GMP and 64-bit systems

Torbjorn Granlund tg at
Mon Jun 2 17:46:17 CEST 2008

The GMP project has received a competent, polite message related to
Windows.  I try to give the answer it deserves below.

<librik at> writes:

  > If we decide to supports Windoze's 64-bit ABI, we do not need to worry
  > about actual 64-bit limb counts internally, since the limitations of
  > mpz_t would make that almost pointless.  (We already support larger
  > numbers at the mpn level for existing systems, but this has not been
  > well-tested and is probably used very little.)
  Oh no!  I have not made myself clear.  I want GMP to support 64-bit mpn
  limb counts on LLP64.  That's a primary goal.  The public function
  interface is important, but secondary!  If there are not 64-bit limb
  counts, then there's no point changing anything, because the current
  gmp.h is perfectly fine for the _status quo_ on LLP64.
  The goal is basically to make this change to gmp.h:
      #if defined (_CRAY) && ! defined (_CRAYMPP)
      /* plain `int' is much faster (48 bits) */
      #define __GMP_MP_SIZE_T_INT     1
      typedef int                     mp_size_t;
      typedef int                     mp_exp_t;
      #define __GMP_MP_SIZE_T_INT     0
   +  #if defined (LONG_LONG_SIZE)
   +  typedef long long int           mp_size_t;
   +  typedef long long int           mp_exp_t;
   +  #else
      typedef long int                mp_size_t;
      typedef long int                mp_exp_t;
   +  #endif
  and have GMP "do the right thing" everywhere, when you #define
I don't think this would be quite the optimal change.

We want "gcc foo.c -lgmp" to work.  (We do require -m64 for some
systems, if that's not the compiler default, as GMP defaults to 64-bit
ABI.)  Requiring users to do "gcc -DLONG_LONG_SIZE foo.c -lgmp" would
not be very nice.

Or do you mean to say that compilers in an LLP64 environment will
define LONG_LONG_SIZE themselves?
One needs to make one of two things, instead of requiring

1) Test one or several macros that reliably implies that we have
   sizeof(*) > sizeof(long).  #ifdef LOSE64 ... #endif

2) Have configure edit gmp.h, e.g., insert
     #define __GMP_LONG_LONG_SIZE 1
   when relevant.  Note that we already edit gmp.h for other things.

(I should perhaps mention that it would be nice to get rid of this
gmp.h editing, and have everything wrok right from compiler options.
Unfortunately, we have not managed to get that to work reliably.)

  > Also, public interfaces' types should not change.
  This is a key sticking point.
  I would say that if a public declaration in gmp.h such as:
     unsigned long int mpn_popcount(const mp_limb_t *s1p, mp_size_t n);
  were changed to:
     typedef  unsigned long int  mp_bit_count_t;
     mp_bit_count_t mpn_popcount(const mp_limb_t *s1p, mp_size_t n);
  then the types have NOT changed.  They are identical at the binary
  level, the compiler-semantics level, and the C type compatibility
  level.  Only the literal text name has changed.  "typedef" doesn't
  create a new type, it creates a new identifier as a synonym for
  the given type.
  This is important.  If we agree on this, then we can move forward.
I agree (and incidentally, so does my copy of the C89 standard).

  It then becomes possible to change the typedef in gmp.h to:
     #if !defined(LONG_LONG_SIZE)
     typedef  unsigned long int  mp_bit_count_t;
     typedef  unsigned long long int  mp_bit_count_t;
  Since LONG_LONG_SIZE is not defined on any current ABI, the types
  in public functions STILL HAVE NOT CHANGED.
You definitely seem to have a point there.

(Do not misunderstand me; I am not trying to be ungenerous by using
the clause "seem".  I find it difficult to think of all aspects of
source and binary compatibility, and mistakes in this area would be
very unfortunate.)

  Finally, on LLP64 builds, we can turn on LONG_LONG_SIZE.
  Now backwards compatibility might be broken for any LLP64 GMPs.
  But GMP has never supported any LLP64 systems before, so there is
  no backwards compatibility break!

  And notice that the code is clearer.  We have a named type for
  a bit count.  It is exactly the same type as it was before
  (unsigned long) but now it is "conceptually right."
  (Really, bit counts are kind of weird.  To be fully correct, a
  bit count type must be 35 bits or 67 bits wide.  Otherwise there
  will be an overflow when counting bits in very large mpns.  This
  is true on all computers.)

We do not claim to support more than 2^32-1 bits for 32-bit computers.
For GMP 5, the goal is to support 2^50 bits for 64-bit computers.

(Let us please not discuss the 2^50 "arbitrary limit" in this thread.
There are good reasons for the limit.  I'll lift it for GMP 10 or so,
when your machine has swap space of more 1000 terabytes.)

  So when you write:
  > Supporting Windoze's 64-bit ABI is something we might want to do, but
  > it is not a central goal of the GNU project.  We should not break
  > binary compatibility for its sake.  In particular, "unsigned long" bit
  > counts in user visible function should not change.
  I would agree, if you are not attached to the actual words "unsigned long",
  but are fine with a type name whose meaning is a 32-bit unsigned integer
  on 32-bit systems, 64-bit integer on 64-bit systems.  This would be the
  same as "unsigned long" on all currently supported 32-bit and 64-bit ABIs.
[I believe this should be clear from the reply above.  Please tell me
if you disagree.]
  > There is one tricky thing about this, and it is whether to assume
  > "long long" exixts.  When I started working on GMP, it certainly
  > wasn't ubiquitous.  Unfortunately, I don't think we can assume it is
  > now, since it was not specified until C99.
  > We want there to be one GMP ABI, so we cannot define a user visible
  > function with "long long" unless we decide to de-support C89
  > environments.
  I'm not sure I understand.  I'll try to answer what I think you're
  I would say that we don't want any user-visible functions with the
  literal words "long long", just as we don't want user-visible
  functions with the literal word "long".
  The reason a function would use "long long" is because it wants a
  64-bit value and it's intended for an LLP64 system, where "long" is
  inadequate.  But in that case, the user-visible function should use
  a typedef name instead, just like mp_bit_count_t above.  That type is
  identical to "long" on ILP32 and LP64 systems, and "long long" on
  LLP64 systems; it's always 64 bits on a 64-bit machine.
  Replacing "long" with a typedef name that is defined to be "long"
  does not break compatibility, and works fine in C89 environments.
  The typedef name can also be defined to "long long", but that
  happens behind an #ifdef, so no C89 compilers will complain.
  If I've misunderstood, could you give an example of a user-visible
  function which might need an explicit "long long" in its public

I cannot.

  * Remains as backwards-compatible as possible with previous supported

The clause "as possible" makes me a little nervous.

  * Provides a way for LLP64 users to easily create an LLP64 GMP with
    the same abilities as the currently-supported LP64 and ILP64 GMPs.
  * Adds no special-case hacks to functions.


  - - - but the Win64 people will be satisfied.

Well, that is a small drawback.  (Given that I am known by Dr Gladman
to absolutely hate these people.  :-)


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