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Kiwic Internal Operation

Figure 2: The main flow implemented in the kiwic tool (same as figure [*]).
\begin{figure*}\centerline{\epsfbox{orangecilflow.eps}}\end{figure*}

Skip this section if you do not feel you need to know about the internal workings of kiwic.

CIL code is the assembly language used by the mono and .NET projects. The HPR tool can read in CIL assembly code when invoked using the kiwic command. This assembly code is generated by a large number of third party compilers from various input languages. All dynamic storage allocation must be made by constructors before the entrypoint method is called. There are numerous other limitations on how the CIL code must be structured.

This stage reads CIL bytecode and generates VM code for the HPR virtual machine. The CIL bytecode is parsed to an AST by a bison parser.

A variable is a static or dynamic object field, a top-level method formal, a local variable, or a stack location. For each variable we decide whether to subsume it at the CIL processing stage. If not subsumed, it appears in the abstract VM code that is fed to the next stage (where it may then get subsumed for other reasons). Variables that are subsumed in this way tend to be object and array handles. Such variables must contain compile-time constant values throughout the execution of the output code.

We perform a symbolic execution of each thread at the CIL basic block level and emit VM code for each block. CIL label names that are branch destinations define the basic block boundaries and these appear verbatim in the emitted VM code.

Although CIL bytecode defines a stack machine, no stack operations are emitted from the CIL processing stage. Stack operations within a basic block are symbolically expanded and values on the stack at basic block boundaries are stored and loaded into stack variables on exit and entry to each basic block. The stack variables are frequently subsumed, but can appear in the VM code and hence, from time-to-time, in the output RTL.

A -root command line flag enables the user to select a number of methods or classes for compilation. The argument is a list of heriarchic names, separated by semicolons. Other items present in the CIL input code are ignored, unless called from the root items.

Where a class is selected as the root, its contents are converted to an RTL module with IO terminals consisting of various resets and clocks that are marked up in the CIL with custom attributes (see later, to be written). The constructors of the class are interpreted at compile time and all assignments made by these constructors are interpreted as initial values for the RTL variables. Where the values are not further changed at run time, the variables turn into compile-time constants and dissapear from the object code.

Where a class is selected as a root, all of the methods in that class will be compiled as separate entry points and it is not normally appropriate for one to call another: calls should generally be to methods of other classes.

Where a method is given as a root component, its parameters are added to the formal parameter list of the RTL module created. Where the method code has a preamble before entering an infinite loop, the actions of the preamble are treated in the same way as constructors of a class, viz. interpreted at comile-time to give initial or reset values to variables. Where a method exits and returns a non-void value, an extra parameter is added to the RTL module formal parameter list.

The VM code can be processed by the HPR tool in many ways, but of interest here is the 'convert_to_rtl' operation that is activated by the '-vnl' command line option. (NB: This is now on by default in the kiwic00 recipe, disable with -verilog-gen disable).

   kiwic TimesTable.exe -root `TimesTable;TimesTable.Main' -vnl TimesTable.v

More than one portable assembly (CIL/PE) file can be given on the command line and Kiwic will aggregate them. The file name of the last file listed will be used to name the compilation outputs by default.

At some point, Kiwic might be extended to also invoke the gmcs C# compiler if given a C# file.


next up previous contents index
Next: C# Attributes Up: Kiwi kiwic Compiler Users' Previous: Overview Summary   Contents   Index
David Greaves 2011-03-31