Sun Studio 12: C User's Guide

## 3.7.2 Loop Fusion

If the granularity of a loop, or the work performed by a loop, is small, the performance gain from distribution may be insignificant. This is because the overhead of parallel loop start-up is too high compared to the loop workload. In such situations, the compiler uses loop fusion to combine several loops into a single parallel loop, and thus increase the granularity of the loop. Loop fusion is easy and safe when loops with identical trip counts are adjacent to each other. Consider the following example:

##### Example 3–16 Loops With Small Work Loads

 ```/* L1: short parallel loop */ for (i=0; i < 100; i++) { a[i] = a[i] + b[i]; /* S1 */ } /* L2: another short parallel loop */ for (i=0; i < 100; i++) { b[i] = a[i] * d[i]; /* S2 */ }```

The two short parallel loops are next to each other, and can be safely combined as follows:

##### Example 3–17 The Two Loops Fused

 ```/* L3: a larger parallel loop */ for (i=0; i < 100; i++) { a[i] = a[i] + b[i]; /* S1 */ b[i] = a[i] * d[i]; /* S2 */ }```

The new loop generates half the parallel loop execution overhead. Loop fusion can also help in other ways. For example if the same data is referenced in two loops, then combining them can improve the locality of reference.

However, loop fusion is not always safe to perform. If loop fusion creates a data dependence that did not exist before then the fusion may result in incorrect execution. Consider the following example:

##### Example 3–18 Unsafe Fusion Candidates

 ```/* L1: short parallel loop */ for (i=0; i < 100; i++) { a[i] = a[i] + b[i]; /* S1 */ } /* L2: a short loop with data dependence */ for (i=0; i < 100; i++) { a[i+1] = a[i] * d[i]; /* S2 */ }```

If the loops in 3.7.2 Loop Fusion are fused, a data dependence is created from statement S2 to S1. In effect, the value of a[i] in the right hand side of statement S1 is computed in statement S2. If the loops are not fused, this would not happen. The compiler performs safety and profitability analysis to determine if loop fusion should be done. Often, the compiler can fuse an arbitrary number of loops. Increasing the granularity in this manner can sometimes push a loop far enough up for it to be profitable for parallelization.