[Unix-jun72] status on disassembler

Doug Merritt doug at remarque.org
Wed May 21 03:44:39 EDT 2008

Tim Newsham wrote:
> This is a standard register allocation problem (ie. assigning registers to 

Thanks for the thought, but I don't think it is, quite, in part because
of the presence of backward branches:

	br	1f
	br	2b

Here the 2 could be a 1, despite overlapping ranges:

	br	1f
	br	1b

In standard register allocation, live/dead ranges are forward only:

	mov	$0,r0
	mov	$1,r1
	mov	r0,(sp)+
	mov	r1,(sp)+

r0 and r1 cannot be subsumed into a single register (completely
ignoring the possibility of other optimizations as off topic here).

Perhaps that's merely a superficial difference, but it's enough
to confuse my thinking so far, if so.

To further complicate things, it would be especially nice to allocate
labels not just in a legal way (that preserves the semantics of the
program), but actually in a way as similar as possible to the way that 
humans were doing so, for the sake of improved reconstruction. (A
complication with *that* is that, in some cases, the labels are
obviously subtopimal, presumably due to the historical sequence of edits.)

Some adaptation of e.g. graph coloring might conceivably do fine at the
former but not the latter, so if I succeeded at the first I would
still want to keep improving it in the direction of the second.

P.S. And obviously it would yield to a big enough hammer (dynamic
programming, exhaustive backtracking, genetic algorithms, simulated
annealing, etc), but I dislike the idea. I'm currently pondering
establishing a partial order and using a nice simple topological sort,
and/or attempting a simulation of how a human might go about it --
which might end up being the simplest way to accomplish both goals.
Professional Wild-eyed Visionary        Member, Crusaders for a Better Tomorrow

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