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Hexagon is Qualcomm's very long instruction word (VLIW) digital signal
processor(DSP). We also support Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX). HVX
is a wide vector coprocessor designed for high performance computer vision,
image processing, machine learning, and other workloads.
The following versions of the Hexagon core are supported
Scalar core: v67
HVX extension: v66
We presented an overview of the project at the 2019 KVM Forum.
*** Tour of the code ***
The qemu-hexagon implementation is a combination of qemu and the Hexagon
architecture library (aka archlib). The three primary directories with
Hexagon-specific code are
This has all the instruction and packet semantics
These files are imported with very little modification from archlib
*.idef Instruction semantics definition
macros.def Mapping of macros to instruction attributes
encode*.def Encoding patterns for each instruction
iclass.def Instruction class definitions used to determine
legal VLIW slots for each instruction
Helpers for loading the ELF file and making Linux system calls,
signals, etc
We start with scripts that generate a bunch of include files. This
is a two step process. The first step is to use the C preprocessor to expand
macros inside the architecture definition files. This is done in
target/hexagon/gen_semantics.c. This step produces
That file is consumed by the following python scripts to produce the indicated
header files in <BUILD_DIR>/target/hexagon -> -> -> -> -> -> -> -> ->
Qemu helper functions have 3 parts
DEF_HELPER declaration indicates the signature of the helper
gen_helper_<NAME> will generate a TCG call to the helper function
The helper implementation
Here's an example of the A2_add instruction.
Instruction tag A2_add
Assembly syntax "Rd32=add(Rs32,Rt32)"
Instruction semantics "{ RdV=RsV+RtV;}"
By convention, the operands are identified by letter
RdV is the destination register
RsV, RtV are source registers
The generator uses the operand naming conventions (see large comment in to determine the signature of the helper function. Here are the
results for A2_add
DEF_HELPER_3(A2_add, s32, env, s32, s32)
static void generate_A2_add(
CPUHexagonState *env,
DisasContext *ctx,
Insn *insn,
Packet *pkt)
TCGv RdV = tcg_temp_local_new();
const int RdN = insn->regno[0];
TCGv RsV = hex_gpr[insn->regno[1]];
TCGv RtV = hex_gpr[insn->regno[2]];
gen_helper_A2_add(RdV, cpu_env, RsV, RtV);
gen_log_reg_write(RdN, RdV);
ctx_log_reg_write(ctx, RdN);
int32_t HELPER(A2_add)(CPUHexagonState *env, int32_t RsV, int32_t RtV)
uint32_t slot __attribute__((unused)) = 4;
int32_t RdV = 0;
{ RdV=RsV+RtV;}
return RdV;
Note that generate_A2_add updates the disassembly context to be processed
when the packet commits (see "Packet Semantics" below).
The generator checks for fGEN_TCG_<tag> macro. This allows us to generate
TCG code instead of a call to the helper. If defined, the macro takes 1
C semantics (aka short code)
This allows the code generator to override the auto-generated code. In some
cases this is necessary for correct execution. We can also override for
faster emulation. For example, calling a helper for add is more expensive
than generating a TCG add operation.
The gen_tcg.h file has any overrides. For example, we could write
tcg_gen_add_tl(RdV, RsV, RtV)
The instruction semantics C code relies heavily on macros. In cases where the
C semantics are specified only with macros, we can override the default with
the short semantics option and #define the macros to generate TCG code. One
example is L2_loadw_locked:
Instruction tag L2_loadw_locked
Assembly syntax "Rd32=memw_locked(Rs32)"
Instruction semantics "{ fEA_REG(RsV); fLOAD_LOCKED(1,4,u,EA,RdV) }"
In gen_tcg.h, we use the shortcode
#define fGEN_TCG_L2_loadw_locked(SHORTCODE) \
There are also cases where we brute force the TCG code generation.
Instructions with multiple definitions are examples. These require special
handling because qemu helpers can only return a single value.
For HVX vectors, the generator behaves slightly differently. The wide vectors
won't fit in a TCGv or TCGv_i64, so we pass TCGv_ptr variables to pass the
address to helper functions. Here's an example for an HVX vector-add-word
static void generate_V6_vaddw(
CPUHexagonState *env,
DisasContext *ctx,
Insn *insn,
Packet *pkt)
const int VdN = insn->regno[0];
const intptr_t VdV_off =
ctx_future_vreg_off(ctx, VdN, 1, true);
TCGv_ptr VdV = tcg_temp_local_new_ptr();
tcg_gen_addi_ptr(VdV, cpu_env, VdV_off);
const int VuN = insn->regno[1];
const intptr_t VuV_off =
vreg_src_off(ctx, VuN);
TCGv_ptr VuV = tcg_temp_local_new_ptr();
const int VvN = insn->regno[2];
const intptr_t VvV_off =
vreg_src_off(ctx, VvN);
TCGv_ptr VvV = tcg_temp_local_new_ptr();
tcg_gen_addi_ptr(VuV, cpu_env, VuV_off);
tcg_gen_addi_ptr(VvV, cpu_env, VvV_off);
TCGv slot = tcg_constant_tl(insn->slot);
gen_helper_V6_vaddw(cpu_env, VdV, VuV, VvV, slot);
gen_log_vreg_write(ctx, VdV_off, VdN, EXT_DFL, insn->slot, false);
ctx_log_vreg_write(ctx, VdN, EXT_DFL, false);
Notice that we also generate a variable named <operand>_off for each operand of
the instruction. This makes it easy to override the instruction semantics with
functions from tcg-op-gvec.h. Here's the override for this instruction.
#define fGEN_TCG_V6_vaddw(SHORTCODE) \
tcg_gen_gvec_add(MO_32, VdV_off, VuV_off, VvV_off, \
sizeof(MMVector), sizeof(MMVector))
Finally, we notice that the override doesn't use the TCGv_ptr variables, so
we don't generate them when an override is present. Here is what we generate
when the override is present.
static void generate_V6_vaddw(
CPUHexagonState *env,
DisasContext *ctx,
Insn *insn,
Packet *pkt)
const int VdN = insn->regno[0];
const intptr_t VdV_off =
ctx_future_vreg_off(ctx, VdN, 1, true);
const int VuN = insn->regno[1];
const intptr_t VuV_off =
vreg_src_off(ctx, VuN);
const int VvN = insn->regno[2];
const intptr_t VvV_off =
vreg_src_off(ctx, VvN);
fGEN_TCG_V6_vaddw({ fHIDE(int i;) fVFOREACH(32, i) { VdV.w[i] = VuV.w[i] + VvV.w[i] ; } });
gen_log_vreg_write(ctx, VdV_off, VdN, EXT_DFL, insn->slot, false);
ctx_log_vreg_write(ctx, VdN, EXT_DFL, false);
In addition to instruction semantics, we use a generator to create the decode
tree. This generation is also a two step process. The first step is to run
target/hexagon/gen_dectree_import.c to produce
This file is imported by target/hexagon/ to produce
*** Key Files ***
This file contains the definition of the CPUHexagonState struct. It is the
runtime information for each thread and contains stuff like the GPR and
predicate registers.
The Hexagon arch lib relies heavily on macros for the instruction semantics.
This is a great advantage for qemu because we can override them for different
purposes. You will also notice there are sometimes two definitions of a macro.
The QEMU_GENERATE variable determines whether we want the macro to generate TCG
code. If QEMU_GENERATE is not defined, we want the macro to generate vanilla
C code that will work in the helper implementation.
The functions in this file generate TCG code for a translation block. Some
important functions in this file are
gen_start_packet - initialize the data structures for packet semantics
gen_commit_packet - commit the register writes, stores, etc for a packet
decode_and_translate_packet - disassemble a packet and generate code
These files create a function for each instruction. It is mostly composed of
fGEN_TCG_<tag> definitions followed by including
This file contains the implementations of all the helpers. There are a few
general purpose helpers, but most of them are generated by including There are also several helpers used for debugging.
*** Packet Semantics ***
VLIW packet semantics differ from serial semantics in that all input operands
are read, then the operations are performed, then all the results are written.
For exmaple, this packet performs a swap of registers r0 and r1
{ r0 = r1; r1 = r0 }
Note that the result is different if the instructions are executed serially.
Packet semantics dictate that we defer any changes of state until the entire
packet is committed. We record the results of each instruction in a side data
structure, and update the visible processor state when we commit the packet.
The data structures are divided between the runtime state and the translation
During the TCG generation (see translate.[ch]), we use the DisasContext to
track what needs to be done during packet commit. Here are the relevant
reg_log list of registers written
reg_log_idx index into ctx_reg_log
pred_log list of predicates written
pred_log_idx index into ctx_pred_log
store_width width of stores (indexed by slot)
During runtime, the following fields in CPUHexagonState (see cpu.h) are used
new_value new value of a given register
reg_written boolean indicating if register was written
new_pred_value new value of a predicate register
pred_written boolean indicating if predicate was written
mem_log_stores record of the stores (indexed by slot)
For Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX), the following fields are used
VRegs Vector registers
future_VRegs Registers to be stored during packet commit
tmp_VRegs Temporary registers *not* stored during commit
VRegs_updated Mask of predicated vector writes
QRegs Q (vector predicate) registers
future_QRegs Registers to be stored during packet commit
QRegs_updated Mask of predicated vector writes
*** Debugging ***
You can turn on a lot of debugging by changing the HEX_DEBUG macro to 1 in
internal.h. This will stream a lot of information as it generates TCG and
executes the code.
To track down nasty issues with Hexagon->TCG generation, we compare the
execution results with actual hardware running on a Hexagon Linux target.
Run qemu with the "-d cpu" option. Then, we can diff the results and figure
out where qemu and hardware behave differently.
The stacks are located at different locations. We handle this by changing
env->stack_adjust in translate.c. First, set this to zero and run qemu.
Then, change env->stack_adjust to the difference between the two stack
locations. Then rebuild qemu and run again. That will produce a very
clean diff.
Here are some handy places to set breakpoints
At the call to gen_start_packet for a given PC (note that the line number
might change in the future)
br translate.c:602 if ctx->base.pc_next == 0xdeadbeef
The helper function for each instruction is named helper_<TAG>, so here's
an example that will set a breakpoint at the start
br helper_A2_add
If you have the HEX_DEBUG macro set, the following will be useful
At the start of execution of a packet for a given PC
br helper_debug_start_packet if env->gpr[41] == 0xdeadbeef
At the end of execution of a packet for a given PC
br helper_debug_commit_end if env->this_PC == 0xdeadbeef