* Statement and operand traversals
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