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4.1 Tail sets

#| Probably want to have a GTN-like function result equivalence class mechanism for ICR type inference. This would be like the return value propagation being done by Propagate-From-Calls, but more powerful, less hackish, and known to terminate. The ICR equivalence classes could probably be used by GTN, as well.

What we do is have local call analysis eagerly maintain the equivalence classes of functions that return the same way by annotating functions with a Tail-Info structure shared between all functions whose value could be the value of this function. We don’t require that the calls actually be tail-recursive, only that the call deliver its value to the result continuation. [### Actually now done by ICR-OPTIMIZE-RETURN, which is currently making ICR optimize mandatory.]

We can then use the Tail-Set during ICR type inference. It would have a type that is the union across all equivalent functions of the types of all the uses other than in local calls. This type would be recomputed during optimization of return nodes. When the type changes, we would propagate it to all calls to any of the equivalent functions. How do we know when and how to recompute the type for a tail-set? Recomputation is driven by type propagation on the result continuation.

This is really special-casing of RETURN nodes. The return node has the type which is the union of all the non-call uses of the result. The tail-set is found though the lambda. We can then recompute the overall union by taking the union of the type per return node, rather than per-use.

How do result type assertions work? We can’t intersect the assertions across all functions in the equivalence class, since some of the call combinations may not happen (or even be possible). We can intersect the assertion of the result with the derived types for non-call uses.

When we do a tail call, we obviously can’t check that the returned value matches our assertion. Although in principle, we would like to be able to check all assertions, to preserve system integrity, we only need to check assertions that we depend on. We can afford to lose some assertion information as long as we entirely lose it, ignoring it for type inference as well as for type checking.

Things will work out, since the caller will see the tail-info type as the derived type for the call, and will emit a type check if it needs a stronger result.

A remaining question is whether we should intersect the assertion with per-RETURN derived types from the very beginning (i.e. before the type check pass). I think the answer is yes. We delay the type check pass so that we can get our best guess for the derived type before we decide whether a check is necessary. But with the function return type, we aren’t committing to doing any type check when we intersect with the type assertion; the need to type check is still determined in the type check pass by examination of the result continuation.

What is the relationship between the per-RETURN types and the types in the result continuation? The assertion is exactly the Continuation-Asserted-Type (note that the asserted type of result continuations will never change after ICR conversion). The per-RETURN derived type is different than the Continuation-Derived-Type, since it is intersected with the asserted type even before Type Check runs. Ignoring the Continuation-Derived-Type probably makes life simpler anyway, since this breaks the potential circularity of the Tail-Info-Type will affecting the Continuation-Derived-Type, which affects...

When a given return has no non-call uses, we represent this by using *empty-type*. This is consistent with the interpretation that a return type of NIL means the function can’t return.


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