Vector Task Group minutes 2020/5/15

Krste Asanovic

Date: 2020/5/15
Task Group: Vector Extension
Chair: Krste Asanovic
Co-Chair: Roger Espasa
Number of Attendees: ~20
Current issues on github:

Issues discussed:

# MLEN=1 change

The new layout of mask registers with fixed MLEN=1 was discussed. The
group was generally in favor of the change, though there is a proposal
in flight to rearrange bits to align with bytes. This might save some
wiring but could increase bits read/written for the mask in a

#434 SLEN=VLEN as optional extension

Most of the time was spent discussing the possible software
fragmentation from having code optimized for SLEN=LEN versus
SLEN<VLEN, and how to avoid. The group was keen to prevent possible
fragmentation, so is going to consider several options:

- providing cast instructions that are mandatory, so at least
SLEN<VLEN code runs correctly on SLEN=VLEN machines.

- consider a different data layout that could allow casting up to ELEN
(<=SLEN), however these appear to result in even greater variety of
layouts or dynamic layouts

- invent a microarchitecture that can appear as SLEN=VLEN but
internally restrict datapath communication within SLEN width of
datapath, or prove this is impossible/expensive

# v0.9

The group agreed to declare the current version of the spec as 0.9,
representing a clear stable step for software and implementors.

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