Clarifying noalias with metadata merging


Looking at how noalias is defined:
"When evaluating an aliasing query, **if for some domain**, the set of scopes with that domain in one instruction’s alias.scope list is a subset of (or equal to) the set of scopes for that domain in another instruction’s noalias list, then the two memory accesses are assumed not to alias."

This corresponds to Hal's change from llvm-svn: 213948
The subset/superset condition now
applies within each domain independently, and we only need it to hold in one
domain. Each time we inline, we add the new scopes in a new scope domain, and
everything now composes nicely. In addition, this simplifies the

I think I understand the intent here for inlining: domains are compared in nested order and the first one in noalias which is a superset of alias.scope means regardless of further inlining there can't be aliasing.

However, when other optimizations like memcpyopt merge instructions they merge metadata which in the case of alias.scope means taking the union between the 2 instructions. However, this appears to break the nesting paradigm since what's getting merged in doesn't need to have an inline-inliner relationship. This can then lead to incorrect aliasing information being computed.

Is the semantics for noalias/alias.scope in use still that which is documented in the LangRef? And if so, is metadata merging as it is now doing something wrong here?


Hi Modi,

for !noalias/!alias.scope, merging metadata for from two instructions means:
- !noalias: taking the intersection (= the merged instruction can only 'noalias'
  with the scopes for which all of the original instructions are 'noalias')
- !alias.scope: taking the union (= the merged instruction can alias with any
  of the 'aliases of the original instructions')

This ensures that, at worst, a previous 'NoAlias' alias analysis result will
now become 'MayAlias', which is still correct, but maybe less efficient.

Note: if you are interested in alias analysis and restrict support, you
should take a look at the 'Full Restrict' patches[0].


Jeroen Dobbelaere

[0] Full Restrict Patches: ⚙ D68484 [PATCH 01/27] [noalias] LangRef: noalias intrinsics and ptr_provenance documentation.