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Swift Intermediate Language (SIL)

Contents

Abstract

SIL is an SSA-form IR with high-level semantic information designed to implement the Swift programming language. SIL accommodates the following use cases:

  • A set of guaranteed high-level optimizations that provide a predictable baseline for runtime and diagnostic behavior.
  • Diagnostic dataflow analysis passes that enforce Swift language requirements, such as definitive initialization of variables and constructors, code reachability, switch coverage.
  • High-level optimization passes, including retain/release optimization, dynamic method devirtualization, closure inlining, memory allocation promotion, and generic function instantiation.
  • A stable distribution format that can be used to distribute "fragile" inlineable or generic code with Swift library modules, to be optimized into client binaries.

In contrast to LLVM IR, SIL is a generally target-independent format representation that can be used for code distribution, but it can also express target-specific concepts as well as LLVM can.

SIL in the Swift Compiler

At a high level, the Swift compiler follows a strict pipeline architecture:

  • The Parse module constructs an AST from Swift source code.
  • The Sema module type-checks the AST and annotates it with type information.
  • The SILGen module generates raw SIL from an AST.
  • A series of Guaranteed Optimization Passes and Diagnostic Passes are run over the raw SIL both to perform optimizations and to emit language-specific diagnostics. These are always run, even at -Onone, and produce canonical SIL.
  • General SIL Optimization Passes optionally run over the canonical SIL to improve performance of the resulting executable. These are enabled and controlled by the optimization level and are not run at -Onone.
  • IRGen lowers canonical SIL to LLVM IR.
  • The LLVM backend (optionally) applies LLVM optimizations, runs the LLVM code generator and emits binary code.

The stages pertaining to SIL processing in particular are as follows:

SILGen

SILGen produces raw SIL by walking a type-checked Swift AST. The form of SIL emitted by SILGen has the following properties:

  • Variables are represented by loading and storing mutable memory locations instead of being in strict SSA form. This is similar to the initial alloca-heavy LLVM IR emitted by frontends such as Clang. However, Swift represents variables as reference-counted "boxes" in the most general case, which can be retained, released, and captured into closures.
  • Dataflow requirements, such as definitive assignment, function returns, switch coverage (TBD), etc. have not yet been enforced.
  • transparent function optimization has not yet been honored.

These properties are addressed by subsequent guaranteed optimization and diagnostic passes which are always run against the raw SIL.

Guaranteed Optimization and Diagnostic Passes

After SILGen, a deterministic sequence of optimization passes is run over the raw SIL. We do not want the diagnostics produced by the compiler to change as the compiler evolves, so these passes are intended to be simple and predictable.

  • Mandatory inlining inlines calls to "transparent" functions.
  • Memory promotion is implemented as two optimization phases, the first of which performs capture analysis to promote alloc_box instructions to alloc_stack, and the second of which promotes non-address-exposed alloc_stack instructions to SSA registers.
  • Constant propagation folds constant expressions and propagates the constant values. If an arithmetic overflow occurs during the constant expression computation, a diagnostic is issued.
  • Return analysis verifies that each function returns a value on every code path and doesn't "fall of the end" of its definition, which is an error. It also issues an error when a noreturn function returns.
  • Critical edge splitting splits all critical edges from terminators that don't support arbitrary basic block arguments (all non cond_branch terminators).

If all diagnostic passes succeed, the final result is the canonical SIL for the program.

TODO:

  • Generic specialization
  • Basic ARC optimization for acceptable performance at -Onone.

General Optimization Passes

SIL captures language-specific type information, making it possible to perform high-level optimizations that are difficult to perform on LLVM IR.

  • Generic Specialization analyzes specialized calls to generic functions and generates new specialized version of the functions. Then it rewrites all specialized usages of the generic to a direct call of the appropriate specialized function.
  • Witness and VTable Devirtualization for a given type looks up the associated method from a class's vtable or a type witness table and replaces the indirect virtual call with a call to the mapped function.
  • Performance Inlining
  • Reference Counting Optimizations
  • Memory Promotion/Optimizations
  • High-level domain specific optimizations The Swift compiler implements high-level optimizations on basic Swift containers such as Array or String. Domain specific optimizations require a defined interface between the standard library and the optimizer. More details can be found here: :ref:`HighLevelSILOptimizations`

Syntax

SIL is reliant on Swift's type system and declarations, so SIL syntax is an extension of Swift's. A .sil file is a Swift source file with added SIL definitions. The Swift source is parsed only for its declarations; Swift func bodies (except for nested declarations) and top-level code are ignored by the SIL parser. In a .sil file, there are no implicit imports; the swift and/or Builtin standard modules must be imported explicitly if used.

Here is an example of a .sil file:

sil_stage canonical

import Swift

// Define types used by the SIL function.

struct Point {
  var x : Double
  var y : Double
}

class Button {
  func onClick()
  func onMouseDown()
  func onMouseUp()
}

// Declare a Swift function. The body is ignored by SIL.
func taxicabNorm(_ a:Point) -> Double {
  return a.x + a.y
}

// Define a SIL function.
// The name @_T5norms11taxicabNormfT1aV5norms5Point_Sd is the mangled name
// of the taxicabNorm Swift function.
sil @_T5norms11taxicabNormfT1aV5norms5Point_Sd : $(Point) -> Double {
bb0(%0 : $Point):
  // func Swift.+(Double, Double) -> Double
  %1 = function_ref @_Tsoi1pfTSdSd_Sd
  %2 = struct_extract %0 : $Point, #Point.x
  %3 = struct_extract %0 : $Point, #Point.y
  %4 = apply %1(%2, %3) : $(Double, Double) -> Double
  %5 = return %4 : Double
}

// Define a SIL vtable. This matches dynamically-dispatched method
// identifiers to their implementations for a known static class type.
sil_vtable Button {
  #Button.onClick!1: @_TC5norms6Button7onClickfS0_FT_T_
  #Button.onMouseDown!1: @_TC5norms6Button11onMouseDownfS0_FT_T_
  #Button.onMouseUp!1: @_TC5norms6Button9onMouseUpfS0_FT_T_
}

SIL Stage

decl ::= sil-stage-decl
sil-stage-decl ::= 'sil_stage' sil-stage

sil-stage ::= 'raw'
sil-stage ::= 'canonical'

There are different invariants on SIL depending on what stage of processing has been applied to it.

  • Raw SIL is the form produced by SILGen that has not been run through guaranteed optimizations or diagnostic passes. Raw SIL may not have a fully-constructed SSA graph. It may contain dataflow errors. Some instructions may be represented in non-canonical forms, such as assign and destroy_addr for non-address-only values. Raw SIL should not be used for native code generation or distribution.
  • Canonical SIL is SIL as it exists after guaranteed optimizations and diagnostics. Dataflow errors must be eliminated, and certain instructions must be canonicalized to simpler forms. Performance optimization and native code generation are derived from this form, and a module can be distributed containing SIL in this (or later) forms.

SIL files declare the processing stage of the included SIL with one of the declarations sil_stage raw or sil_stage canonical at top level. Only one such declaration may appear in a file.

SIL Types

sil-type ::= '$' '*'? generic-parameter-list? type

SIL types are introduced with the $ sigil. SIL's type system is closely related to Swift's, and so the type after the $ is parsed largely according to Swift's type grammar.

Type Lowering

A formal type is the type of a value in Swift, such as an expression result. Swift's formal type system intentionally abstracts over a large number of representational issues like ownership transfer conventions and directness of arguments. However, SIL aims to represent most such implementation details, and so these differences deserve to be reflected in the SIL type system. Type lowering is the process of turning a formal type into its lowered type.

It is important to be aware that the lowered type of a declaration need not be the lowered type of the formal type of that declaration. For example, the lowered type of a declaration reference:

  • will usually be thin,
  • will frequently be uncurried,
  • may have a non-Swift calling convention,
  • may use bridged types in its interface, and
  • may use ownership conventions that differ from Swift's default conventions.

Abstraction Difference

Generic functions working with values of unconstrained type must generally work with them indirectly, e.g. by allocating sufficient memory for them and then passing around pointers to that memory. Consider a generic function like this:

func generateArray<T>(n : Int, generator : () -> T) -> [T]

The function generator will be expected to store its result indirectly into an address passed in an implicit parameter. There's really just no reasonable alternative when working with a value of arbitrary type:

  • We don't want to generate a different copy of generateArray for every type T.
  • We don't want to give every type in the language a common representation.
  • We don't want to dynamically construct a call to generator depending on the type T.

But we also don't want the existence of the generic system to force inefficiencies on non-generic code. For example, we'd like a function of type () -> Int to be able to return its result directly; and yet, () -> Int is a valid substitution of () -> T, and a caller of generateArray<Int> should be able to pass an arbitrary () -> Int in as the generator.

Therefore, the representation of a formal type in a generic context may differ from the representation of a substitution of that formal type. We call such differences abstraction differences.

SIL's type system is designed to make abstraction differences always result in differences between SIL types. The goal is that a properly- abstracted value should be correctly usable at any level of substitution.

In order to achieve this, the formal type of a generic entity should always be lowered using the abstraction pattern of its unsubstituted formal type. For example, consider the following generic type:

struct Generator<T> {
  var fn : () -> T
}
var intGen : Generator<Int>

intGen.fn has the substituted formal type () -> Int, which would normally lower to the type @callee_owned () -> Int, i.e. returning its result directly. But if that type is properly lowered with the pattern of its unsubstituted type () -> T, it becomes @callee_owned () -> @out Int.

When a type is lowered using the abstraction pattern of an unrestricted type, it is lowered as if the pattern were replaced with a type sharing the same structure but replacing all materializable types with fresh type variables.

For example, if g has type Generator<(Int, Int) -> Float>, g.fn is lowered using the pattern () -> T, which eventually causes (Int, Int) -> Float to be lowered using the pattern T, which is the same as lowering it with the pattern U -> V; the result is that g.fn has the following lowered type:

@callee_owned () -> @owned @callee_owned (@in (Int, Int)) -> @out Float.

As another example, suppose that h has type Generator<(Int, inout Int) -> Float>. Neither (Int, inout Int) nor inout Int are potential results of substitution because they aren't materializable, so h.fn has the following lowered type:

@callee_owned () -> @owned @callee_owned (@in Int, @inout Int) -> @out Float

This system has the property that abstraction patterns are preserved through repeated substitutions. That is, you can consider a lowered type to encode an abstraction pattern; lowering T by R is equivalent to lowering T by (S lowered by R).

SILGen has procedures for converting values between abstraction patterns.

At present, only function and tuple types are changed by abstraction differences.

Legal SIL Types

The type of a value in SIL shall be:

  • a loadable legal SIL type, $T,
  • the address of a legal SIL type, $*T, or

A type T is a legal SIL type if:

  • it is a function type which satisfies the constraints (below) on function types in SIL,
  • it is a metatype type which describes its representation,
  • it is a tuple type whose element types are legal SIL types,
  • it is Optional<U>, where U is a legal SIL type,
  • it is a legal Swift type that is not a function, tuple, optional, metatype, or l-value type, or
  • it is a @box containing a legal SIL type.

Note that types in other recursive positions in the type grammar are still formal types. For example, the instance type of a metatype or the type arguments of a generic type are still formal Swift types, not lowered SIL types.

Address Types

The address of T $*T is a pointer to memory containing a value of any reference or value type $T. This can be an internal pointer into a data structure. Addresses of loadable types can be loaded and stored to access values of those types.

Addresses of address-only types (see below) can only be used with instructions that manipulate their operands indirectly by address, such as copy_addr or destroy_addr, or as arguments to functions. It is illegal to have a value of type $T if T is address-only.

Addresses are not reference-counted pointers like class values are. They cannot be retained or released.

Address types are not first-class: they cannot appear in recursive positions in type expressions. For example, the type $**T is not a legal type.

The address of an address cannot be directly taken. $**T is not a representable type. Values of address type thus cannot be allocated, loaded, or stored (though addresses can of course be loaded from and stored to).

Addresses can be passed as arguments to functions if the corresponding parameter is indirect. They cannot be returned.

Box Types

Captured local variables and the payloads of indirect value types are stored on the heap. The type @box T is a reference-counted type that references a box containing a mutable value of type T. Boxes always use Swift-native reference counting, so they can be queried for uniqueness and cast to the Builtin.NativeObject type.

Metatype Types

A concrete or existential metatype in SIL must describe its representation. This can be:

  • @thin, meaning that it requires no storage and thus necessarily represents an exact type (only allowed for concrete metatypes);
  • @thick, meaning that it stores a reference to a type or (if a concrete class) a subclass of that type; or
  • @objc, meaning that it stores a reference to a class type (or a subclass thereof) using an Objective-C class object representation rather than the native Swift type-object representation.

Function Types

Function types in SIL are different from function types in Swift in a number of ways:

  • A SIL function type may be generic. For example, accessing a generic function with function_ref will give a value of generic function type.

  • A SIL function type declares its conventional treatment of its context value:

    • If it is @convention(thin), the function requires no context value.
    • If it is @callee_owned, the context value is treated as an owned direct parameter.
    • If it is @callee_guaranteed, the context value is treated as a guaranteed direct parameter.
    • Otherwise, the context value is treated as an unowned direct parameter.
  • A SIL function type declares the conventions for its parameters. The parameters are written as an unlabeled tuple; the elements of that tuple must be legal SIL types, optionally decorated with one of the following convention attributes.

    The value of an indirect parameter has type *T; the value of a direct parameter has type T.

    • An @in parameter is indirect. The address must be of an initialized object; the function is responsible for destroying the value held there.
    • An @inout parameter is indirect. The address must be of an initialized object. The memory must remain initialized for the duration of the call until the function returns. The function may mutate the pointee, and furthermore may weakly assume that there are no aliasing reads from or writes to the argument, though must preserve a valid value at the argument so that well-ordered aliasing violations do not compromise memory safety. This allows for optimizations such as local load and store propagation, introduction or elimination of temporary copies, and promotion of the @inout parameter to an @owned direct parameter and result pair, but does not admit "take" optimization out of the parameter or other optimization that would leave memory in an uninitialized state.
    • An @inout_aliasable parameter is indirect. The address must be of an initialized object. The memory must remain initialized for the duration of the call until the function returns. The function may mutate the pointee, and must assume that other aliases may mutate it as well. These aliases however can be assumed to be well-typed and well-ordered; ill-typed accesses and data races to the parameter are still undefined.
    • An @owned parameter is an owned direct parameter.
    • A @guaranteed parameter is a guaranteed direct parameter.
    • An @in_guaranteed parameter is indirect. The address must be of an initialized object; both the caller and callee promise not to mutate the pointee, allowing the callee to read it.
    • Otherwise, the parameter is an unowned direct parameter.
  • A SIL function type declares the conventions for its results. The results are written as an unlabeled tuple; the elements of that tuple must be legal SIL types, optionally decorated with one of the following convention attributes. Indirect and direct results may be interleaved.

    Indirect results correspond to implicit arguments of type *T in function entry blocks and in the arguments to apply and try_apply instructions. These arguments appear in the order in which they appear in the result list, always before any parameters.

    Direct results correspond to direct return values of type T. A SIL function type has a return type derived from its direct results in the following way: when there is a single direct result, the return type is the type of that result; otherwise, it is the tuple type of the types of all the direct results, in the order they appear in the results list. The return type is the type of the operand of return instructions, the type of apply instructions, and the type of the normal result of try_apply instructions.

    • An @out result is indirect. The address must be of an uninitialized object. The function is required to leave an initialized value there unless it terminates with a throw instruction or it has a non-Swift calling convention.
    • An @owned result is an owned direct result.
    • An @autoreleased result is an autoreleased direct result. If there is an autoreleased result, it must be the only direct result.
    • Otherwise, the parameter is an unowned direct result.

A direct parameter or result of trivial type must always be unowned.

An owned direct parameter or result is transferred to the recipient, which becomes responsible for destroying the value. This means that the value is passed at +1.

An unowned direct parameter or result is instantaneously valid at the point of transfer. The recipient does not need to worry about race conditions immediately destroying the value, but should copy it (e.g. by strong_retaining an object pointer) if the value will be needed sooner rather than later.

A guaranteed direct parameter is like an unowned direct parameter value, except that it is guaranteed by the caller to remain valid throughout the execution of the call. This means that any strong_retain, strong_release pairs in the callee on the argument can be eliminated.

An autoreleased direct result must have a type with a retainable pointer representation. Autoreleased results are nominally transferred at +0, but the runtime takes steps to ensure that a +1 can be safely transferred, and those steps require precise code-layout control. Accordingly, the SIL pattern for an autoreleased convention looks exactly like the SIL pattern for an owned convention, and the extra runtime instrumentation is inserted on both sides when the SIL is lowered into LLVM IR. An autoreleased apply of a function that is defined with an autoreleased result has the effect of a +1 transfer of the result. An autoreleased apply of a function that is not defined with an autoreleased result has the effect of performing a strong retain in the caller. A non-autoreleased apply of a function that is defined with an autoreleased result has the effect of performing an autorelease in the callee.

  • The @noescape declaration attribute on Swift parameters (which is valid only on parameters of function type, and is implied by the @autoclosure attribute) is turned into a @noescape type attribute on SIL arguments. @noescape indicates that the lifetime of the closure parameter will not be extended by the callee (e.g. the pointer will not be stored in a global variable). It corresponds to the LLVM "nocapture" attribute in terms of semantics (but is limited to only work with parameters of function type in Swift).

  • SIL function types may provide an optional error result, written by placing @error on a result. An error result is always implicitly @owned. Only functions with a native calling convention may have an error result.

    A function with an error result cannot be called with apply. It must be called with try_apply. There is one exception to this rule: a function with an error result can be called with apply [nothrow] if the compiler can prove that the function does not actually throw.

    return produces a normal result of the function. To return an error result, use throw.

    Type lowering lowers the throws annotation on formal function types into more concrete error propagation:

    • For native Swift functions, throws is turned into an error result.
    • For non-native Swift functions, throws is turned in an explicit error-handling mechanism based on the imported API. The importer only imports non-native methods and types as throws when it is possible to do this automatically.

Properties of Types

SIL classifies types into additional subgroups based on ABI stability and generic constraints:

  • Loadable types are types with a fully exposed concrete representation:

    • Reference types
    • Builtin value types
    • Fragile struct types in which all element types are loadable
    • Tuple types in which all element types are loadable
    • Class protocol types
    • Archetypes constrained by a class protocol

    A loadable aggregate type is a tuple or struct type that is loadable.

    A trivial type is a loadable type with trivial value semantics. Values of trivial type can be loaded and stored without any retain or release operations and do not need to be destroyed.

  • Runtime-sized types are restricted value types for which the compiler does not know the size of the type statically:

    • Resilient value types
    • Fragile struct or tuple types that contain resilient types as elements at any depth
    • Archetypes not constrained by a class protocol
  • Address-only types are restricted value types which cannot be loaded or otherwise worked with as SSA values:

    • Runtime-sized types
    • Non-class protocol types
    • @weak types

    Values of address-only type ("address-only values") must reside in memory and can only be referenced in SIL by address. Addresses of address-only values cannot be loaded from or stored to. SIL provides special instructions for indirectly manipulating address-only values, such as copy_addr and destroy_addr.

Some additional meaningful categories of type:

  • A heap object reference type is a type whose representation consists of a single strong-reference-counted pointer. This includes all class types, the Builtin.NativeObject and Builtin.UnknownObject types, and archetypes that conform to one or more class protocols.
  • A reference type is more general in that its low-level representation may include additional global pointers alongside a strong-reference-counted pointer. This includes all heap object reference types and adds thick function types and protocol/protocol composition types that conform to one or more class protocols. All reference types can be retain-ed and release-d. Reference types also have ownership semantics for their referenced heap object; see Reference Counting below.
  • A type with retainable pointer representation is guaranteed to be compatible (in the C sense) with the Objective-C id type. The value at runtime may be nil. This includes classes, class metatypes, block functions, and class-bounded existentials with only Objective-C-compatible protocol constraints, as well as one level of Optional or ImplicitlyUnwrappedOptional applied to any of the above. Types with retainable pointer representation can be returned via the @autoreleased return convention.

SILGen does not always map Swift function types one-to-one to SIL function types. Function types are transformed in order to encode additional attributes:

  • The convention of the function, indicated by the

    @convention(convention)
    

    attribute. This is similar to the language-level @convention attribute, though SIL extends the set of supported conventions with additional distinctions not exposed at the language level:

    • @convention(thin) indicates a "thin" function reference, which uses the Swift calling convention with no special "self" or "context" parameters.
    • @convention(thick) indicates a "thick" function reference, which uses the Swift calling convention and carries a reference-counted context object used to represent captures or other state required by the function.
    • @convention(block) indicates an Objective-C compatible block reference. The function value is represented as a reference to the block object, which is an id-compatible Objective-C object that embeds its invocation function within the object. The invocation function uses the C calling convention.
    • @convention(c) indicates a C function reference. The function value carries no context and uses the C calling convention.
    • @convention(objc_method) indicates an Objective-C method implementation. The function uses the C calling convention, with the SIL-level self parameter (by SIL convention mapped to the final formal parameter) mapped to the self and _cmd arguments of the implementation.
    • @convention(method) indicates a Swift instance method implementation. The function uses the Swift calling convention, using the special self parameter.
    • @convention(witness_method) indicates a Swift protocol method implementation. The function's polymorphic convention is emitted in such a way as to guarantee that it is polymorphic across all possible implementors of the protocol.
  • The fully uncurried representation of the function type, with all of the curried argument clauses flattened into a single argument clause. For instance, a curried function func foo(_ x:A)(y:B) -> C might be emitted as a function of type ((y:B), (x:A)) -> C. The exact representation depends on the function's calling convention, which determines the exact ordering of currying clauses. Methods are treated as a form of curried function.

Layout Compatible Types

(This section applies only to Swift 1.0 and will hopefully be obviated in future releases.)

SIL tries to be ignorant of the details of type layout, and low-level bit-banging operations such as pointer casts are generally undefined. However, as a concession to implementation convenience, some types are allowed to be considered layout compatible. Type T is layout compatible with type U iff:

  • an address of type $*U can be cast by address_to_pointer/pointer_to_address to $*T and a valid value of type T can be loaded out (or indirectly used, if T is address- only),
  • if T is a nontrivial type, then retain_value/release_value of the loaded T value is equivalent to retain_value/release_value of the original U value.

This is not always a commutative relationship; T can be layout-compatible with U whereas U is not layout-compatible with T. If the layout compatible relationship does extend both ways, T and U are commutatively layout compatible. It is however always transitive; if T is layout-compatible with U and U is layout-compatible with V, then T is layout-compatible with V. All types are layout-compatible with themselves.

The following types are considered layout-compatible:

  • Builtin.RawPointer is commutatively layout compatible with all heap object reference types, and Optional of heap object reference types. (Note that RawPointer is a trivial type, so does not have ownership semantics.)
  • Builtin.RawPointer is commutatively layout compatible with Builtin.Word.
  • Structs containing a single stored property are commutatively layout compatible with the type of that property.
  • A heap object reference is commutatively layout compatible with any type that can correctly reference the heap object. For instance, given a class B and a derived class D inheriting from B, a value of type B referencing an instance of type D is layout compatible with both B and D, as well as Builtin.NativeObject and Builtin.UnknownObject. It is not layout compatible with an unrelated class type E.
  • For payloaded enums, the payload type of the first payloaded case is layout-compatible with the enum (not commutatively).

Values and Operands

sil-identifier ::= [A-Za-z_0-9]+
sil-value-name ::= '%' sil-identifier
sil-value ::= sil-value-name
sil-value ::= 'undef'
sil-operand ::= sil-value ':' sil-type

SIL values are introduced with the % sigil and named by an alphanumeric identifier, which references the instruction or basic block argument that produces the value. SIL values may also refer to the keyword 'undef', which is a value of undefined contents.

Unlike LLVM IR, SIL instructions that take value operands only accept value operands. References to literal constants, functions, global variables, or other entities require specialized instructions such as integer_literal, function_ref, global_addr, etc.

Functions

decl ::= sil-function
sil-function ::= 'sil' sil-linkage? sil-function-name ':' sil-type
                   '{' sil-basic-block+ '}'
sil-function-name ::= '@' [A-Za-z_0-9]+

SIL functions are defined with the sil keyword. SIL function names are introduced with the @ sigil and named by an alphanumeric identifier. This name will become the LLVM IR name for the function, and is usually the mangled name of the originating Swift declaration. The sil syntax declares the function's name and SIL type, and defines the body of the function inside braces. The declared type must be a function type, which may be generic.

Basic Blocks

sil-basic-block ::= sil-label sil-instruction-def* sil-terminator
sil-label ::= sil-identifier ('(' sil-argument (',' sil-argument)* ')')? ':'
sil-argument ::= sil-value-name ':' sil-type

sil-instruction-def ::= (sil-value-name '=')? sil-instruction
                        (',' sil-loc)? (',' sil-scope-ref)?

A function body consists of one or more basic blocks that correspond to the nodes of the function's control flow graph. Each basic block contains one or more instructions and ends with a terminator instruction. The function's entry point is always the first basic block in its body.

In SIL, basic blocks take arguments, which are used as an alternative to LLVM's phi nodes. Basic block arguments are bound by the branch from the predecessor block:

sil @iif : $(Builtin.Int1, Builtin.Int64, Builtin.Int64) -> Builtin.Int64 {
bb0(%cond : $Builtin.Int1, %ifTrue : $Builtin.Int64, %ifFalse : $Builtin.Int64):
  cond_br %cond : $Builtin.Int1, then, else
then:
  br finish(%ifTrue : $Builtin.Int64)
else:
  br finish(%ifFalse : $Builtin.Int64)
finish(%result : $Builtin.Int64):
  return %result : $Builtin.Int64
}

Arguments to the entry point basic block, which has no predecessor, are bound by the function's caller:

sil @foo : $(Int) -> Int {
bb0(%x : $Int):
  return %x : $Int
}

sil @bar : $(Int, Int) -> () {
bb0(%x : $Int, %y : $Int):
  %foo = function_ref @foo
  %1 = apply %foo(%x) : $(Int) -> Int
  %2 = apply %foo(%y) : $(Int) -> Int
  %3 = tuple ()
  return %3 : $()
}

Debug Information

sil-scope-ref ::= 'scope' [0-9]+
sil-scope ::= 'sil_scope' [0-9]+ '{'
                 sil-loc
                 'parent' scope-parent
                 ('inlined_at' sil-scope-ref)?
              '}'
scope-parent ::= sil-function-name ':' sil-type
scope-parent ::= sil-scope-ref
sil-loc ::= 'loc' string-literal ':' [0-9]+ ':' [0-9]+

Each instruction may have a debug location and a SIL scope reference at the end. Debug locations consist of a filename, a line number, and a column number. If the debug location is omitted, it defaults to the location in the SIL source file. SIL scopes describe the position inside the lexical scope structure that the Swift expression a SIL instruction was generated from had originally. SIL scopes also hold inlining information.

Declaration References

sil-decl-ref ::= '#' sil-identifier ('.' sil-identifier)* sil-decl-subref?
sil-decl-subref ::= '!' sil-decl-subref-part ('.' sil-decl-uncurry-level)? ('.' sil-decl-lang)?
sil-decl-subref ::= '!' sil-decl-uncurry-level ('.' sil-decl-lang)?
sil-decl-subref ::= '!' sil-decl-lang
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'getter'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'setter'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'allocator'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'initializer'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'enumelt'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'destroyer'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'deallocator'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'globalaccessor'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'ivardestroyer'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'ivarinitializer'
sil-decl-subref-part ::= 'defaultarg' '.' [0-9]+
sil-decl-uncurry-level ::= [0-9]+
sil-decl-lang ::= 'foreign'

Some SIL instructions need to reference Swift declarations directly. These references are introduced with the # sigil followed by the fully qualified name of the Swift declaration. Some Swift declarations are decomposed into multiple entities at the SIL level. These are distinguished by following the qualified name with ! and one or more .-separated component entity discriminators:

  • getter: the getter function for a var declaration
  • setter: the setter function for a var declaration
  • allocator: a struct or enum constructor, or a class's allocating constructor
  • initializer: a class's initializing constructor
  • enumelt: a member of a enum type.
  • destroyer: a class's destroying destructor
  • deallocator: a class's deallocating destructor
  • globalaccessor: the addressor function for a global variable
  • ivardestroyer: a class's ivar destroyer
  • ivarinitializer: a class's ivar initializer
  • defaultarg.n: the default argument-generating function for the n-th argument of a Swift func
  • foreign: a specific entry point for C/Objective-C interoperability

Methods and curried function definitions in Swift also have multiple "uncurry levels" in SIL, representing the function at each possible partial application level. For a curried function declaration:

// Module example
func foo(_ x:A)(y:B)(z:C) -> D

The declaration references and types for the different uncurry levels are as follows:

#example.foo!0 : $@convention(thin) (x:A) -> (y:B) -> (z:C) -> D
#example.foo!1 : $@convention(thin) ((y:B), (x:A)) -> (z:C) -> D
#example.foo!2 : $@convention(thin) ((z:C), (y:B), (x:A)) -> D

The deepest uncurry level is referred to as the natural uncurry level. In this specific example, the reference at the natural uncurry level is #example.foo!2. Note that the uncurried argument clauses are composed right-to-left, as specified in the calling convention. For uncurry levels less than the uncurry level, the entry point itself is @convention(thin) but returns a thick function value carrying the partially applied arguments for its context.

Dynamic dispatch instructions such as class method require their method declaration reference to be uncurried to at least uncurry level 1 (which applies both the "self" argument and the method arguments), because uncurry level zero represents the application of the method to its "self" argument, as in foo.method, which is where the dynamic dispatch semantically occurs in Swift.

Linkage

sil-linkage ::= 'public'
sil-linkage ::= 'hidden'
sil-linkage ::= 'shared'
sil-linkage ::= 'private'
sil-linkage ::= 'public_external'
sil-linkage ::= 'hidden_external'

A linkage specifier controls the situations in which two objects in different SIL modules are linked, i.e. treated as the same object.

A linkage is external if it ends with the suffix external. An object must be a definition if its linkage is not external.

All functions, global variables, and witness tables have linkage. The default linkage of a definition is public. The default linkage of a declaration is public_external. (These may eventually change to hidden and hidden_external, respectively.)

On a global variable, an external linkage is what indicates that the variable is not a definition. A variable lacking an explicit linkage specifier is presumed a definition (and thus gets the default linkage for definitions, public.)

Definition of the linked relation

Two objects are linked if they have the same name and are mutually visible:

  • An object with public or public_external linkage is always visible.
  • An object with hidden, hidden_external, or shared linkage is visible only to objects in the same Swift module.
  • An object with private linkage is visible only to objects in the same SIL module.

Note that the linked relationship is an equivalence relation: it is reflexive, symmetric, and transitive.

Requirements on linked objects

If two objects are linked, they must have the same type.

If two objects are linked, they must have the same linkage, except:

  • A public object may be linked to a public_external object.
  • A hidden object may be linked to a hidden_external object.

If two objects are linked, at most one may be a definition, unless:

  • both objects have shared linkage or
  • at least one of the objects has an external linkage.

If two objects are linked, and both are definitions, then the definitions must be semantically equivalent. This equivalence may exist only on the level of user-visible semantics of well-defined code; it should not be taken to guarantee that the linked definitions are exactly operationally equivalent. For example, one definition of a function might copy a value out of an address parameter, while another may have had an analysis applied to prove that said value is not needed.

If an object has any uses, then it must be linked to a definition with non-external linkage.

Summary

  • public definitions are unique and visible everywhere in the program. In LLVM IR, they will be emitted with external linkage and default visibility.
  • hidden definitions are unique and visible only within the current Swift module. In LLVM IR, they will be emitted with external linkage and hidden visibility.
  • private definitions are unique and visible only within the current SIL module. In LLVM IR, they will be emitted with private linkage.
  • shared definitions are visible only within the current Swift module. They can be linked only with other shared definitions, which must be equivalent; therefore, they only need to be emitted if actually used. In LLVM IR, they will be emitted with linkonce_odr linkage and hidden visibility.
  • public_external and hidden_external objects always have visible definitions somewhere else. If this object nonetheless has a definition, it's only for the benefit of optimization or analysis. In LLVM IR, declarations will have external linkage and definitions (if actually emitted as definitions) will have available_externally linkage.

VTables

decl ::= sil-vtable
sil-vtable ::= 'sil_vtable' identifier '{' sil-vtable-entry* '}'

sil-vtable-entry ::= sil-decl-ref ':' sil-linkage? sil-function-name

SIL represents dynamic dispatch for class methods using the class_method, super_method, and dynamic_method instructions. The potential destinations for these dispatch operations are tracked in sil_vtable declarations for every class type. The declaration contains a mapping from every method of the class (including those inherited from its base class) to the SIL function that implements the method for that class:

class A {
  func foo()
  func bar()
  func bas()
}

sil @A_foo : $@convention(thin) (@owned A) -> ()
sil @A_bar : $@convention(thin) (@owned A) -> ()
sil @A_bas : $@convention(thin) (@owned A) -> ()

sil_vtable A {
  #A.foo!1: @A_foo
  #A.bar!1: @A_bar
  #A.bas!1: @A_bas
}

class B : A {
  func bar()
}

sil @B_bar : $@convention(thin) (@owned B) -> ()

sil_vtable B {
  #A.foo!1: @A_foo
  #A.bar!1: @B_bar
  #A.bas!1: @A_bas
}

class C : B {
  func bas()
}

sil @C_bas : $@convention(thin) (@owned C) -> ()

sil_vtable C {
  #A.foo!1: @A_foo
  #A.bar!1: @B_bar
  #A.bas!1: @C_bas
}

Note that the declaration reference in the vtable is to the least-derived method visible through that class (in the example above, B's vtable references A.bar and not B.bar, and C's vtable references A.bas and not C.bas). The Swift AST maintains override relationships between declarations that can be used to look up overridden methods in the SIL vtable for a derived class (such as C.bas in C's vtable).

In case the SIL function is a thunk, the function name is preceded with the linkage of the original implementing function.

Witness Tables

decl ::= sil-witness-table
sil-witness-table ::= 'sil_witness_table' sil-linkage?
                      normal-protocol-conformance '{' sil-witness-entry* '}'

SIL encodes the information needed for dynamic dispatch of generic types into witness tables. This information is used to produce runtime dispatch tables when generating binary code. It can also be used by SIL optimizations to specialize generic functions. A witness table is emitted for every declared explicit conformance. Generic types share one generic witness table for all of their instances. Derived classes inherit the witness tables of their base class.

protocol-conformance ::= normal-protocol-conformance
protocol-conformance ::= 'inherit' '(' protocol-conformance ')'
protocol-conformance ::= 'specialize' '<' substitution* '>'
                         '(' protocol-conformance ')'
protocol-conformance ::= 'dependent'
normal-protocol-conformance ::= identifier ':' identifier 'module' identifier

Witness tables are keyed by protocol conformance, which is a unique identifier for a concrete type's conformance to a protocol.

  • A normal protocol conformance names a (potentially unbound generic) type, the protocol it conforms to, and the module in which the type or extension declaration that provides the conformance appears. These correspond 1:1 to protocol conformance declarations in the source code.
  • If a derived class conforms to a protocol through inheritance from its base class, this is represented by an inherited protocol conformance, which simply references the protocol conformance for the base class.
  • If an instance of a generic type conforms to a protocol, it does so with a specialized conformance, which provides the generic parameter bindings to the normal conformance, which should be for a generic type.

Witness tables are only directly associated with normal conformances. Inherited and specialized conformances indirectly reference the witness table of the underlying normal conformance.

sil-witness-entry ::= 'base_protocol' identifier ':' protocol-conformance
sil-witness-entry ::= 'method' sil-decl-ref ':' sil-function-name
sil-witness-entry ::= 'associated_type' identifier
sil-witness-entry ::= 'associated_type_protocol'
                      '(' identifier ':' identifier ')' ':' protocol-conformance

Witness tables consist of the following entries:

  • Base protocol entries provide references to the protocol conformances that satisfy the witnessed protocols' inherited protocols.
  • Method entries map a method requirement of the protocol to a SIL function that implements that method for the witness type. One method entry must exist for every required method of the witnessed protocol.
  • Associated type entries map an associated type requirement of the protocol to the type that satisfies that requirement for the witness type. Note that the witness type is a source-level Swift type and not a SIL type. One associated type entry must exist for every required associated type of the witnessed protocol.
  • Associated type protocol entries map a protocol requirement on an associated type to the protocol conformance that satisfies that requirement for the associated type.

Default Witness Tables

decl ::= sil-default-witness-table
sil-default-witness-table ::= 'sil_default_witness_table'
                              identifier minimum-witness-table-size
                              '{' sil-default-witness-entry* '}'
minimum-witness-table-size ::= integer

SIL encodes requirements with resilient default implementations in a default witness table. We say a requirement has a resilient default implementation if the following conditions hold:

  • The requirement has a default implementation
  • The requirement is either the last requirement in the protocol, or all subsequent requirements also have resilient default implementations

The set of requirements with resilient default implementations is stored in protocol metadata.

The minimum witness table size is the size of the witness table, in words, not including any requirements with resilient default implementations.

Any conforming witness table must have a size between the minimum size, and the maximum size, which is equal to the minimum size plus the number of default requirements.

At load time, if the runtime encounters a witness table with fewer than the maximum number of witnesses, the witness table is copied, with default witnesses copied in. This ensures that callers can always expect to find the correct number of requirements in each witness table, and new requirements can be added by the framework author, without breaking client code, as long as the new requirements have resilient default implementations.

Default witness tables are keyed by the protocol itself. Only protocols with public visibility need a default witness table; private and internal protocols are never seen outside the module, therefore there are no resilience issues with adding new requirements.

sil-default-witness-entry ::= 'method' sil-decl-ref ':' sil-function-name

Default witness tables currently contain only one type of entry:

  • Method entries map a method requirement of the protocol to a SIL function that implements that method in a manner suitable for all witness types.

Global Variables

decl ::= sil-global-variable
sil-global-variable ::= 'sil_global' sil-linkage identifier ':' sil-type

SIL representation of a global variable.

Global variable access is performed by the alloc_global and global_addr SIL instructions. Prior to performing any access on the global, the alloc_global instruction must be performed to initialize the storage.

Once a global's storage has been initialized, global_addr is used to project the value.

Dataflow Errors

Dataflow errors may exist in raw SIL. Swift's semantics defines these conditions as errors, so they must be diagnosed by diagnostic passes and must not exist in canonical SIL.

Definitive Initialization

Swift requires that all local variables be initialized before use. In constructors, all instance variables of a struct, enum, or class type must be initialized before the object is used and before the constructor is returned from.

Unreachable Control Flow

The unreachable terminator is emitted in raw SIL to mark incorrect control flow, such as a non-Void function failing to return a value, or a switch statement failing to cover all possible values of its subject. The guaranteed dead code elimination pass can eliminate truly unreachable basic blocks, or unreachable instructions may be dominated by applications of functions returning uninhabited types. An unreachable instruction that survives guaranteed DCE and is not immediately preceded by a no-return application is a dataflow error.

Runtime Failure

Some operations, such as failed unconditional checked conversions or the Builtin.trap compiler builtin, cause a runtime failure, which unconditionally terminates the current actor. If it can be proven that a runtime failure will occur or did occur, runtime failures may be reordered so long as they remain well-ordered relative to operations external to the actor or the program as a whole. For instance, with overflow checking on integer arithmetic enabled, a simple for loop that reads inputs in from one or more arrays and writes outputs to another array, all local to the current actor, may cause runtime failure in the update operations:

// Given unknown start and end values, this loop may overflow
for var i = unknownStartValue; i != unknownEndValue; ++i {
  ...
}

It is permitted to hoist the overflow check and associated runtime failure out of the loop itself and check the bounds of the loop prior to entering it, so long as the loop body has no observable effect outside of the current actor.

Undefined Behavior

Incorrect use of some operations is undefined behavior, such as invalid unchecked casts involving Builtin.RawPointer types, or use of compiler builtins that lower to LLVM instructions with undefined behavior at the LLVM level. A SIL program with undefined behavior is meaningless, much like undefined behavior in C, and has no predictable semantics. Undefined behavior should not be triggered by valid SIL emitted by a correct Swift program using a correct standard library, but cannot in all cases be diagnosed or verified at the SIL level.

Calling Convention

This section describes how Swift functions are emitted in SIL.

Swift Calling Convention @convention(swift)

The Swift calling convention is the one used by default for native Swift functions.

Tuples in the input type of the function are recursively destructured into separate arguments, both in the entry point basic block of the callee, and in the apply instructions used by callers:

func foo(_ x:Int, y:Int)

sil @foo : $(x:Int, y:Int) -> () {
entry(%x : $Int, %y : $Int):
  ...
}

func bar(_ x:Int, y:(Int, Int))

sil @bar : $(x:Int, y:(Int, Int)) -> () {
entry(%x : $Int, %y0 : $Int, %y1 : $Int):
  ...
}

func call_foo_and_bar() {
  foo(1, 2)
  bar(4, (5, 6))
}

sil @call_foo_and_bar : $() -> () {
entry:
  ...
  %foo = function_ref @foo : $(x:Int, y:Int) -> ()
  %foo_result = apply %foo(%1, %2) : $(x:Int, y:Int) -> ()
  ...
  %bar = function_ref @bar : $(x:Int, y:(Int, Int)) -> ()
  %bar_result = apply %bar(%4, %5, %6) : $(x:Int, y:(Int, Int)) -> ()
}

Calling a function with trivial value types as inputs and outputs simply passes the arguments by value. This Swift function:

func foo(_ x:Int, y:Float) -> UnicodeScalar

foo(x, y)

gets called in SIL as:

%foo = constant_ref $(Int, Float) -> UnicodeScalar, @foo
%z = apply %foo(%x, %y) : $(Int, Float) -> UnicodeScalar

Reference Counts

NOTE This section only is speaking in terms of rules of thumb. The actual behavior of arguments with respect to arguments is defined by the argument's convention attribute (e.g. @owned), not the calling convention itself.

Reference type arguments are passed in at +1 retain count and consumed by the callee. A reference type return value is returned at +1 and consumed by the caller. Value types with reference type components have their reference type components each retained and released the same way. This Swift function:

class A {}

func bar(_ x:A) -> (Int, A) { ... }

bar(x)

gets called in SIL as:

%bar = function_ref @bar : $(A) -> (Int, A)
strong_retain %x : $A
%z = apply %bar(%x) : $(A) -> (Int, A)
// ... use %z ...
%z_1 = tuple_extract %z : $(Int, A), 1
strong_release %z_1

When applying a thick function value as a callee, the function value is also consumed at +1 retain count.

Address-Only Types

For address-only arguments, the caller allocates a copy and passes the address of the copy to the callee. The callee takes ownership of the copy and is responsible for destroying or consuming the value, though the caller must still deallocate the memory. For address-only return values, the caller allocates an uninitialized buffer and passes its address as the first argument to the callee. The callee must initialize this buffer before returning. This Swift function:

 @API struct A {}

func bas(_ x:A, y:Int) -> A { return x }

var z = bas(x, y)
// ... use z ...

gets called in SIL as:

%bas = function_ref @bas : $(A, Int) -> A
%z = alloc_stack $A
%x_arg = alloc_stack $A
copy_addr %x to [initialize] %x_arg : $*A
apply %bas(%z, %x_arg, %y) : $(A, Int) -> A
dealloc_stack %x_arg : $*A // callee consumes %x.arg, caller deallocs
// ... use %z ...
destroy_addr %z : $*A
dealloc_stack stack %z : $*A

The implementation of @bas is then responsible for consuming %x_arg and initializing %z.

Tuple arguments are destructured regardless of the address-only-ness of the tuple type. The destructured fields are passed individually according to the above convention. This Swift function:

@API struct A {}

func zim(_ x:Int, y:A, (z:Int, w:(A, Int)))

zim(x, y, (z, w))

gets called in SIL as:

%zim = function_ref @zim : $(x:Int, y:A, (z:Int, w:(A, Int))) -> ()
%y_arg = alloc_stack $A
copy_addr %y to [initialize] %y_arg : $*A
%w_0_addr = element_addr %w : $*(A, Int), 0
%w_0_arg = alloc_stack $A
copy_addr %w_0_addr to [initialize] %w_0_arg : $*A
%w_1_addr = element_addr %w : $*(A, Int), 1
%w_1 = load %w_1_addr : $*Int
apply %zim(%x, %y_arg, %z, %w_0_arg, %w_1) : $(x:Int, y:A, (z:Int, w:(A, Int))) -> ()
dealloc_stack %w_0_arg
dealloc_stack %y_arg

Variadic Arguments

Variadic arguments and tuple elements are packaged into an array and passed as a single array argument. This Swift function:

func zang(_ x:Int, (y:Int, z:Int...), v:Int, w:Int...)

zang(x, (y, z0, z1), v, w0, w1, w2)

gets called in SIL as:

%zang = function_ref @zang : $(x:Int, (y:Int, z:Int...), v:Int, w:Int...) -> ()
%zs = <<make array from %z1, %z2>>
%ws = <<make array from %w0, %w1, %w2>>
apply %zang(%x, %y, %zs, %v, %ws)  : $(x:Int, (y:Int, z:Int...), v:Int, w:Int...) -> ()

Function Currying

Curried function definitions in Swift emit multiple SIL entry points, one for each "uncurry level" of the function. When a function is uncurried, its outermost argument clauses are combined into a tuple in right-to-left order. For the following declaration:

func curried(_ x:A)(y:B)(z:C)(w:D) -> Int {}

The types of the SIL entry points are as follows:

sil @curried_0 : $(x:A) -> (y:B) -> (z:C) -> (w:D) -> Int { ... }
sil @curried_1 : $((y:B), (x:A)) -> (z:C) -> (w:D) -> Int { ... }
sil @curried_2 : $((z:C), (y:B), (x:A)) -> (w:D) -> Int { ... }
sil @curried_3 : $((w:D), (z:C), (y:B), (x:A)) -> Int { ... }

@inout Arguments

@inout arguments are passed into the entry point by address. The callee does not take ownership of the referenced memory. The referenced memory must be initialized upon function entry and exit. If the @inout argument refers to a fragile physical variable, then the argument is the address of that variable. If the @inout argument refers to a logical property, then the argument is the address of a caller-owned writeback buffer. It is the caller's responsibility to initialize the buffer by storing the result of the property getter prior to calling the function and to write back to the property on return by loading from the buffer and invoking the setter with the final value. This Swift function:

func inout(_ x: inout Int) {
  x = 1
}

gets lowered to SIL as:

sil @inout : $(@inout Int) -> () {
entry(%x : $*Int):
  %1 = integer_literal $Int, 1
  store %1 to %x
  return
}

Swift Method Calling Convention @convention(method)

The method calling convention is currently identical to the freestanding function convention. Methods are considered to be curried functions, taking the "self" argument as their outer argument clause, and the method arguments as the inner argument clause(s). When uncurried, the "self" argument is thus passed last:

struct Foo {
  func method(_ x:Int) -> Int {}
}

sil @Foo_method_1 : $((x : Int), @inout Foo) -> Int { ... }

Witness Method Calling Convention @convention(witness_method)

The witness method calling convention is used by protocol witness methods in witness tables. It is identical to the method calling convention except that its handling of generic type parameters. For non-witness methods, the machine-level convention for passing type parameter metadata may be arbitrarily dependent on static aspects of the function signature, but because witnesses must be polymorphically dispatchable on their Self type, the Self-related metadata for a witness must be passed in a maximally abstracted manner.

C Calling Convention @convention(c)

In Swift's C module importer, C types are always mapped to Swift types considered trivial by SIL. SIL does not concern itself with platform ABI requirements for indirect return, register vs. stack passing, etc.; C function arguments and returns in SIL are always by value regardless of the platform calling convention.

SIL (and therefore Swift) cannot currently invoke variadic C functions.

Objective-C Calling Convention @convention(objc_method)

Reference Counts

Objective-C methods use the same argument and return value ownership rules as ARC Objective-C. Selector families and the ns_consumed, ns_returns_retained, etc. attributes from imported Objective-C definitions are honored.

Applying a @convention(block) value does not consume the block.

Method Currying

In SIL, the "self" argument of an Objective-C method is uncurried to the last argument of the uncurried type, just like a native Swift method:

@objc class NSString {
  func stringByPaddingToLength(Int) withString(NSString) startingAtIndex(Int)
}

sil @NSString_stringByPaddingToLength_withString_startingAtIndex \
  : $((Int, NSString, Int), NSString)

That self is passed as the first argument at the IR level is abstracted away in SIL, as is the existence of the _cmd selector argument.

Type Based Alias Analysis

SIL supports two types of Type Based Alias Analysis (TBAA): Class TBAA and Typed Access TBAA.

Class TBAA

Class instances and other heap object references are pointers at the implementation level, but unlike SIL addresses, they are first class values and can be capture-d and aliased. Swift, however, is memory-safe and statically typed, so aliasing of classes is constrained by the type system as follows:

  • A Builtin.NativeObject may alias any native Swift heap object, including a Swift class instance, a box allocated by alloc_box, or a thick function's closure context. It may not alias natively Objective-C class instances.
  • A Builtin.UnknownObject or Builtin.BridgeObject may alias any class instance, whether Swift or Objective-C, but may not alias non-class-instance heap objects.
  • Two values of the same class type $C may alias. Two values of related class type $B and $D, where there is a subclass relationship between $B and $D, may alias. Two values of unrelated class types may not alias. This includes different instantiations of a generic class type, such as $C<Int> and $C<Float>, which currently may never alias.
  • Without whole-program visibility, values of archetype or protocol type must be assumed to potentially alias any class instance. Even if it is locally apparent that a class does not conform to that protocol, another component may introduce a conformance by an extension. Similarly, a generic class instance, such as $C<T> for archetype T, must be assumed to potentially alias concrete instances of the generic type, such as $C<Int>, because Int is a potential substitution for T.

A violation of the above aliasing rules only results in undefined behavior if the aliasing references are dereferenced within Swift code. For example, _SwiftNativeNS[Array|Dictionary|String] classes alias with NS[Array|Dictionary|String] classes even though they are not statically related. Since Swift never directly accesses stored properties on the Foundation classes, this aliasing does not pose a danger.

Typed Access TBAA

Define a typed access of an address or reference as one of the following:

  • Any instruction that performs a typed read or write operation upon the memory at the given location (e.x. load, store).
  • Any instruction that yields a typed offset of the pointer by performing a typed projection operation (e.x. ref_element_addr, tuple_element_addr).

With limited exceptions, it is undefined behavior to perform a typed access to an address or reference addressed memory is not bound to the relevant type.

This allows the optimizer to assume that two addresses cannot alias if there does not exist a substitution of archetypes that could cause one of the types to be the type of a subobject of the other. Additionally, this applies to the types of the values from which the addresses were derived via a typed projection.

Consider the following SIL:

struct Element {
  var i: Int
}
struct S1 {
  var elt: Element
}
struct S2 {
  var elt: Element
}
%adr1 = struct_element_addr %ptr1 : $*S1, #S.elt
%adr2 = struct_element_addr %ptr2 : $*S2, #S.elt

The optimizer may assume that %adr1 does not alias with %adr2 because the values that the addresses are derived from (%ptr1 and %ptr2) have unrelated types. However, in the following example, the optimizer cannot assume that %adr1 does not alias with %adr2 because %adr2 is derived from a cast, and any subsequent typed operations on the address will refer to the common Element type:

%adr1 = struct_element_addr %ptr1 : $*S1, #S.elt
%adr2 = pointer_to_address %ptr2 : $Builtin.RawPointer to $*Element

Exceptions to typed access TBAA rules are only allowed for blessed alias-introducing operations. This permits limited type-punning. The only current exception is the non-struct pointer_to_address variant. The optimizer must be able to defensively determine that none of the roots of an address are alias-introducing operations. An address root is the operation that produces the address prior to applying any typed projections, indexing, or casts. The following are valid address roots:

  • Object allocation that generates an address, such as alloc_stack and alloc_box.
  • Address-type function arguments. These are crucially not considered alias-introducing operations. It is illegal for the SIL optimizer to form a new function argument from an arbitrary address-type value. Doing so would require the optimizer to guarantee that the new argument is both has a non-alias-introducing address root and can be properly represented by the calling convention (address types do not have a fixed representation).
  • A strict cast from an untyped pointer, pointer_to_address [strict]. It is illegal for pointer_to_address [strict] to derive its address from an alias-introducing operation's value. A type punned address may only be produced from an opaque pointer via a non-strict pointer_to_address at the point of conversion.

Address-to-address casts, via unchecked_addr_cast, transparently forward their source's address root, just like typed projections.

Address-type basic block arguments can be conservatively considered aliasing-introducing operations; they are uncommon enough not to matter and may eventually be prohibited altogether.

Although some pointer producing intrinsics exist, they do not need to be considered alias-introducing exceptions to TBAA rules. Builtin.inttoptr produces a Builtin.RawPointer which is not interesting because by definition it may alias with everything. Similarly, the LLVM builtins Builtin.bitcast and Builtin.trunc|sext|zextBitCast cannot produce typed pointers. These pointer values must be converted to an address via pointer_to_address before typed access can occur. Whether the pointer_to_address is strict determines whether aliasing may occur.

Memory may be rebound to an unrelated type. Addresses to unrelated types may alias as long as typed access only occurs while memory is bound to the relevant type. Consequently, the optimizer cannot outright assume that addresses accessed as unrelated types are nonaliasing. For example, pointer comparison cannot be eliminated simply because the two addresses derived from those pointers are accessed as unrelated types at different program points.

Value Dependence

In general, analyses can assume that independent values are independently assured of validity. For example, a class method may return a class reference:

bb0(%0 : $MyClass):
  %1 = class_method %0 : $MyClass, #MyClass.foo!1
  %2 = apply %1(%0) : $@convention(method) (@guaranteed MyClass) -> @owned MyOtherClass
  // use of %2 goes here; no use of %1
  strong_release %2 : $MyOtherClass
  strong_release %1 : $MyClass

The optimizer is free to move the release of %1 to immediately after the call here, because %2 can be assumed to be an independently-managed value, and because Swift generally permits the reordering of destructors.

However, some instructions do create values that are intrinsically dependent on their operands. For example, the result of ref_element_addr will become a dangling pointer if the base is released too soon. This is captured by the concept of value dependence, and any transformation which can reorder of destruction of a value around another operation must remain conscious of it.

A value %1 is said to be value-dependent on a value %0 if:

  • %1 is the result and %0 is the first operand of one of the following instructions:
    • ref_element_addr
    • struct_element_addr
    • tuple_element_addr
    • unchecked_take_enum_data_addr
    • pointer_to_address
    • address_to_pointer
    • index_addr
    • index_raw_pointer
    • possibly some other conversions
  • %1 is the result of mark_dependence and %0 is either of the operands.
  • %1 is the value address of a box allocation instruction of which %0 is the box reference.
  • %1 is the result of a struct, tuple, or enum instruction and %0 is an operand.
  • %1 is the result of projecting out a subobject of %0 with tuple_extract, struct_extract, unchecked_enum_data, select_enum, or select_enum_addr.
  • %1 is the result of select_value and %0 is one of the cases.
  • %1 is a basic block parameter and %0 is the corresponding argument from a branch to that block.
  • %1 is the result of a load from %0. However, the value dependence is cut after the first attempt to manage the value of %1, e.g. by retaining it.
  • Transitivity: there exists a value %2 which %1 depends on and which depends on %0. However, transitivity does not apply to different subobjects of a struct, tuple, or enum.

Note, however, that an analysis is not required to track dependence through memory. Nor is it required to consider the possibility of dependence being established "behind the scenes" by opaque code, such as by a method returning an unsafe pointer to a class property. The dependence is required to be locally obvious in a function's SIL instructions. Precautions must be taken against this either by SIL generators (by using mark_dependence appropriately) or by the user (by using the appropriate intrinsics and attributes with unsafe language or library features).

Only certain types of SIL value can carry value-dependence:

  • SIL address types
  • unmanaged pointer types:
    • @sil_unmanaged types
    • Builtin.RawPointer
    • aggregates containing such a type, such as UnsafePointer, possibly recursively
  • non-trivial types (but they can be independently managed)

This rule means that casting a pointer to an integer type breaks value-dependence. This restriction is necessary so that reading an Int from a class doesn't force the class to be kept around! A class holding an unsafe reference to an object must use some sort of unmanaged pointer type to do so.

This rule does not include generic or resilient value types which might contain unmanaged pointer types. Analyses are free to assume that e.g. a copy_addr of a generic or resilient value type yields an independently-managed value. The extension of value dependence to types containing obvious unmanaged pointer types is an affordance to make the use of such types more convenient; it does not shift the ultimate responsibility for assuring the safety of unsafe language/library features away from the user.

Instruction Set

Allocation and Deallocation

These instructions allocate and deallocate memory.

alloc_stack

sil-instruction ::= 'alloc_stack' sil-type (',' debug-var-attr)*

%1 = alloc_stack $T
// %1 has type $*T

Allocates uninitialized memory that is sufficiently aligned on the stack to contain a value of type T. The result of the instruction is the address of the allocated memory.

If a type is runtime-sized, the compiler must emit code to potentially dynamically allocate memory. So there is no guarantee that the allocated memory is really located on the stack.

alloc_stack marks the start of the lifetime of the value; the allocation must be balanced with a dealloc_stack instruction to mark the end of its lifetime. All alloc_stack allocations must be deallocated prior to returning from a function. If a block has multiple predecessors, the stack height and order of allocations must be consistent coming from all predecessor blocks. alloc_stack allocations must be deallocated in last-in, first-out stack order.

The memory is not retainable. To allocate a retainable box for a value type, use alloc_box.

alloc_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'alloc_ref'
                      ('[' 'objc' ']')?
                      ('[' 'stack' ']')?
                      ('[' 'tail_elems' sil-type '*' sil-operand ']')*
                      sil-type

%1 = alloc_ref [stack] $T
%1 = alloc_ref [tail_elems $E * %2 : Builtin.Word] $T
// $T must be a reference type
// %1 has type $T
// $E is the type of the tail-allocated elements
// %2 must be of a builtin integer type

Allocates an object of reference type T. The object will be initialized with retain count 1; its state will be otherwise uninitialized. The optional objc attribute indicates that the object should be allocated using Objective-C's allocation methods (+allocWithZone:).

The optional stack attribute indicates that the object can be allocated on the stack instead on the heap. In this case the instruction must have balanced with a dealloc_ref [stack] instruction to mark the end of the object's lifetime. Note that the stack attribute only specifies that stack allocation is possible. The final decision on stack allocation is done during llvm IR generation. This is because the decision also depends on the object size, which is not necessarily known at SIL level.

The optional tail_elems attributes specifies the amount of space to be reserved for tail-allocated arrays of given element types and element counts. If there are more than one tail_elems attributes then the tail arrays are allocated in the specified order. The count-operand must be of a builtin integer type. The instructions ref_tail_addr and tail_addr can be used to project the tail elements. The objc attribute cannot be used together with tail_elems.

alloc_ref_dynamic

sil-instruction ::= 'alloc_ref_dynamic'
                      ('[' 'objc' ']')?
                      ('[' 'tail_elems' sil-type '*' sil-operand ']')*
                      sil-operand ',' sil-type

%1 = alloc_ref_dynamic %0 : $@thick T.Type, $T
%1 = alloc_ref_dynamic [objc] %0 : $@objc_metatype T.Type, $T
%1 = alloc_ref_dynamic [tail_elems $E * %2 : Builtin.Word] %0 : $@thick T.Type, $T
// $T must be a class type
// %1 has type $T
// $E is the type of the tail-allocated elements
// %2 must be of a builtin integer type

Allocates an object of class type T or a subclass thereof. The dynamic type of the resulting object is specified via the metatype value %0. The object will be initialized with retain count 1; its state will be otherwise uninitialized.

The optional tail_elems and objc attributes have the same effect as for alloc_ref. See alloc_ref for details.

alloc_box

sil-instruction ::= 'alloc_box' sil-type (',' debug-var-attr)*

%1 = alloc_box $T
//   %1 has type $@box T

Allocates a reference-counted @box on the heap large enough to hold a value of type T, along with a retain count and any other metadata required by the runtime. The result of the instruction is the reference-counted @box reference that owns the box. The project_box instruction is used to retrieve the address of the value inside the box.

The box will be initialized with a retain count of 1; the storage will be uninitialized. The box owns the contained value, and releasing it to a retain count of zero destroys the contained value as if by destroy_addr. Releasing a box is undefined behavior if the box's value is uninitialized. To deallocate a box whose value has not been initialized, dealloc_box should be used.

alloc_value_buffer

sil-instruction ::= 'alloc_value_buffer' sil-type 'in' sil-operand

%1 = alloc_value_buffer $(Int, T) in %0 : $*Builtin.UnsafeValueBuffer
// The operand must have the exact type shown.
// The result has type $*(Int, T).

Given the address of an unallocated value buffer, allocate space in it for a value of the given type. This instruction has undefined behavior if the value buffer is currently allocated.

The type operand must be a lowered object type.

alloc_global

sil-instruction ::= 'alloc_global' sil-global-name

alloc_global @foo

Initialize the storage for a global variable. This instruction has undefined behavior if the global variable has already been initialized.

The type operand must be a lowered object type.

dealloc_stack

sil-instruction ::= 'dealloc_stack' sil-operand

dealloc_stack %0 : $*T
// %0 must be of $*T type

Deallocates memory previously allocated by alloc_stack. The allocated value in memory must be uninitialized or destroyed prior to being deallocated. This instruction marks the end of the lifetime for the value created by the corresponding alloc_stack instruction. The operand must be the shallowest live alloc_stack allocation preceding the deallocation. In other words, deallocations must be in last-in, first-out stack order.

dealloc_box

sil-instruction ::= 'dealloc_box' sil-operand

dealloc_box %0 : $@box T

Deallocates a box, bypassing the reference counting mechanism. The box variable must have a retain count of one. The boxed type must match the type passed to the corresponding alloc_box exactly, or else undefined behavior results.

This does not destroy the boxed value. The contents of the value must have been fully uninitialized or destroyed before dealloc_box is applied.

project_box

sil-instruction ::= 'project_box' sil-operand

%1 = project_box %0 : $@box T

// %1 has type $*T

Given a @box T reference, produces the address of the value inside the box.

dealloc_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'dealloc_ref' ('[' 'stack' ']')? sil-operand

dealloc_ref [stack] %0 : $T
// $T must be a class type

Deallocates an uninitialized class type instance, bypassing the reference counting mechanism.

The type of the operand must match the allocated type exactly, or else undefined behavior results.

The instance must have a retain count of one.

This does not destroy stored properties of the instance. The contents of stored properties must be fully uninitialized at the time dealloc_ref is applied.

The stack attribute indicates that the instruction is the balanced deallocation of its operand which must be a alloc_ref [stack]. In this case the instruction marks the end of the object's lifetime but has no other effect.

dealloc_partial_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'dealloc_partial_ref' sil-operand sil-metatype

dealloc_partial_ref %0 : $T, %1 : $U.Type
// $T must be a class type
// $T must be a subclass of U

Deallocates a partially-initialized class type instance, bypassing the reference counting mechanism.

The type of the operand must be a supertype of the allocated type, or else undefined behavior results.

The instance must have a retain count of one.

All stored properties in classes more derived than the given metatype value must be initialized, and all other stored properties must be uninitialized. The initialized stored properties are destroyed before deallocating the memory for the instance.

This does not destroy the reference type instance. The contents of the heap object must have been fully uninitialized or destroyed before dealloc_ref is applied.

dealloc_value_buffer

sil-instruction ::= 'dealloc_value_buffer' sil-type 'in' sil-operand

dealloc_value_buffer $(Int, T) in %0 : $*Builtin.UnsafeValueBuffer
// The operand must have the exact type shown.

Given the address of a value buffer, deallocate the storage in it. This instruction has undefined behavior if the value buffer is not currently allocated, or if it was allocated with a type other than the type operand.

The type operand must be a lowered object type.

project_value_buffer

sil-instruction ::= 'project_value_buffer' sil-type 'in' sil-operand

%1 = project_value_buffer $(Int, T) in %0 : $*Builtin.UnsafeValueBuffer
// The operand must have the exact type shown.
// The result has type $*(Int, T).

Given the address of a value buffer, return the address of the value storage in it. This instruction has undefined behavior if the value buffer is not currently allocated, or if it was allocated with a type other than the type operand.

The result is the same value as was originally returned by alloc_value_buffer.

The type operand must be a lowered object type.

Debug Information

Debug information is generally associated with allocations (alloc_stack or alloc_box) by having a Decl node attached to the allocation with a SILLocation. For declarations that have no allocation we have explicit instructions for doing this. This is used by 'let' declarations, which bind a value to a name and for var decls who are promoted into registers. The decl they refer to is attached to the instruction with a SILLocation.

debug_value

sil-instruction ::= debug_value sil-operand (',' debug-var-attr)*

debug_value %1 : $Int

This indicates that the value of a declaration with loadable type has changed value to the specified operand. The declaration in question is identified by the SILLocation attached to the debug_value instruction.

The operand must have loadable type.

debug-var-attr ::= 'var'
debug-var-attr ::= 'let'
debug-var-attr ::= 'name' string-literal
debug-var-attr ::= 'argno' integer-literal

There are a number of attributes that provide details about the source variable that is being described, including the name of the variable. For function and closure arguments argno is the number of the function argument starting with 1.

debug_value_addr

sil-instruction ::= debug_value_addr sil-operand (',' debug-var-attr)*

debug_value_addr %7 : $*SomeProtocol

This indicates that the value of a declaration with address-only type has changed value to the specified operand. The declaration in question is identified by the SILLocation attached to the debug_value_addr instruction.

Accessing Memory

load

sil-instruction ::= 'load' sil-operand

%1 = load %0 : $*T
// %0 must be of a $*T address type for loadable type $T
// %1 will be of type $T

Loads the value at address %0 from memory. T must be a loadable type. This does not affect the reference count, if any, of the loaded value; the value must be retained explicitly if necessary. It is undefined behavior to load from uninitialized memory or to load from an address that points to deallocated storage.

store

sil-instruction ::= 'store' sil-value 'to' sil-operand

store %0 to %1 : $*T
// $T must be a loadable type

Stores the value %0 to memory at address %1. The type of %1 is *T and the type of %0 is ``T, which must be a loadable type. This will overwrite the memory at %1. If %1 already references a value that requires release or other cleanup, that value must be loaded before being stored over and cleaned up. It is undefined behavior to store to an address that points to deallocated storage.

load_borrow

sil-instruction ::= 'load_borrow' sil-value

%1 = load_borrow %0 : $*T
// $T must be a loadable type

Loads the value %1 from the memory location %0. The load_borrow instruction creates a borrowed scope in which a read-only borrow value %1 can be used to read the value stored in %0. The end of scope is delimited by an end_borrow instruction. All load_borrow instructions must be paired with exactly one end_borrow instruction along any path through the program. Until end_borrow, it is illegal to invalidate or store to %0.

end_borrow

sil-instruction ::= 'end_borrow' sil-value 'from' sil-value : sil-type, sil-type

end_borrow %1 from %0 : $T, $T
end_borrow %1 from %0 : $T, $*T
end_borrow %1 from %0 : $*T, $T
end_borrow %1 from %0 : $*T, $*T
// We allow for end_borrow to be specified in between values and addresses
// all of the same type T.

Ends the scope for which the SILValue %1 is borrowed from the SILValue %0. Must be paired with at most 1 borrowing instruction (like load_borrow) along any path through the program. In the region in between the borrow instruction and the end_borrow, the original SILValue can not be modified. This means that:

  1. If %0 is an address, %0 can not be written to.
  2. If %0 is a non-trivial value, %0 can not be destroyed.

We require that %1 and %0 have the same type ignoring SILValueCategory.

assign

sil-instruction ::= 'assign' sil-value 'to' sil-operand

assign %0 to %1 : $*T
// $T must be a loadable type

Represents an abstract assignment of the value %0 to memory at address %1 without specifying whether it is an initialization or a normal store. The type of %1 is *T and the type of %0 is T, which must be a loadable type. This will overwrite the memory at %1 and destroy the value currently held there.

The purpose of the assign instruction is to simplify the definitive initialization analysis on loadable variables by removing what would otherwise appear to be a load and use of the current value. It is produced by SILGen, which cannot know which assignments are meant to be initializations. If it is deemed to be an initialization, it can be replaced with a store; otherwise, it must be replaced with a sequence that also correctly destroys the current value.

This instruction is only valid in Raw SIL and is rewritten as appropriate by the definitive initialization pass.

mark_uninitialized

sil-instruction ::= 'mark_uninitialized' '[' mu_kind ']' sil-operand
mu_kind ::= 'var'
mu_kind ::= 'rootself'
mu_kind ::= 'derivedself'
mu_kind ::= 'derivedselfonly'
mu_kind ::= 'delegatingself'

%2 = mark_uninitialized [var] %1 : $*T
// $T must be an address

Indicates that a symbolic memory location is uninitialized, and must be explicitly initialized before it escapes or before the current function returns. This instruction returns its operands, and all accesses within the function must be performed against the return value of the mark_uninitialized instruction.

The kind of mark_uninitialized instruction specifies the type of data the mark_uninitialized instruction refers to:

  • var: designates the start of a normal variable live range
  • rootself: designates self in a struct, enum, or root class
  • derivedself: designates self in a derived (non-root) class
  • derivedselfonly: designates self in a derived (non-root) class whose stored properties have already been initialized
  • delegatingself: designates self on a struct, enum, or class in a delegating constructor (one that calls self.init)

The purpose of the mark_uninitialized instruction is to enable definitive initialization analysis for global variables (when marked as 'globalvar') and instance variables (when marked as 'rootinit'), which need to be distinguished from simple allocations.

It is produced by SILGen, and is only valid in Raw SIL. It is rewritten as appropriate by the definitive initialization pass.

mark_function_escape

sil-instruction ::= 'mark_function_escape' sil-operand (',' sil-operand)

%2 = mark_function_escape %1 : $*T

Indicates that a function definition closes over a symbolic memory location. This instruction is variadic, and all of its operands must be addresses.

The purpose of the mark_function_escape instruction is to enable definitive initialization analysis for global variables and instance variables, which are not represented as box allocations.

It is produced by SILGen, and is only valid in Raw SIL. It is rewritten as appropriate by the definitive initialization pass.

mark_uninitialized_behavior

init-case ::= sil-value sil-apply-substitution-list? '(' sil-value ')' ':' sil-type
set-case ::= sil-value sil-apply-substitution-list? '(' sil-value ')' ':' sil-type
sil-instruction ::= 'mark_uninitialized_behavior' init-case set-case

mark_uninitialized_behavior %init<Subs>(%storage) : $T -> U,
                            %set<Subs>(%self) : $V -> W

Indicates that a logical property is uninitialized at this point and needs to be initialized by the end of the function and before any escape point for this instruction. Assignments to the property trigger the behavior's init or set logic based on the logical initialization state of the property.

It is expected that the init-case is passed some sort of storage and the set case is passed self.

This is only valid in Raw SIL.

copy_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'copy_addr' '[take]'? sil-value
                      'to' '[initialization]'? sil-operand

copy_addr [take] %0 to [initialization] %1 : $*T
// %0 and %1 must be of the same $*T address type

Loads the value at address %0 from memory and assigns a copy of it back into memory at address %1. A bare copy_addr instruction when T is a non-trivial type:

copy_addr %0 to %1 : $*T

is equivalent to:

%new = load %0 : $*T        // Load the new value from the source
%old = load %1 : $*T        // Load the old value from the destination
strong_retain %new : $T            // Retain the new value
strong_release %old : $T           // Release the old
store %new to %1 : $*T      // Store the new value to the destination

except that copy_addr may be used even if %0 is of an address-only type. The copy_addr may be given one or both of the [take] or [initialization] attributes:

  • [take] destroys the value at the source address in the course of the copy.
  • [initialization] indicates that the destination address is uninitialized. Without the attribute, the destination address is treated as already initialized, and the existing value will be destroyed before the new value is stored.

The three attributed forms thus behave like the following loadable type operations:

// take-assignment
  copy_addr [take] %0 to %1 : $*T
// is equivalent to:
  %new = load %0 : $*T
  %old = load %1 : $*T
  // no retain of %new!
  strong_release %old : $T
  store %new to %1 : $*T

// copy-initialization
  copy_addr %0 to [initialization] %1 : $*T
// is equivalent to:
  %new = load %0 : $*T
  strong_retain %new : $T
  // no load/release of %old!
  store %new to %1 : $*T

// take-initialization
  copy_addr [take] %0 to [initialization] %1 : $*T
// is equivalent to:
  %new = load %0 : $*T
  // no retain of %new!
  // no load/release of %old!
  store %new to %1 : $*T

If T is a trivial type, then copy_addr is always equivalent to its take-initialization form.

destroy_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'destroy_addr' sil-operand

destroy_addr %0 : $*T
// %0 must be of an address $*T type

Destroys the value in memory at address %0. If T is a non-trivial type, This is equivalent to:

%1 = load %0
strong_release %1

except that destroy_addr may be used even if %0 is of an address-only type. This does not deallocate memory; it only destroys the pointed-to value, leaving the memory uninitialized.

If T is a trivial type, then destroy_addr is a no-op.

index_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'index_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-operand

%2 = index_addr %0 : $*T, %1 : $Builtin.Int<n>
// %0 must be of an address type $*T
// %1 must be of a builtin integer type
// %2 will be of type $*T

Given an address that references into an array of values, returns the address of the %1-th element relative to %0. The address must reference into a contiguous array. It is undefined to try to reference offsets within a non-array value, such as fields within a homogeneous struct or tuple type, or bytes within a value, using index_addr. (Int8 address types have no special behavior in this regard, unlike char* or void* in C.) It is also undefined behavior to index out of bounds of an array, except to index the "past-the-end" address of the array.

tail_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'tail_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-operand ',' sil-type

%2 = tail_addr %0 : $*T, %1 : $Builtin.Int<n>, $E
// %0 must be of an address type $*T
// %1 must be of a builtin integer type
// %2 will be of type $*E

Given an address of an array of %1 values, returns the address of an element which is tail-allocated after the array. This instruction is equivalent to index_addr except that the resulting address is aligned-up to the tail-element type $E.

This instruction is used to project the N-th tail-allocated array from an object which is created by an alloc_ref with multiple tail_elems. The first operand is the address of an element of the (N-1)-th array, usually the first element. The second operand is the number of elements until the end of that array. The result is the address of the first element of the N-th array.

It is undefined behavior if the provided address, count and type do not match the actual layout of tail-allocated arrays of the underlying object.

index_raw_pointer

sil-instruction ::= 'index_raw_pointer' sil-operand ',' sil-operand

%2 = index_raw_pointer %0 : $Builtin.RawPointer, %1 : $Builtin.Int<n>
// %0 must be of $Builtin.RawPointer type
// %1 must be of a builtin integer type
// %2 will be of type $*T

Given a Builtin.RawPointer value %0, returns a pointer value at the byte offset %1 relative to %0.

bind_memory

sil-instruction ::= 'bind_memory' sil-operand ',' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

bind_memory %0 : $Builtin.RawPointer, %1 : $Builtin.Word to $T
// %0 must be of $Builtin.RawPointer type
// %1 must be of $Builtin.Word type

Binds memory at Builtin.RawPointer value %0 to type $T with enough capacity to hold %1 values. See SE-0107: UnsafeRawPointer.

Reference Counting

These instructions handle reference counting of heap objects. Values of strong reference type have ownership semantics for the referenced heap object. Retain and release operations, however, are never implicit in SIL and always must be explicitly performed where needed. Retains and releases on the value may be freely moved, and balancing retains and releases may deleted, so long as an owning retain count is maintained for the uses of the value.

All reference-counting operations are defined to work correctly on null references (whether strong, unowned, or weak). A non-null reference must actually refer to a valid object of the indicated type (or a subtype). Address operands are required to be valid and non-null.

While SIL makes reference-counting operations explicit, the SIL type system also fully represents strength of reference. This is useful for several reasons:

  1. Type-safety: it is impossible to erroneously emit SIL that naively uses a @weak or @unowned reference as if it were a strong reference.
  2. Consistency: when a reference is kept in memory, instructions like copy_addr and destroy_addr implicitly carry the right semantics in the type of the address, rather than needing special variants or flags.
  3. Ease of tooling: SIL directly stores the user's intended strength of reference, making it straightforward to generate instrumentation that would convey this to a memory profiler. In principle, with only a modest number of additions and restrictions on SIL, it would even be possible to drop all reference-counting instructions and use the type information to feed a garbage collector.

strong_retain

sil-instruction ::= 'strong_retain' sil-operand

strong_retain %0 : $T
// $T must be a reference type

Increases the strong retain count of the heap object referenced by %0.

strong_release

strong_release %0 : $T
// $T must be a reference type.

Decrements the strong reference count of the heap object referenced by %0. If the release operation brings the strong reference count of the object to zero, the object is destroyed and @weak references are cleared. When both its strong and unowned reference counts reach zero, the object's memory is deallocated.

set_deallocating

set_deallocating %0 : $T
// $T must be a reference type.

Explicitly sets the state of the object referenced by %0 to deallocated. This is the same operation what's done by a strong_release immediately before it calls the deallocator of the object.

It is expected that the strong reference count of the object is one. Furthermore, no other thread may increment the strong reference count during execution of this instruction.

strong_retain_unowned

sil-instruction ::= 'strong_retain_unowned' sil-operand

strong_retain_unowned %0 : $@unowned T
// $T must be a reference type

Asserts that the strong reference count of the heap object referenced by %0 is still positive, then increases it by one.

unowned_retain

sil-instruction ::= 'unowned_retain' sil-operand

unowned_retain %0 : $@unowned T
// $T must be a reference type

Increments the unowned reference count of the heap object underlying %0.

unowned_release

sil-instruction ::= 'unowned_release' sil-operand

unowned_release %0 : $@unowned T
// $T must be a reference type

Decrements the unowned reference count of the heap object referenced by %0. When both its strong and unowned reference counts reach zero, the object's memory is deallocated.

load_weak

sil-instruction ::= 'load_weak' '[take]'? sil-operand

load_weak [take] %0 : $*@sil_weak Optional<T>
// $T must be an optional wrapping a reference type

Increments the strong reference count of the heap object held in the operand, which must be an initialized weak reference. The result is value of type $Optional<T>, except that it is null if the heap object has begun deallocation.

This operation must be atomic with respect to the final strong_release on the operand heap object. It need not be atomic with respect to store_weak operations on the same address.

store_weak

sil-instruction ::= 'store_weak' sil-value 'to' '[initialization]'? sil-operand

store_weak %0 to [initialization] %1 : $*@sil_weak Optional<T>
// $T must be an optional wrapping a reference type

Initializes or reassigns a weak reference. The operand may be nil.

If [initialization] is given, the weak reference must currently either be uninitialized or destroyed. If it is not given, the weak reference must currently be initialized.

This operation must be atomic with respect to the final strong_release on the operand (source) heap object. It need not be atomic with respect to store_weak or load_weak operations on the same address.

load_unowned

TODO: Fill this in

store_unowned

TODO: Fill this in

fix_lifetime

sil-instruction :: 'fix_lifetime' sil-operand

fix_lifetime %0 : $T
// Fix the lifetime of a value %0
fix_lifetime %1 : $*T
// Fix the lifetime of the memory object referenced by %1

Acts as a use of a value operand, or of the value in memory referenced by an address operand. Optimizations may not move operations that would destroy the value, such as release_value, strong_release, copy_addr [take], or destroy_addr, past this instruction.

mark_dependence

sil-instruction :: 'mark_dependence' sil-operand 'on' sil-operand

%2 = mark_dependence %0 : $*T on %1 : $Builtin.NativeObject

Indicates that the validity of the first operand depends on the value of the second operand. Operations that would destroy the second value must not be moved before any instructions which depend on the result of this instruction, exactly as if the address had been obviously derived from that operand (e.g. using ref_element_addr).

The result is always equal to the first operand. The first operand will typically be an address, but it could be an address in a non-obvious form, such as a Builtin.RawPointer or a struct containing the same. Transformations should be somewhat forgiving here.

The second operand may have either object or address type. In the latter case, the dependency is on the current value stored in the address.

strong_pin

TODO: Fill me in!

strong_unpin

TODO: Fill me in!

is_unique

sil-instruction ::= 'is_unique' sil-operand

%1 = is_unique %0 : $*T
// $T must be a reference-counted type
// %1 will be of type Builtin.Int1

Checks whether %0 is the address of a unique reference to a memory object. Returns 1 if the strong reference count is 1, and 0 if the strong reference count is greater than 1.

A discussion of the semantics can be found here: :ref:`arcopts.is_unique`.

is_unique_or_pinned

sil-instruction ::= 'is_unique_or_pinned' sil-operand

%1 = is_unique_or_pinned %0 : $*T
// $T must be a reference-counted type
// %1 will be of type Builtin.Int1

Checks whether %0 is the address of either a unique reference to a memory object or a reference to a pinned object. Returns 1 if the strong reference count is 1 or the object has been marked pinned by strong_pin.

copy_block

sil-instruction :: 'copy_block' sil-operand

%1 = copy_block %0 : $@convention(block) T -> U

Performs a copy of an Objective-C block. Unlike retains of other reference-counted types, this can produce a different value from the operand if the block is copied from the stack to the heap.

builtin "unsafeGuaranteed"

sil-instruction := 'builtin' '"unsafeGuaranteed"' '<' sil-type '>' '(' sil-operand')' ':' sil-type

%1 = builtin "unsafeGuaranteed"<T>(%0 : $T) : ($T, Builtin.Int1)
// $T must be of AnyObject type.

Asserts that there exists another reference of the value %0 for the scope delineated by the call of this builtin up to the first call of a builtin "unsafeGuaranteedEnd" instruction that uses the second element %1.1 of the returned value. If no such instruction can be found nothing can be assumed. This assertions holds for uses of the first tuple element of the returned value %1.0 within this scope. The returned reference value equals the input %0.

builtin "unsafeGuaranteedEnd"

sil-instruction := 'builtin' '"unsafeGuaranteedEnd"' '(' sil-operand')'

%1 = builtin "unsafeGuaranteedEnd"(%0 : $Builtin.Int1)
// $T must be of AnyObject type.

Ends the scope for the builtin "unsafeGuaranteed" instruction.

Literals

These instructions bind SIL values to literal constants or to global entities.

function_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'function_ref' sil-function-name ':' sil-type

%1 = function_ref @function : $@convention(thin) T -> U
// $@convention(thin) T -> U must be a thin function type
// %1 has type $T -> U

Creates a reference to a SIL function.

global_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'global_addr' sil-global-name ':' sil-type

%1 = global_addr @foo : $*Builtin.Word

Creates a reference to the address of a global variable which has been previously initialized by alloc_global. It is undefined behavior to perform this operation on a global variable which has not been initialized.

integer_literal

sil-instruction ::= 'integer_literal' sil-type ',' int-literal

%1 = integer_literal $Builtin.Int<n>, 123
// $Builtin.Int<n> must be a builtin integer type
// %1 has type $Builtin.Int<n>

Creates an integer literal value. The result will be of type Builtin.Int<n>, which must be a builtin integer type. The literal value is specified using Swift's integer literal syntax.

float_literal

sil-instruction ::= 'float_literal' sil-type ',' int-literal

%1 = float_literal $Builtin.FP<n>, 0x3F800000
// $Builtin.FP<n> must be a builtin floating-point type
// %1 has type $Builtin.FP<n>

Creates a floating-point literal value. The result will be of type `` Builtin.FP<n>, which must be a builtin floating-point type. The literal value is specified as the bitwise representation of the floating point value, using Swift's hexadecimal integer literal syntax.

string_literal

sil-instruction ::= 'string_literal' encoding string-literal
encoding ::= 'utf8'
encoding ::= 'utf16'
encoding ::= 'objc_selector'

%1 = string_literal "asdf"
// %1 has type $Builtin.RawPointer

Creates a reference to a string in the global string table. The result is a pointer to the data. The referenced string is always null-terminated. The string literal value is specified using Swift's string literal syntax (though \() interpolations are not allowed). When the encoding is objc_selector, the string literal produces a reference to a UTF-8-encoded Objective-C selector in the Objective-C method name segment.

Dynamic Dispatch

These instructions perform dynamic lookup of class and generic methods. They share a common set of attributes:

sil-method-attributes ::= '[' 'volatile'? ']'

The volatile attribute on a dynamic dispatch instruction indicates that the method lookup is semantically required (as, for example, in Objective-C). When the type of a dynamic dispatch instruction's operand is known, optimization passes can promote non-volatile dispatch instructions into static function_ref instructions.

If a dynamic dispatch instruction references an Objective-C method (indicated by the foreign marker on a method reference, as in #NSObject.description!1.foreign), then the instruction represents an objc_msgSend invocation. objc_msgSend invocations can only be used as the callee of an apply instruction or partial_apply instruction. They cannot be stored or used as apply or partial_apply arguments. objc_msgSend invocations must always be volatile.

class_method

sil-instruction ::= 'class_method' sil-method-attributes?
                      sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref ':' sil-type

%1 = class_method %0 : $T, #T.method!1 : $@convention(thin) U -> V
// %0 must be of a class type or class metatype $T
// #T.method!1 must be a reference to a dynamically-dispatched method of T or
// of one of its superclasses, at uncurry level >= 1
// %1 will be of type $U -> V

Looks up a method based on the dynamic type of a class or class metatype instance. It is undefined behavior if the class value is null and the method is not an Objective-C method.

If:

  • the instruction is not [volatile],
  • the referenced method is not a foreign method,
  • and the static type of the class instance is known, or the method is known to be final,

then the instruction is a candidate for devirtualization optimization. A devirtualization pass can consult the module's VTables to find the SIL function that implements the method and promote the instruction to a static function_ref.

super_method

sil-instruction ::= 'super_method' sil-method-attributes?
                      sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref ':' sil-type

%1 = super_method %0 : $T, #Super.method!1.foreign : $@convention(thin) U -> V
// %0 must be of a non-root class type or class metatype $T
// #Super.method!1.foreign must be a reference to an ObjC method of T's
// superclass or of one of its ancestor classes, at uncurry level >= 1
// %1 will be of type $@convention(thin) U -> V

Looks up a method in the superclass of a class or class metatype instance. Note that for native Swift methods, super.method calls are statically dispatched, so this instruction is only valid for Objective-C methods. It is undefined behavior if the class value is null and the method is not an Objective-C method.

witness_method

sil-instruction ::= 'witness_method' sil-method-attributes?
                      sil-type ',' sil-decl-ref ':' sil-type

%1 = witness_method $T, #Proto.method!1 \
  : $@convention(witness_method) <Self: Proto> U -> V
// $T must be an archetype
// #Proto.method!1 must be a reference to a method of one of the protocol
//   constraints on T
// <Self: Proto> U -> V must be the type of the referenced method,
//   generic on Self
// %1 will be of type $@convention(thin) <Self: Proto> U -> V

Looks up the implementation of a protocol method for a generic type variable constrained by that protocol. The result will be generic on the Self archetype of the original protocol and have the witness_method calling convention. If the referenced protocol is an @objc protocol, the resulting type has the objc calling convention.

dynamic_method

sil-instruction ::= 'dynamic_method' sil-method-attributes?
                    sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref ':' sil-type

%1 = dynamic_method %0 : $P, #X.method!1 : $@convention(thin) U -> V
// %0 must be of a protocol or protocol composition type $P,
// where $P contains the Swift.DynamicLookup protocol
// #X.method!1 must be a reference to an @objc method of any class
// or protocol type
//
// The "self" argument of the method type $@convention(thin) U -> V must be
//   Builtin.UnknownObject

Looks up the implementation of an Objective-C method with the same selector as the named method for the dynamic type of the value inside an existential container. The "self" operand of the result function value is represented using an opaque type, the value for which must be projected out as a value of type Builtin.UnknownObject.

It is undefined behavior if the dynamic type of the operand does not have an implementation for the Objective-C method with the selector to which the dynamic_method instruction refers, or if that implementation has parameter or result types that are incompatible with the method referenced by dynamic_method. This instruction should only be used in cases where its result will be immediately consumed by an operation that performs the selector check itself (e.g., an apply that lowers to objc_msgSend). To query whether the operand has an implementation for the given method and safely handle the case where it does not, use dynamic_method_br.

Function Application

These instructions call functions or wrap them in partial application or specialization thunks.

apply

sil-instruction ::= 'apply' '[nothrow]'? sil-value
                      sil-apply-substitution-list?
                      '(' (sil-value (',' sil-value)*)? ')'
                      ':' sil-type

sil-apply-substitution-list ::= '<' sil-substitution
                                    (',' sil-substitution)* '>'
sil-substitution ::= type '=' type

%r = apply %0(%1, %2, ...) : $(A, B, ...) -> R
// Note that the type of the callee '%0' is specified *after* the arguments
// %0 must be of a concrete function type $(A, B, ...) -> R
// %1, %2, etc. must be of the argument types $A, $B, etc.
// %r will be of the return type $R

%r = apply %0<A, B>(%1, %2, ...) : $<T, U>(T, U, ...) -> R
// %0 must be of a polymorphic function type $<T, U>(T, U, ...) -> R
// %1, %2, etc. must be of the argument types after substitution $A, $B, etc.
// %r will be of the substituted return type $R'

Transfers control to function %0, passing it the given arguments. In the instruction syntax, the type of the callee is specified after the argument list; the types of the argument and of the defined value are derived from the function type of the callee. The input argument tuple type is destructured, and each element is passed as an individual argument. The apply instruction does no retaining or releasing of its arguments by itself; the calling convention's retain/release policy must be handled by separate explicit retain and release instructions. The return value will likewise not be implicitly retained or released.

The callee value must have function type. That function type may not have an error result, except the instruction has the nothrow attribute set. The nothrow attribute specifies that the callee has an error result but does not actually throw. For the regular case of calling a function with error result, use try_apply.

NB: If the callee value is of a thick function type, apply currently consumes the callee value at +1 strong retain count.

If the callee is generic, all of its generic parameters must be bound by the given substitution list. The arguments and return value is given with these generic substitutions applied.

partial_apply

sil-instruction ::= 'partial_apply' callee-ownership-attr? sil-value
                      sil-apply-substitution-list?
                      '(' (sil-value (',' sil-value)*)? ')'
                      ':' sil-type
callee-ownership-attr ::= '[callee_guaranteed]'

%c = partial_apply %0(%1, %2, ...) : $(Z..., A, B, ...) -> R
// Note that the type of the callee '%0' is specified *after* the arguments
// %0 must be of a concrete function type $(Z..., A, B, ...) -> R
// %1, %2, etc. must be of the argument types $A, $B, etc.,
//   of the tail part of the argument tuple of %0
// %c will be of the partially-applied thick function type (Z...) -> R

%c = partial_apply %0<A, B>(%1, %2, ...) : $(Z..., T, U, ...) -> R
// %0 must be of a polymorphic function type $<T, U>(T, U, ...) -> R
// %1, %2, etc. must be of the argument types after substitution $A, $B, etc.
//   of the tail part of the argument tuple of %0
// %r will be of the substituted thick function type $(Z'...) -> R'

Creates a closure by partially applying the function %0 to a partial sequence of its arguments. In the instruction syntax, the type of the callee is specified after the argument list; the types of the argument and of the defined value are derived from the function type of the callee. The closure context will be allocated with retain count 1 and initialized to contain the values %1, %2, etc. The closed-over values will not be retained; that must be done separately before the partial_apply. The closure does however take ownership of the partially applied arguments; when the closure reference count reaches zero, the contained values will be destroyed.

If the callee is generic, all of its generic parameters must be bound by the given substitution list. The arguments are given with these generic substitutions applied, and the resulting closure is of concrete function type with the given substitutions applied. The generic parameters themselves cannot be partially applied; all of them must be bound. The result is always a concrete function.

TODO: The instruction, when applied to a generic function, currently implicitly performs abstraction difference transformations enabled by the given substitutions, such as promoting address-only arguments and returns to register arguments. This should be fixed.

By default, partial_apply creates a closure whose invocation takes ownership of the context, meaning that a call implicitly releases the closure. The [callee_guaranteed] change this to a caller-guaranteed model, where the caller promises not to release the closure while the function is being called.

This instruction is used to implement both curry thunks and closures. A curried function in Swift:

func foo(_ a:A)(b:B)(c:C)(d:D) -> E { /* body of foo */ }

emits curry thunks in SIL as follows (retains and releases omitted for clarity):

func @foo : $@convention(thin) A -> B -> C -> D -> E {
entry(%a : $A):
  %foo_1 = function_ref @foo_1 : $@convention(thin) (B, A) -> C -> D -> E
  %thunk = partial_apply %foo_1(%a) : $@convention(thin) (B, A) -> C -> D -> E
  return %thunk : $B -> C -> D -> E
}

func @foo_1 : $@convention(thin) (B, A) -> C -> D -> E {
entry(%b : $B, %a : $A):
  %foo_2 = function_ref @foo_2 : $@convention(thin) (C, B, A) -> D -> E
  %thunk = partial_apply %foo_2(%b, %a) \
    : $@convention(thin) (C, B, A) -> D -> E
  return %thunk : $(B, A) -> C -> D -> E
}

func @foo_2 : $@convention(thin) (C, B, A) -> D -> E {
entry(%c : $C, %b : $B, %a : $A):
  %foo_3 = function_ref @foo_3 : $@convention(thin) (D, C, B, A) -> E
  %thunk = partial_apply %foo_3(%c, %b, %a) \
    : $@convention(thin) (D, C, B, A) -> E
  return %thunk : $(C, B, A) -> D -> E
}

func @foo_3 : $@convention(thin) (D, C, B, A) -> E {
entry(%d : $D, %c : $C, %b : $B, %a : $A):
  // ... body of foo ...
}

A local function in Swift that captures context, such as bar in the following example:

func foo(_ x:Int) -> Int {
  func bar(_ y:Int) -> Int {
    return x + y
  }
  return bar(1)
}

lowers to an uncurried entry point and is curried in the enclosing function:

func @bar : $@convention(thin) (Int, @box Int, *Int) -> Int {
entry(%y : $Int, %x_box : $@box Int, %x_address : $*Int):
  // ... body of bar ...
}

func @foo : $@convention(thin) Int -> Int {
entry(%x : $Int):
  // Create a box for the 'x' variable
  %x_box = alloc_box $Int
  %x_addr = project_box %x_box : $@box Int
  store %x to %x_addr : $*Int

  // Create the bar closure
  %bar_uncurried = function_ref @bar : $(Int, Int) -> Int
  %bar = partial_apply %bar_uncurried(%x_box, %x_addr) \
    : $(Int, Builtin.NativeObject, *Int) -> Int

  // Apply it
  %1 = integer_literal $Int, 1
  %ret = apply %bar(%1) : $(Int) -> Int

  // Clean up
  release %bar : $(Int) -> Int
  return %ret : $Int
}

builtin

sil-instruction ::= 'builtin' string-literal
                      sil-apply-substitution-list?
                      '(' (sil-operand (',' sil-operand)*)? ')'
                      ':' sil-type

%1 = builtin "foo"(%1 : $T, %2 : $U) : $V
// "foo" must name a function in the Builtin module

Invokes functionality built into the backend code generator, such as LLVM- level instructions and intrinsics.

Metatypes

These instructions access metatypes, either statically by type name or dynamically by introspecting class or generic values.

metatype

sil-instruction ::= 'metatype' sil-type

%1 = metatype $T.Type
// %1 has type $T.Type

Creates a reference to the metatype object for type T.

value_metatype

sil-instruction ::= 'value_metatype' sil-type ',' sil-operand

%1 = value_metatype $T.Type, %0 : $T
// %0 must be a value or address of type $T
// %1 will be of type $T.Type

Obtains a reference to the dynamic metatype of the value %0.

existential_metatype

sil-instruction ::= 'existential_metatype' sil-type ',' sil-operand

%1 = existential_metatype $P.Type, %0 : $P
// %0 must be a value of class protocol or protocol composition
//   type $P, or an address of address-only protocol type $*P
// %1 will be a $P.Type value referencing the metatype of the
//   concrete value inside %0

Obtains the metatype of the concrete value referenced by the existential container referenced by %0.

objc_protocol

sil-instruction ::= 'objc_protocol' protocol-decl : sil-type

%0 = objc_protocol #ObjCProto : $Protocol

TODO Fill this in.

Aggregate Types

These instructions construct and project elements from structs, tuples, and class instances.

retain_value

sil-instruction ::= 'retain_value' sil-operand

retain_value %0 : $A

Retains a loadable value, which simply retains any references it holds.

For trivial types, this is a no-op. For reference types, this is equivalent to a strong_retain. For @unowned types, this is equivalent to an unowned_retain. In each of these cases, those are the preferred forms.

For aggregate types, especially enums, it is typically both easier and more efficient to reason about aggregate copies than it is to reason about copies of the subobjects.

unmanaged_retain_value

sil-instruction ::= 'unmanaged_retain_value' sil-value

unmanaged_retain_value %0 : $A

This instruction has the same local semantics as retain_value but:

  • Is valid in ownership qualified SIL.
  • Is not intended to be statically paired at compile time by the compiler.

The intention is that this instruction is used to implement unmanaged constructs.

copy_value

sil-instruction ::= 'copy_value' sil-operand

%1 = copy_value %0 : $A

Performs a copy of a loadable value as if by the value's type lowering and returns the copy. The returned copy semantically is a value that is completely independent of the operand. In terms of specific types:

  1. For trivial types, this is equivalent to just propagating through the trivial value.
  2. For reference types, this is equivalent to performing a strong_retain operation and returning the reference.
  3. For @unowned types, this is equivalent to performing an unowned_retain and returning the operand.
  4. For aggregate types, this is equivalent to recursively performing a copy_value on its components, forming a new aggregate from the copied components, and then returning the new aggregate.

In ownership qualified functions, a copy_value produces a +1 value that must be consumed at most once along any path through the program.

release_value

sil-instruction ::= 'release_value' sil-operand

release_value %0 : $A

Destroys a loadable value, by releasing any retainable pointers within it.

This is defined to be equivalent to storing the operand into a stack allocation and using 'destroy_addr' to destroy the object there.

For trivial types, this is a no-op. For reference types, this is equivalent to a strong_release. For @unowned types, this is equivalent to an unowned_release. In each of these cases, those are the preferred forms.

For aggregate types, especially enums, it is typically both easier and more efficient to reason about aggregate destroys than it is to reason about destroys of the subobjects.

unmanaged_release_value

sil-instruction ::= 'unmanaged_release_value' sil-value

unmanaged_release_value %0 : $A

This instruction has the same local semantics as release_value but:

  • Is valid in ownership qualified SIL.
  • Is not intended to be statically paired at compile time by the compiler.

The intention is that this instruction is used to implement unmanaged constructs.

destroy_value

sil-instruction ::= 'destroy_value' sil-operand

destroy_value %0 : $A

Destroys a loadable value, by releasing any retainable pointers within it.

This is defined to be equivalent to storing the operand into a stack allocation and using 'destroy_addr' to destroy the object there.

For trivial types, this is a no-op. For reference types, this is equivalent to a strong_release. For @unowned types, this is equivalent to an unowned_release. In each of these cases, those are the preferred forms.

For aggregate types, especially enums, it is typically both easier and more efficient to reason about aggregate destroys than it is to reason about destroys of the subobjects.

autorelease_value

sil-instruction ::= 'autorelease_value' sil-operand

autorelease_value %0 : $A

TODO Complete this section.

tuple

sil-instruction ::= 'tuple' sil-tuple-elements
sil-tuple-elements ::= '(' (sil-operand (',' sil-operand)*)? ')'
sil-tuple-elements ::= sil-type '(' (sil-value (',' sil-value)*)? ')'

%1 = tuple (%a : $A, %b : $B, ...)
// $A, $B, etc. must be loadable non-address types
// %1 will be of the "simple" tuple type $(A, B, ...)

%1 = tuple $(a:A, b:B, ...) (%a, %b, ...)
// (a:A, b:B, ...) must be a loadable tuple type
// %1 will be of the type $(a:A, b:B, ...)

Creates a loadable tuple value by aggregating multiple loadable values.

If the destination type is a "simple" tuple type, that is, it has no keyword argument labels or variadic arguments, then the first notation can be used, which interleaves the element values and types. If keyword names or variadic fields are specified, then the second notation must be used, which spells out the tuple type before the fields.

tuple_extract

sil-instruction ::= 'tuple_extract' sil-operand ',' int-literal

%1 = tuple_extract %0 : $(T...), 123
// %0 must be of a loadable tuple type $(T...)
// %1 will be of the type of the selected element of %0

Extracts an element from a loadable tuple value.

tuple_element_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'tuple_element_addr' sil-operand ',' int-literal

%1 = tuple_element_addr %0 : $*(T...), 123
// %0 must of a $*(T...) address-of-tuple type
// %1 will be of address type $*U where U is the type of the 123rd
//   element of T

Given the address of a tuple in memory, derives the address of an element within that value.

struct

sil-instruction ::= 'struct' sil-type '(' (sil-operand (',' sil-operand)*)? ')'

%1 = struct $S (%a : $A, %b : $B, ...)
// $S must be a loadable struct type
// $A, $B, ... must be the types of the physical 'var' fields of $S in order
// %1 will be of type $S

Creates a value of a loadable struct type by aggregating multiple loadable values.

struct_extract

sil-instruction ::= 'struct_extract' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref

%1 = struct_extract %0 : $S, #S.field
// %0 must be of a loadable struct type $S
// #S.field must be a physical 'var' field of $S
// %1 will be of the type of the selected field of %0

Extracts a physical field from a loadable struct value.

struct_element_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'struct_element_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref

%1 = struct_element_addr %0 : $*S, #S.field
// %0 must be of a struct type $S
// #S.field must be a physical 'var' field of $S
// %1 will be the address of the selected field of %0

Given the address of a struct value in memory, derives the address of a physical field within the value.

ref_element_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'ref_element_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref

%1 = ref_element_addr %0 : $C, #C.field
// %0 must be a value of class type $C
// #C.field must be a non-static physical field of $C
// %1 will be of type $*U where U is the type of the selected field
//   of C

Given an instance of a class, derives the address of a physical instance variable inside the instance. It is undefined behavior if the class value is null.

ref_tail_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'ref_tail_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-type

%1 = ref_tail_addr %0 : $C, $E
// %0 must be a value of class type $C with tail-allocated elements $E
// %1 will be of type $*E

Given an instance of a class, which is created with tail-allocated array(s), derives the address of the first element of the first tail-allocated array. This instruction is used to project the first tail-allocated element from an object which is created by an alloc_ref with tail_elems. It is undefined behavior if the class instance does not have tail-allocated arrays or if the element-types do not match.

Enums

These instructions construct values of enum type. Loadable enum values are created with the enum instruction. Address-only enums require two-step initialization. First, if the case requires data, that data is stored into the enum at the address projected by init_enum_data_addr. This step is skipped for cases without data. Finally, the tag for the enum is injected with an inject_enum_addr instruction:

enum AddressOnlyEnum {
  case HasData(AddressOnlyType)
  case NoData
}

sil @init_with_data : $(AddressOnlyType) -> AddressOnlyEnum {
entry(%0 : $*AddressOnlyEnum, %1 : $*AddressOnlyType):
  // Store the data argument for the case.
  %2 = init_enum_data_addr %0 : $*AddressOnlyEnum, #AddressOnlyEnum.HasData!enumelt.1
  copy_addr [take] %2 to [initialization] %1 : $*AddressOnlyType
  // Inject the tag.
  inject_enum_addr %0 : $*AddressOnlyEnum, #AddressOnlyEnum.HasData!enumelt.1
  return
}

sil @init_without_data : $() -> AddressOnlyEnum {
  // No data. We only need to inject the tag.
  inject_enum_addr %0 : $*AddressOnlyEnum, #AddressOnlyEnum.NoData!enumelt
  return
}

Accessing the value of a loadable enum is inseparable from dispatching on its discriminator and is done with the switch_enum terminator:

enum Foo { case A(Int), B(String) }

sil @switch_foo : $(Foo) -> () {
entry(%foo : $Foo):
  switch_enum %foo : $Foo, case #Foo.A!enumelt.1: a_dest, case #Foo.B!enumelt.1: b_dest

a_dest(%a : $Int):
  /* use %a */

b_dest(%b : $String):
  /* use %b */
}

An address-only enum can be tested by branching on it using the switch_enum_addr terminator. Its value can then be taken by destructively projecting the enum value with unchecked_take_enum_data_addr:

enum Foo<T> { case A(T), B(String) }

sil @switch_foo : $<T> (Foo<T>) -> () {
entry(%foo : $*Foo<T>):
  switch_enum_addr %foo : $*Foo<T>, case #Foo.A!enumelt.1: a_dest, \
    case #Foo.B!enumelt.1: b_dest

a_dest:
  %a = unchecked_take_enum_data_addr %foo : $*Foo<T>, #Foo.A!enumelt.1
  /* use %a */

b_dest:
  %b = unchecked_take_enum_data_addr %foo : $*Foo<T>, #Foo.B!enumelt.1
  /* use %b */
}

enum

sil-instruction ::= 'enum' sil-type ',' sil-decl-ref (',' sil-operand)?

%1 = enum $U, #U.EmptyCase!enumelt
%1 = enum $U, #U.DataCase!enumelt.1, %0 : $T
// $U must be an enum type
// #U.DataCase or #U.EmptyCase must be a case of enum $U
// If #U.Case has a data type $T, %0 must be a value of type $T
// If #U.Case has no data type, the operand must be omitted
// %1 will be of type $U

Creates a loadable enum value in the given case. If the case has a data type, the enum value will contain the operand value.

unchecked_enum_data

sil-instruction ::= 'unchecked_enum_data' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref

%1 = unchecked_enum_data %0 : $U, #U.DataCase!enumelt.1
// $U must be an enum type
// #U.DataCase must be a case of enum $U with data
// %1 will be of object type $T for the data type of case U.DataCase

Unsafely extracts the payload data for an enum case from an enum value. It is undefined behavior if the enum does not contain a value of the given case.

init_enum_data_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'init_enum_data_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref

%1 = init_enum_data_addr %0 : $*U, #U.DataCase!enumelt.1
// $U must be an enum type
// #U.DataCase must be a case of enum $U with data
// %1 will be of address type $*T for the data type of case U.DataCase

Projects the address of the data for an enum case inside an enum. This does not modify the enum or check its value. It is intended to be used as part of the initialization sequence for an address-only enum. Storing to the init_enum_data_addr for a case followed by inject_enum_addr with that same case is guaranteed to result in a fully-initialized enum value of that case being stored. Loading from the init_enum_data_addr of an initialized enum value or injecting a mismatched case tag is undefined behavior.

The address is invalidated as soon as the operand enum is fully initialized by an inject_enum_addr.

inject_enum_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'inject_enum_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref

inject_enum_addr %0 : $*U, #U.Case!enumelt
// $U must be an enum type
// #U.Case must be a case of enum $U
// %0 will be overlaid with the tag for #U.Case

Initializes the enum value referenced by the given address by overlaying the tag for the given case. If the case has no data, this instruction is sufficient to initialize the enum value. If the case has data, the data must be stored into the enum at the init_enum_data_addr address for the case before inject_enum_addr is applied. It is undefined behavior if inject_enum_addr is applied for a case with data to an uninitialized enum, or if inject_enum_addr is applied for a case with data when data for a mismatched case has been stored to the enum.

unchecked_take_enum_data_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'unchecked_take_enum_data_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref

%1 = unchecked_take_enum_data_addr %0 : $*U, #U.DataCase!enumelt.1
// $U must be an enum type
// #U.DataCase must be a case of enum $U with data
// %1 will be of address type $*T for the data type of case U.DataCase

Invalidates an enum value, and takes the address of the payload for the given enum case in-place in memory. The referenced enum value is no longer valid, but the payload value referenced by the result address is valid and must be destroyed. It is undefined behavior if the referenced enum does not contain a value of the given case. The result shares memory with the original enum value; the enum memory cannot be reinitialized as an enum until the payload has also been invalidated.

(1.0 only)

For the first payloaded case of an enum, unchecked_take_enum_data_addr is guaranteed to have no side effects; the enum value will not be invalidated.

select_enum

sil-instruction ::= 'select_enum' sil-operand sil-select-case*
                    (',' 'default' sil-value)?
                    ':' sil-type

%n = select_enum %0 : $U,      \
  case #U.Case1!enumelt: %1,           \
  case #U.Case2!enumelt: %2, /* ... */ \
  default %3 : $T

// $U must be an enum type
// #U.Case1, Case2, etc. must be cases of enum $U
// %1, %2, %3, etc. must have type $T
// %n has type $T

Selects one of the "case" or "default" operands based on the case of an enum value. This is equivalent to a trivial switch_enum branch sequence:

entry:
  switch_enum %0 : $U,            \
    case #U.Case1!enumelt: bb1,           \
    case #U.Case2!enumelt: bb2, /* ... */ \
    default bb_default
bb1:
  br cont(%1 : $T) // value for #U.Case1
bb2:
  br cont(%2 : $T) // value for #U.Case2
bb_default:
  br cont(%3 : $T) // value for default
cont(%n : $T):
  // use argument %n

but turns the control flow dependency into a data flow dependency. For address-only enums, select_enum_addr offers the same functionality for an indirectly referenced enum value in memory.

select_enum_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'select_enum_addr' sil-operand sil-select-case*
                    (',' 'default' sil-value)?
                    ':' sil-type

%n = select_enum_addr %0 : $*U,      \
  case #U.Case1!enumelt: %1,           \
  case #U.Case2!enumelt: %2, /* ... */ \
  default %3 : $T

// %0 must be the address of an enum type $*U
// #U.Case1, Case2, etc. must be cases of enum $U
// %1, %2, %3, etc. must have type $T
// %n has type $T

Selects one of the "case" or "default" operands based on the case of the referenced enum value. This is the address-only counterpart to select_enum.

Protocol and Protocol Composition Types

These instructions create and manipulate values of protocol and protocol composition type. From SIL's perspective, protocol and protocol composition types consist of an existential container, which is a generic container for a value of unknown runtime type, referred to as an "existential type" in type theory. The existential container consists of a reference to the witness table(s) for the protocol(s) referred to by the protocol type and a reference to the underlying concrete value, which may be either stored in-line inside the existential container for small values or allocated separately into a buffer owned and managed by the existential container for larger values.

Depending on the constraints applied to an existential type, an existential container may use one of several representations:

  • Opaque existential containers: If none of the protocols in a protocol type are class protocols, then the existential container for that type is address-only and referred to in the implementation as an opaque existential container. The value semantics of the existential container propagate to the contained concrete value. Applying copy_addr to an opaque existential container copies the contained concrete value, deallocating or reallocating the destination container's owned buffer if necessary. Applying destroy_addr to an opaque existential container destroys the concrete value and deallocates any buffers owned by the existential container. The following instructions manipulate opaque existential containers:
  • Class existential containers: If a protocol type is constrained by one or more class protocols, then the existential container for that type is loadable and referred to in the implementation as a class existential container. Class existential containers have reference semantics and can be retain-ed and release-d. The following instructions manipulate class existential containers:
  • Metatype existential containers: Existential metatypes use a container consisting of the type metadata for the conforming type along with the protocol conformances. Metatype existential containers are trivial types. The following instructions manipulate metatype existential containers:
  • Boxed existential containers: The standard library Error protocol uses a size-optimized reference-counted container, which indirectly stores the conforming value. Boxed existential containers can be retain-ed and release-d. The following instructions manipulate boxed existential containers:

Some existential types may additionally support specialized representations when they contain certain known concrete types. For example, when Objective-C interop is available, the Error protocol existential supports a class existential container representation for NSError objects, so it can be initialized from one using init_existential_ref instead of the more expensive alloc_existential_box:

bb(%nserror: $NSError):
  // The slow general way to form an Error, allocating a box and
  // storing to its value buffer:
  %error1 = alloc_existential_box $Error, $NSError
  %addr = project_existential_box $NSError in %error1 : $Error
  strong_retain %nserror: $NSError
  store %nserror to %addr : $NSError

  // The fast path supported for NSError:
  strong_retain %nserror: $NSError
  %error2 = init_existential_ref %nserror: $NSError, $Error

init_existential_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'init_existential_addr' sil-operand ',' sil-type

%1 = init_existential_addr %0 : $*P, $T
// %0 must be of a $*P address type for non-class protocol or protocol
//   composition type P
// $T must be an AST type that fulfills protocol(s) P
// %1 will be of type $*T', where T' is the maximally abstract lowering
//    of type T

Partially initializes the memory referenced by %0 with an existential container prepared to contain a value of type $T. The result of the instruction is an address referencing the storage for the contained value, which remains uninitialized. The contained value must be store-d or copy_addr-ed to in order for the existential value to be fully initialized. If the existential container needs to be destroyed while the contained value is uninitialized, deinit_existential_addr must be used to do so. A fully initialized existential container can be destroyed with destroy_addr as usual. It is undefined behavior to destroy_addr a partially-initialized existential container.

deinit_existential_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'deinit_existential_addr' sil-operand

deinit_existential_addr %0 : $*P
// %0 must be of a $*P address type for non-class protocol or protocol
// composition type P

Undoes the partial initialization performed by init_existential_addr. deinit_existential_addr is only valid for existential containers that have been partially initialized by init_existential_addr but haven't had their contained value initialized. A fully initialized existential must be destroyed with destroy_addr.

open_existential_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'open_existential_addr' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = open_existential_addr %0 : $*P to $*@opened P
// %0 must be of a $*P type for non-class protocol or protocol composition
//   type P
// $*@opened P must be a unique archetype that refers to an opened
// existential type P.
// %1 will be of type $*P

Obtains the address of the concrete value inside the existential container referenced by %0. The protocol conformances associated with this existential container are associated directly with the archetype $*@opened P. This pointer can be used with any operation on archetypes, such as witness_method.

init_existential_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'init_existential_ref' sil-operand ':' sil-type ','
                                           sil-type

%1 = init_existential_ref %0 : $C' : $C, $P
// %0 must be of class type $C', lowered from AST type $C, conforming to
//    protocol(s) $P
// $P must be a class protocol or protocol composition type
// %1 will be of type $P

Creates a class existential container of type $P containing a reference to the class instance %0.

open_existential_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'open_existential_ref' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = open_existential_ref %0 : $P to $@opened P
// %0 must be of a $P type for a class protocol or protocol composition
// $@opened P must be a unique archetype that refers to an opened
//   existential type P
// %1 will be of type $@opened P

Extracts the class instance reference from a class existential container. The protocol conformances associated with this existential container are associated directly with the archetype @opened P. This pointer can be used with any operation on archetypes, such as witness_method. When the operand is of metatype type, the result will be the metatype of the opened archetype.

init_existential_metatype

sil-instruction ::= 'init_existential_metatype' sil-operand ',' sil-type

%1 = init_existential_metatype $0 : $@<rep> T.Type, $@<rep> P.Type
// %0 must be of a metatype type $@<rep> T.Type where T: P
// %@<rep> P.Type must be the existential metatype of a protocol or protocol
//    composition, with the same metatype representation <rep>
// %1 will be of type $@<rep> P.Type

Creates a metatype existential container of type $P.Type containing the conforming metatype of $T.

open_existential_metatype

sil-instruction ::= 'open_existential_metatype' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = open_existential_metatype %0 : $@<rep> P.Type to $@<rep> (@opened P).Type
// %0 must be of a $P.Type existential metatype for a protocol or protocol
//    composition
// $@<rep> (@opened P).Type must be the metatype of a unique archetype that
//   refers to an opened existential type P, with the same metatype
//   representation <rep>
// %1 will be of type $@<rep> (@opened P).Type

Extracts the metatype from an existential metatype. The protocol conformances associated with this existential container are associated directly with the archetype @opened P.

alloc_existential_box

sil-instruction ::= 'alloc_existential_box' sil-type ',' sil-type

%1 = alloc_existential_box $P, $T
// $P must be a protocol or protocol composition type with boxed
//   representation
// $T must be an AST type that conforms to P
// %1 will be of type $P
// %1#1 will be of type $*T', where T' is the most abstracted lowering of T

Allocates a boxed existential container of type $P with space to hold a value of type $T'. The box is not fully initialized until a valid value has been stored into the box. If the box must be deallocated before it is fully initialized, dealloc_existential_box must be used. A fully initialized box can be retain-ed and release-d like any reference-counted type. The project_existential_box instruction is used to retrieve the address of the value inside the container.

project_existential_box

sil-instruction ::= 'project_existential_box' sil-type 'in' sil-operand

%1 = project_existential_box $T in %0 : $P
// %0 must be a value of boxed protocol or protocol composition type $P
// $T must be the most abstracted lowering of the AST type for which the box
// was allocated
// %1 will be of type $*T

Projects the address of the value inside a boxed existential container. The address is dependent on the lifetime of the owner reference %0. It is undefined behavior if the concrete type $T is not the same type for which the box was allocated with alloc_existential_box.

open_existential_box

sil-instruction ::= 'open_existential_box' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = open_existential_box %0 : $P to $*@opened P
// %0 must be a value of boxed protocol or protocol composition type $P
// %@opened P must be the address type of a unique archetype that refers to
///   an opened existential type P
// %1 will be of type $*@opened P

Projects the address of the value inside a boxed existential container, and uses the enclosed type and protocol conformance metadata to bind the opened archetype $@opened P. The result address is dependent on both the owning box and the enclosing function; in order to "open" a boxed existential that has directly adopted a class reference, temporary scratch space may need to have been allocated.

dealloc_existential_box

sil-instruction ::= 'dealloc_existential_box' sil-operand, sil-type

dealloc_existential_box %0 : $P, $T
// %0 must be an uninitialized box of boxed existential container type $P
// $T must be the AST type for which the box was allocated

Deallocates a boxed existential container. The value inside the existential buffer is not destroyed; either the box must be uninitialized, or the value must have been projected out and destroyed beforehand. It is undefined behavior if the concrete type $T is not the same type for which the box was allocated with alloc_existential_box.

Blocks

project_block_storage

sil-instruction ::= 'project_block_storage' sil-operand ':' sil-type

init_block_storage_header

TODO Fill this in. The printing of this instruction looks incomplete on trunk currently.

Unchecked Conversions

These instructions implement type conversions which are not checked. These are either user-level conversions that are always safe and do not need to be checked, or implementation detail conversions that are unchecked for performance or flexibility.

upcast

sil-instruction ::= 'upcast' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = upcast %0 : $D to $B
// $D and $B must be class types or metatypes, with B a superclass of D
// %1 will have type $B

Represents a conversion from a derived class instance or metatype to a superclass, or from a base-class-constrained archetype to its base class.

address_to_pointer

sil-instruction ::= 'address_to_pointer' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = address_to_pointer %0 : $*T to $Builtin.RawPointer
// %0 must be of an address type $*T
// %1 will be of type Builtin.RawPointer

Creates a Builtin.RawPointer value corresponding to the address %0. Converting the result pointer back to an address of the same type will give an address equivalent to %0. It is undefined behavior to cast the RawPointer to any address type other than its original address type or any layout compatible types.

pointer_to_address

sil-instruction ::= 'pointer_to_address' sil-operand 'to' ('[' 'strict' ']')? sil-type

%1 = pointer_to_address %0 : $Builtin.RawPointer to [strict] $*T
// %1 will be of type $*T

Creates an address value corresponding to the Builtin.RawPointer value %0. Converting a RawPointer back to an address of the same type as its originating address_to_pointer instruction gives back an equivalent address. It is undefined behavior to cast the RawPointer back to any type other than its original address type or layout compatible types. It is also undefined behavior to cast a RawPointer from a heap object to any address type.

The strict flag indicates whether the returned address adheres to strict aliasing. If true, then the type of each memory access dependent on this address must be consistent with the memory's bound type. A memory access from an address that is not strict cannot have its address substituted with a strict address, even if other nearby memory accesses at the same location are strict.

unchecked_ref_cast

sil-instruction ::= 'unchecked_ref_cast' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = unchecked_ref_cast %0 : $A to $B
// %0 must be an object of type $A
// $A must be a type with retainable pointer representation
// %1 will be of type $B
// $B must be a type with retainable pointer representation

Converts a heap object reference to another heap object reference type. This conversion is unchecked, and it is undefined behavior if the destination type is not a valid type for the heap object. The heap object reference on either side of the cast may be a class existential, and may be wrapped in one level of Optional.

unchecked_ref_cast_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'unchecked_ref_cast_addr'
                    sil-type 'in' sil-operand 'to'
                    sil-type 'in' sil-operand

unchecked_ref_cast_addr $A in %0 : $*A to $B in %1 : $*B
// %0 must be the address of an object of type $A
// $A must be a type with retainable pointer representation
// %1 must be the address of storage for an object of type $B
// $B must be a retainable pointer representation

Loads a heap object reference from an address and stores it at the address of another uninitialized heap object reference. The loaded reference is always taken, and the stored reference is initialized. This conversion is unchecked, and it is undefined behavior if the destination type is not a valid type for the heap object. The heap object reference on either side of the cast may be a class existential, and may be wrapped in one level of Optional.

unchecked_addr_cast

sil-instruction ::= 'unchecked_addr_cast' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = unchecked_addr_cast %0 : $*A to $*B
// %0 must be an address
// %1 will be of type $*B

Converts an address to a different address type. Using the resulting address is undefined unless B is layout compatible with A. The layout of B may be smaller than that of A as long as the lower order bytes have identical layout.

unchecked_trivial_bit_cast

sil-instruction ::= 'unchecked_trivial_bit_cast' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = unchecked_trivial_bit_cast %0 : $Builtin.NativeObject to $Builtin.Word
// %0 must be an object.
// %1 must be an object with trivial type.

Bitcasts an object of type A to be of same sized or smaller type B with the constraint that B must be trivial. This can be used for bitcasting among trivial types, but more importantly is a one way bitcast from non-trivial types to trivial types.

unchecked_bitwise_cast

sil-instruction ::= 'unchecked_bitwise_cast' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = unchecked_bitwise_cast %0 : $A to $B

Bitwise copies an object of type A into a new object of type B of the same size or smaller.

ref_to_raw_pointer

sil-instruction ::= 'ref_to_raw_pointer' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = ref_to_raw_pointer %0 : $C to $Builtin.RawPointer
// $C must be a class type, or Builtin.NativeObject, or Builtin.UnknownObject
// %1 will be of type $Builtin.RawPointer

Converts a heap object reference to a Builtin.RawPointer. The RawPointer result can be cast back to the originating class type but does not have ownership semantics. It is undefined behavior to cast a RawPointer from a heap object reference to an address using pointer_to_address.

raw_pointer_to_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'raw_pointer_to_ref' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = raw_pointer_to_ref %0 : $Builtin.RawPointer to $C
// $C must be a class type, or Builtin.NativeObject, or Builtin.UnknownObject
// %1 will be of type $C

Converts a Builtin.RawPointer back to a heap object reference. Casting a heap object reference to Builtin.RawPointer back to the same type gives an equivalent heap object reference (though the raw pointer has no ownership semantics for the object on its own). It is undefined behavior to cast a RawPointer to a type unrelated to the dynamic type of the heap object. It is also undefined behavior to cast a RawPointer from an address to any heap object type.

ref_to_unowned

sil-instruction ::= 'ref_to_unowned' sil-operand

%1 = unowned_to_ref %0 : T
// $T must be a reference type
// %1 will have type $@unowned T

Adds the @unowned qualifier to the type of a reference to a heap object. No runtime effect.

unowned_to_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'unowned_to_ref' sil-operand

%1 = unowned_to_ref %0 : $@unowned T
// $T must be a reference type
// %1 will have type $T

Strips the @unowned qualifier off the type of a reference to a heap object. No runtime effect.

ref_to_unmanaged

TODO

unmanaged_to_ref

TODO

convert_function

sil-instruction ::= 'convert_function' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = convert_function %0 : $T -> U to $T' -> U'
// %0 must be of a function type $T -> U ABI-compatible with $T' -> U'
//   (see below)
// %1 will be of type $T' -> U'

Performs a conversion of the function %0 to type T, which must be ABI- compatible with the type of %0. Function types are ABI-compatible if their input and result types are tuple types that, after destructuring, differ only in the following ways:

  • Corresponding tuple elements may add, remove, or change keyword names. (a:Int, b:Float, UnicodeScalar) -> () and (x:Int, Float, z:UnicodeScalar) -> () are ABI compatible.
  • A class tuple element of the destination type may be a superclass or subclass of the source type's corresponding tuple element.

The function types may also differ in attributes, except that the convention attribute cannot be changed.

thin_function_to_pointer

TODO

pointer_to_thin_function

TODO

ref_to_bridge_object

sil-instruction ::= 'ref_to_bridge_object' sil-operand, sil-operand

%2 = ref_to_bridge_object %0 : $C, %1 : $Builtin.Word
// %1 must be of reference type $C
// %2 will be of type Builtin.BridgeObject

Creates a Builtin.BridgeObject that references %0, with spare bits in the pointer representation populated by bitwise-OR-ing in the value of %1. It is undefined behavior if this bitwise OR operation affects the reference identity of %0; in other words, after the following instruction sequence:

%b = ref_to_bridge_object %r : $C, %w : $Builtin.Word
%r2 = bridge_object_to_ref %b : $Builtin.BridgeObject to $C

%r and %r2 must be equivalent. In particular, it is assumed that retaining or releasing the BridgeObject is equivalent to retaining or releasing the original reference, and that the above ref_to_bridge_object / bridge_object_to_ref round-trip can be folded away to a no-op.

On platforms with ObjC interop, there is additionally a platform-specific bit in the pointer representation of a BridgeObject that is reserved to indicate whether the referenced object has native Swift refcounting. It is undefined behavior to set this bit when the first operand references an Objective-C object.

bridge_object_to_ref

sil-instruction ::= 'bridge_object_to_ref' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = bridge_object_to_ref %0 : $Builtin.BridgeObject to $C
// $C must be a reference type
// %1 will be of type $C

Extracts the object reference from a Builtin.BridgeObject, masking out any spare bits.

bridge_object_to_word

sil-instruction ::= 'bridge_object_to_word' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = bridge_object_to_word %0 : $Builtin.BridgeObject to $Builtin.Word
// %1 will be of type $Builtin.Word

Provides the bit pattern of a Builtin.BridgeObject as an integer.

thin_to_thick_function

sil-instruction ::= 'thin_to_thick_function' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = thin_to_thick_function %0 : $@convention(thin) T -> U to $T -> U
// %0 must be of a thin function type $@convention(thin) T -> U
// The destination type must be the corresponding thick function type
// %1 will be of type $T -> U

Converts a thin function value, that is, a bare function pointer with no context information, into a thick function value with ignored context. Applying the resulting thick function value is equivalent to applying the original thin value. The thin_to_thick_function conversion may be eliminated if the context is proven not to be needed.

thick_to_objc_metatype

sil-instruction ::= 'thick_to_objc_metatype' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = thick_to_objc_metatype %0 : $@thick T.Type to $@objc_metatype T.Type
// %0 must be of a thick metatype type $@thick T.Type
// The destination type must be the corresponding Objective-C metatype type
// %1 will be of type $@objc_metatype T.Type

Converts a thick metatype to an Objective-C class metatype. T must be of class, class protocol, or class protocol composition type.

objc_to_thick_metatype

sil-instruction ::= 'objc_to_thick_metatype' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = objc_to_thick_metatype %0 : $@objc_metatype T.Type to $@thick T.Type
// %0 must be of an Objective-C metatype type $@objc_metatype T.Type
// The destination type must be the corresponding thick metatype type
// %1 will be of type $@thick T.Type

Converts an Objective-C class metatype to a thick metatype. T must be of class, class protocol, or class protocol composition type.

objc_metatype_to_object

TODO

objc_existential_metatype_to_object

TODO

is_nonnull

sil-instruction ::= 'is_nonnull' sil-operand

%1 = is_nonnull %0 : $C
// %0 must be of reference or function type $C
// %1 will be of type Builtin.Int1

Checks whether a reference type value is null, returning 1 if the value is not null, or 0 if it is null. If the value is a function type, it checks the function pointer (not the data pointer) for null.

This is not a sensical thing for SIL to represent given that reference types are non-nullable, but makes sense at the machine level. This is a horrible hack that should go away someday.

Checked Conversions

Some user-level cast operations can fail and thus require runtime checking.

The unconditional_checked_cast_addr and unconditional_checked_cast instructions performs an unconditional checked cast; it is a runtime failure if the cast fails. The checked_cast_addr_br and checked_cast_br terminator instruction performs a conditional checked cast; it branches to one of two destinations based on whether the cast succeeds or not.

unconditional_checked_cast

sil-instruction ::= 'unconditional_checked_cast' sil-operand 'to' sil-type

%1 = unconditional_checked_cast %0 : $A to $B
%1 = unconditional_checked_cast %0 : $*A to $*B
// $A and $B must be both objects or both addresses
// %1 will be of type $B or $*B

Performs a checked scalar conversion, causing a runtime failure if the conversion fails.

unconditional_checked_cast_addr

sil-instruction ::= 'unconditional_checked_cast_addr'
                     sil-cast-consumption-kind
                     sil-type 'in' sil-operand 'to'
                     sil-type 'in' sil-operand
sil-cast-consumption-kind ::= 'take_always'
sil-cast-consumption-kind ::= 'take_on_success'
sil-cast-consumption-kind ::= 'copy_on_success'

%1 = unconditional_checked_cast_addr take_on_success $A in %0 : $*@thick A to $B in $*@thick B
// $A and $B must be both addresses
// %1 will be of type $*B

Performs a checked indirect conversion, causing a runtime failure if the conversion fails.

Runtime Failures

cond_fail

sil-instruction ::= 'cond_fail' sil-operand

cond_fail %0 : $Builtin.Int1
// %0 must be of type $Builtin.Int1

This instruction produces a runtime failure if the operand is one. Execution proceeds normally if the operand is zero.

Terminators

These instructions terminate a basic block. Every basic block must end with a terminator. Terminators may only appear as the final instruction of a basic block.

unreachable

sil-terminator ::= 'unreachable'

unreachable

Indicates that control flow must not reach the end of the current basic block. It is a dataflow error if an unreachable terminator is reachable from the entry point of a function and is not immediately preceded by an apply of a no-return function.

return

sil-terminator ::= 'return' sil-operand

return %0 : $T
// $T must be the return type of the current function

Exits the current function and returns control to the calling function. If the current function was invoked with an apply instruction, the result of that function will be the operand of this return instruction. If the current function was invoked with a try_apply` instruction, control resumes at the normal destination, and the value of the basic block argument will be the operand of this ``return instruction.

return does not retain or release its operand or any other values.

A function must not contain more than one return instruction.

throw

sil-terminator ::= 'throw' sil-operand

throw %0 : $T
// $T must be the error result type of the current function

Exits the current function and returns control to the calling function. The current function must have an error result, and so the function must have been invoked with a try_apply` instruction. Control will resume in the error destination of that instruction, and the basic block argument will be the operand of the ``throw.

throw does not retain or release its operand or any other values.

A function must not contain more than one throw instruction.

br

sil-terminator ::= 'br' sil-identifier
                     '(' (sil-operand (',' sil-operand)*)? ')'

br label (%0 : $A, %1 : $B, ...)
// `label` must refer to a basic block label within the current function
// %0, %1, etc. must be of the types of `label`'s arguments

Unconditionally transfers control from the current basic block to the block labeled label, binding the given values to the arguments of the destination basic block.

cond_br

sil-terminator ::= 'cond_br' sil-operand ','
                     sil-identifier '(' (sil-operand (',' sil-operand)*)? ')' ','
                     sil-identifier '(' (sil-operand (',' sil-operand)*)? ')'

cond_br %0 : $Builtin.Int1, true_label (%a : $A, %b : $B, ...), \
                               false_label (%x : $X, %y : $Y, ...)
// %0 must be of $Builtin.Int1 type
// `true_label` and `false_label` must refer to block labels within the
//   current function and must not be identical
// %a, %b, etc. must be of the types of `true_label`'s arguments
// %x, %y, etc. must be of the types of `false_label`'s arguments

Conditionally branches to true_label if %0 is equal to 1 or to false_label if %0 is equal to 0, binding the corresponding set of values to the arguments of the chosen destination block.

switch_value

sil-terminator ::= 'switch_value' sil-operand
                     (',' sil-switch-value-case)*
                     (',' sil-switch-default)?
sil-switch-value-case ::= 'case' sil-value ':' sil-identifier
sil-switch-default ::= 'default' sil-identifier

switch_value %0 : $Builtin.Int<n>, case %1: label1, \
                                   case %2: label2, \
                                   ...,            \
                                   default labelN

// %0 must be a value of builtin integer type $Builtin.Int<n>
// `label1` through `labelN` must refer to block labels within the current
//   function
// FIXME: All destination labels currently must take no arguments

Conditionally branches to one of several destination basic blocks based on a value of builtin integer or function type. If the operand value matches one of the case values of the instruction, control is transferred to the corresponding basic block. If there is a default basic block, control is transferred to it if the value does not match any of the case values. It is undefined behavior if the value does not match any cases and no default branch is provided.

select_value

sil-instruction ::= 'select_value' sil-operand sil-select-value-case*
                    (',' 'default' sil-value)?
                    ':' sil-type
sil-select-value-case ::= 'case' sil-value ':' sil-value


%n = select_value %0 : $U, \
  case %c1: %r1,           \
  case %c2: %r2, /* ... */ \
  default %r3 : $T

// $U must be a builtin type. Only integers types are supported currently.
// c1, c2, etc must be of type $U
// %r1, %r2, %r3, etc. must have type $T
// %n has type $T

Selects one of the "case" or "default" operands based on the case of a value. This is equivalent to a trivial switch_value branch sequence:

entry:
  switch_value %0 : $U,            \
    case %c1: bb1,           \
    case %c2: bb2, /* ... */ \
    default bb_default
bb1:
  br cont(%r1 : $T) // value for %c1
bb2:
  br cont(%r2 : $T) // value for %c2
bb_default:
  br cont(%r3 : $T) // value for default
cont(%n : $T):
  // use argument %n

but turns the control flow dependency into a data flow dependency.

switch_enum

sil-terminator ::= 'switch_enum' sil-operand
                     (',' sil-switch-enum-case)*
                     (',' sil-switch-default)?
sil-switch-enum-case ::= 'case' sil-decl-ref ':' sil-identifier

switch_enum %0 : $U, case #U.Foo!enumelt: label1, \
                      case #U.Bar!enumelt: label2, \
                      ...,                 \
                      default labelN

// %0 must be a value of enum type $U
// #U.Foo, #U.Bar, etc. must be 'case' declarations inside $U
// `label1` through `labelN` must refer to block labels within the current
//   function
// label1 must take either no basic block arguments, or a single argument
//   of the type of #U.Foo's data
// label2 must take either no basic block arguments, or a single argument
//   of the type of #U.Bar's data, etc.
// labelN must take no basic block arguments

Conditionally branches to one of several destination basic blocks based on the discriminator in a loadable enum value. Unlike switch_int, switch_enum requires coverage of the operand type: If the enum type is resilient, the default branch is required; if the enum type is fragile, the default branch is required unless a destination is assigned to every case of the enum. The destination basic block for a case may take an argument of the corresponding enum case's data type (or of the address type, if the operand is an address). If the branch is taken, the destination's argument will be bound to the associated data inside the original enum value. For example:

enum Foo {
  case Nothing
  case OneInt(Int)
  case TwoInts(Int, Int)
}

sil @sum_of_foo : $Foo -> Int {
entry(%x : $Foo):
  switch_enum %x : $Foo,       \
    case #Foo.Nothing!enumelt: nothing, \
    case #Foo.OneInt!enumelt.1:  one_int, \
    case #Foo.TwoInts!enumelt.1: two_ints

nothing:
  %zero = integer_literal $Int, 0
  return %zero : $Int

one_int(%y : $Int):
  return %y : $Int

two_ints(%ab : $(Int, Int)):
  %a = tuple_extract %ab : $(Int, Int), 0
  %b = tuple_extract %ab : $(Int, Int), 1
  %add = function_ref @add : $(Int, Int) -> Int
  %result = apply %add(%a, %b) : $(Int, Int) -> Int
  return %result : $Int
}

On a path dominated by a destination block of switch_enum, copying or destroying the basic block argument has equivalent reference counting semantics to copying or destroying the switch_enum operand:

  // This retain_value...
  retain_value %e1 : $Enum
  switch_enum %e1, case #Enum.A: a, case #Enum.B: b
a(%a : $A):
  // ...is balanced by this release_value
  release_value %a
b(%b : $B):
  // ...and this one
  release_value %b

switch_enum_addr

sil-terminator ::= 'switch_enum_addr' sil-operand
                     (',' sil-switch-enum-case)*
                     (',' sil-switch-default)?

switch_enum_addr %0 : $*U, case #U.Foo!enumelt: label1, \
                                        case #U.Bar!enumelt: label2, \
                                        ...,                 \
                                        default labelN

// %0 must be the address of an enum type $*U
// #U.Foo, #U.Bar, etc. must be cases of $U
// `label1` through `labelN` must refer to block labels within the current
//   function
// The destinations must take no basic block arguments

Conditionally branches to one of several destination basic blocks based on the discriminator in the enum value referenced by the address operand.

Unlike switch_int, switch_enum requires coverage of the operand type: If the enum type is resilient, the default branch is required; if the enum type is fragile, the default branch is required unless a destination is assigned to every case of the enum. Unlike switch_enum, the payload value is not passed to the destination basic blocks; it must be projected out separately with unchecked_take_enum_data_addr.

dynamic_method_br

sil-terminator ::= 'dynamic_method_br' sil-operand ',' sil-decl-ref
                     ',' sil-identifier ',' sil-identifier

dynamic_method_br %0 : $P, #X.method!1, bb1, bb2
// %0 must be of protocol type
// #X.method!1 must be a reference to an @objc method of any class
// or protocol type

Looks up the implementation of an Objective-C method with the same selector as the named method for the dynamic type of the value inside an existential container. The "self" operand of the result function value is represented using an opaque type, the value for which must be projected out as a value of type Builtin.ObjCPointer.

If the operand is determined to have the named method, this instruction branches to bb1, passing it the uncurried function corresponding to the method found. If the operand does not have the named method, this instruction branches to bb2.

checked_cast_br

sil-terminator ::= 'checked_cast_br' sil-checked-cast-exact?
                    sil-operand 'to' sil-type ','
                    sil-identifier ',' sil-identifier
sil-checked-cast-exact ::= '[' 'exact' ']'

checked_cast_br %0 : $A to $B, bb1, bb2
checked_cast_br %0 : $*A to $*B, bb1, bb2
checked_cast_br [exact] %0 : $A to $A, bb1, bb2
// $A and $B must be both object types or both address types
// bb1 must take a single argument of type $B or $*B
// bb2 must take no arguments

Performs a checked scalar conversion from $A to $B. If the conversion succeeds, control is transferred to bb1, and the result of the cast is passed into bb1 as an argument. If the conversion fails, control is transferred to bb2.

An exact cast checks whether the dynamic type is exactly the target type, not any possible subtype of it. The source and target types must be class types.

checked_cast_addr_br

sil-terminator ::= 'checked_cast_addr_br'
                    sil-cast-consumption-kind
                    sil-type 'in' sil-operand 'to'
                    sil-stype 'in' sil-operand ','
                    sil-identifier ',' sil-identifier
sil-cast-consumption-kind ::= 'take_always'
sil-cast-consumption-kind ::= 'take_on_success'
sil-cast-consumption-kind ::= 'copy_on_success'

checked_cast_addr_br take_always $A in %0 : $*@thick A to $B in %2 : $*@thick B, bb1, bb2
// $A and $B must be both address types
// bb1 must take a single argument of type $*B
// bb2 must take no arguments

Performs a checked indirect conversion from $A to $B. If the conversion succeeds, control is transferred to bb1, and the result of the cast is left in the destination. If the conversion fails, control is transferred to bb2.

try_apply

sil-terminator ::= 'try_apply' sil-value
                      sil-apply-substitution-list?
                      '(' (sil-value (',' sil-value)*)? ')'
                      ':' sil-type
  'normal' sil-identifier, 'error' sil-identifier

try_apply %0(%1, %2, ...) : $(A, B, ...) -> (R, @error E),
  normal bb1, error bb2
bb1(%3 : R):
bb2(%4 : E):

// Note that the type of the callee '%0' is specified *after* the arguments
// %0 must be of a concrete function type $(A, B, ...) -> (R, @error E)
// %1, %2, etc. must be of the argument types $A, $B, etc.

Transfers control to the function specified by %0, passing it the given arguments. When %0 returns, control resumes in either the normal destination (if it returns with return) or the error destination (if it returns with throw).

%0 must have a function type with an error result.

The rules on generic substitutions are identical to those of apply.

Assertion configuration

To be able to support disabling assertions at compile time there is a builtin assertion_configuration function. A call to this function can be replaced at compile time by a constant or can stay opaque.

All calls to the assert_configuration function are replaced by the constant propagation pass to the appropriate constant depending on compile time settings. Subsequent passes remove dependent unwanted control flow. Using this mechanism we support conditionally enabling/disabling of code in SIL libraries depending on the assertion configuration selected when the library is linked into user code.

There are three assertion configurations: Debug (0), Release (1) and DisableReplacement (-1).

The optimization flag or a special assert configuration flag determines the value. Depending on the configuration value assertions in the standard library will be executed or not.

The standard library uses this builtin to define an assert that can be disabled at compile time.

func assert(...) {
  if (Int32(Builtin.assert_configuration()) == 0) {
    _fatal_error_message(message, ...)
  }
}

The assert_configuration function application is serialized when we build the standard library (we recognize the -parse-stdlib option and don't do the constant replacement but leave the function application to be serialized to sil).

The compiler flag that influences the value of the assert_configuration function application is the optimization flag: at -Onone` the application will be replaced by ``Debug at higher optimization levels the instruction will be replaced by Release. Optionally, the value to use for replacement can be specified with the -assert-config flag which overwrites the value selected by the optimization flag (possible values are Debug, Release, DisableReplacement).

If the call to the assert_configuration function stays opaque until IRGen, IRGen will replace the application by the constant representing Debug mode (0). This happens we can build the standard library .dylib. The generate sil will retain the function call but the generated .dylib will contain code with assertions enabled.