Strict Aliasing Rule - 2024.1 English

AI Engine Kernel and Graph Programming Guide (UG1079)

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2024.1 English

The strict aliasing rule dictates that pointers are assumed not to alias if they point to fundamentally different types, except for char* and void* which can alias to any other data type. This is is shown in the following graphic which shows the object universes and the associated pointers.

Figure 1. Object Universes
Pointers are associated with a type universe U(T)
T is the template and in the preceding graphic the various templates are shown, including an int universe and a float universe; there is also a MyClass universe per design. Additionally there is a char universe that includes all universes by default.
Universes do not alias
Pointer p can only point to any address within the int universe whereas pointer q can only point to any address within the float universe. Because of this pointer p and pointer q cannot be aliased.
Derived pointers point to the original universe
Pointers derived from a restrict pointer are considered restrict pointers and point to the same restricted memory region. See Derived Pointers.
char* universe contains all universes
A char pointer can point to any variable in all universes.

For two pointers of the same type, as in the following, where both p and q are int, the compiler is conservative and aliasing is applied, resulting in loss of performance.

Figure 2. Loss of Performance

For two pointers of different types, as in the following example, where p is an int and q is float, the compiler applies the strict aliasing rule and an undefined behavior occurs if aliasing exists.

Figure 3. Two Pointers of Different Types