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RobinsonUK

SLMATH library and SSE optimisation problem.

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I have a problem with the SLMATH library. Not sure if anyone uses it or has used it before? Anyway, the issue is that when I compile with SSE optimisation enabled (in VS 2010), I obviously have to provide a container that has the correct byte alignment for SSE type objects. This is OK because there's a little class in SLMATH that's an aligned vector; it aligns the vector allocation on an 8 byte boundary (i.e. I do not use std::vector<>).

Now the problem is that it appears any structure or class that contains something like slm::mat4 must also be aligned on such a boundary too, before it's put into a collection. So, for example, I used an aligned vector to create an array of slm::mat4, but if I create a class called Mesh, and Mesh contains an slm::mat4 and I want to put Mesh into a std::vector, well, I get strange memory errors whilst debugging.

So given the documentation is very sparse indeed, can anyone who's used this library tell me what, precisely, I have to do to use it with SSE optimisation? I mean I don't like the idea of having to use aligned vectors absolutely everywhere in place of std::vector just in case an slm:: component ends up being encapsulated into a class or structure somehow.

Alternatively, a fast vector/matrix/graphics math library as good as SLMATH would be great if there's on around.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.



Robin

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Actually this is a general problem with putting aligned objects into containers, i.e. a very simple repro case:


[color=gray]#include <vector>

class Item
{

public:

__declspec(align(8))
struct {

float a, b, c, d;

} Aligned;
};


int main()
{
// Error - won't compile.

std::vector<Item> myItems;
}

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std::vector<> doesn't support aligned structures/classes.
Possible hack/workaround is to edit STL code, and add reference in resize(), but that's not very good idea.
You might need to create own container for this.

Sidenote: I think SSE requires 16 byte alignment, not 8 byte.

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Thanks. It does, yes. It's a giant pain, so I think I'll just switch off SSE in the project settings and live without the performance boost.

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Thanks. It does, yes. It's a giant pain, so I think I'll just switch off SSE in the project settings and live without the performance boost.


std::vector should be able to support alignment through custom allocators. However, if you are using MSVS 2010, the dinkumware STL they use has a bug in that the std::vector resize does not do the right thing (fixed in MSVS 2011). For MSVS 2010, you'll have to roll your own std::vector (maybe copy what dinkumware does and "fix" the resize).

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Nice to hear someone finds the lib useful. In the 2.4.1 version there is vector_simd<T> (in vector_simd.h) which does this:


/**
* Very minimal but very efficient std::vector clone for plain data SSE/SIMD contents like vec4.
* This is useful for using SSE support on 32-bit Visual Studio builds,
* which suffer from the memory allocation alignment problem (std::vector memory not aligned to vec4).
* NOTE: vector_simd does NOT call constructors/destructors of the contained elements correctly,
* so it is NOT suitable to store anything else than "plain old datastructures" to these.
* If more correct semantics of constructors/destructors are needed then std::vector should be used.
* For documentation of the methods, please see std::vector.
*
* @ingroup vec_util
*/
template <class T> class vector_simd

Hope this helps!


Bests,
Jani
(author of slmath)


I have a problem with the SLMATH library. Not sure if anyone uses it or has used it before? Anyway, the issue is that when I compile with SSE optimisation enabled (in VS 2010), I obviously have to provide a container that has the correct byte alignment for SSE type objects. This is OK because there's a little class in SLMATH that's an aligned vector; it aligns the vector allocation on an 8 byte boundary (i.e. I do not use std::vector<>).

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