Keynote: Understanding Compiler Optimization

C++ is used in applications where resources are constrained and performance is critical. However, its power in this domain comes from the ability to build large, complex systems in C++. These systems leverage numerous C++ features in order to build and utilize abstractions that make reasoning about these complex systems possible. Abstractions are the very essence of how we scale software to solve ever larger and more complex problems.

But the common C++ idea of "zero cost" abstractions is, in some senses, a myth. The real achievement of C++ is allowing you, the programmer, to control where and how the cost of your abstractions will be paid. It does this by leveraging remarkably advanced optimizing compilers and carefully written libraries and techniques, all working together to control the cost. In order to be effective writing software that leverages this control, it is essential that the programmer understand the core fundamentals of how the compiler optimizations will behave. Without this, it is too easy to unknowingly limit it or create challenges that it cannot overcome.

Speaker: Chandler Carruth

Slides: Understanding Compiler Optimization


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