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Joined: 11 Mar 2006
Posts: 55
Location: Cuba
flash 31 May 2010, 06:15
I make some test last minutes to present on class an example of how assembly code runs faster than any other code. I try fasm ELF code like:
format ELF executable 3
entry start

segment readable executable

        mov     ecx,1000000000
        fld     [r]
        fmul    st0,st0
        fmul    st0,st1
        fstp    [area]
        loopd   CICLO

        mov     eax,1
        xor     ebx,ebx
        int     0x80

segment readable writeable

r       dd 1.25
area    dd 0.0

Against that C code:
void main()
        int i;
        float r=1.25;
        float area=0.0;
        float pi=3.14159265;
        for ( i=0 ; i<1000000000 ; i++)

But... SURPRISELY!!!Shocked the C program is wide faster than assembly one. Why is this happening? Which kind of optimization is performed by gcc? How I can optimize de fasm code to achive at least equal performance than C code. Thanks in advance
Post 31 May 2010, 06:15
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When all else fails, read the source

Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 19102
Location: In your JS exploiting you and your system
revolution 31 May 2010, 06:28
Get a disassembly listing of the C generated code. I expect you will find that the loop is completely eliminated from the code since it produces no output.

Try using something like this:
        for ( i=0 ; i<1000000000 ; i++)
        printf ("area=%f",area)
You might also need to mark r or pi as volatile to force the compiler to generate the loop code.
Post 31 May 2010, 06:28
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Your code has a bug

Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 4624
Location: Argentina
LocoDelAssembly 31 May 2010, 07:42
Still, I'm quite sure the C compiler is very likely to do better job than the assembly version, I don't think that, for instance, "area" won't gonna be registered, pi will be reloaded always and pi*r*r will be recalculated in each iteration instead of moving it at for "prolog". At least one of those inefficiencies GCC will optimize out.

PS: What I've said above is only valid for the case of consuming the for-loop output, using volatile variables could indeed make the compiler be beaten by the Assembly version (for instance, GCC may be forced to access R twice from before when multiplying instead of once as the Assembly code)

PS2: (last I hope) The Assembly version is using two fp registers per iteration but releasing only one. After enough iterations, the result will be just a NaN and the processor probably will take more time executing the FPU instructions because of that (besides the before mentioned inefficiencies). Note that you have to fix this for correctness sake as you are not producing a valid result.
Post 31 May 2010, 07:42
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Posts: 214
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Endre 31 May 2010, 08:45
I don't know how you've compiled your c-file with gcc, but depending whether you use any optimization switches or not the result can be very different. For instance if you apply -O2 then nothing will be computed in run-time since "pi" and "r" are assumed to be constants (they don't change), thus the compiler eliminates the whole loop and the computation.

If you want to see what gcc generates then just use objdump -S my_file | less

On the other hand if you don't apply any optimization switch then it shan't be quicker than your assembly program.
If you really want to demonstrate how faster your assembly program is then try writing a c-code which makes the compiler believe that it is really a sane c-program and cannot be optimized to zero (as the compiler did with your current c-program).
Post 31 May 2010, 08:45
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