Prefer static class members

Long time no see. Let us talk about one minor thing just to keep going. In real-time applications often, it is the matter of microseconds. In practice, a hot path should be optimized as well as possible, often rewritten in assembly. For example, we have a class that encapsulates some data and has some methods. In addition, one of the methods works perfectly fine without accessing the internal data:

struct Foo {
    // .. some members
    void SophisticatedCopy(const unsigned* src, unsigned* dst) {
        // .. sophisticated algorithm
    }
} foo;

void bar(){
    foo.SophisticatedCopy(src, dst);
}

When you call a class method it silently passes this pointer to the function. It is clear from the assembly (thanks to Matt Godbolt):

foo DB 01H DUP (?)
bar PROC
sub rsp, 40 ; 00000028H
mov r8, QWORD PTR dst
mov rdx, QWORD PTR src
lea rcx, OFFSET FLAT:foo   // <-------
call Foo::SophisticatedCopy
add rsp, 40 ; 00000028H
ret 0
bar ENDP
Foo::SophisticatedCopy, COMDAT PROC
mov QWORD PTR [rsp+24], r8
mov QWORD PTR [rsp+16], rdx
mov QWORD PTR [rsp+8], rcx // <-------
ret 0
Foo::SophisticatedCopy ENDP

Static members have no access to internal data, because they are independent from the object. Can we use it as an advantage?

struct Foo {
    // .. some members
    static void SophisticatedCopyStatic(const unsigned* src, unsigned* dst) {
        // .. sophisticated algorithm
    }
} foo;

void bar_static(){
    foo.SophisticatedCopyStatic(src, dst);
}

Turns out we can!

bar_static PROC
sub rsp, 40 ; 00000028H
mov rdx, QWORD PTR dst
mov rcx, QWORD PTR src
call Foo::SophisticatedCopyStatic
add rsp, 40 ; 00000028H
ret 0
bar_static ENDP
Foo::SophisticatedCopyStatic, COMDAT PROC
mov QWORD PTR [rsp+16], rdx
mov QWORD PTR [rsp+8], rcx
ret 0
Foo::SophisticatedCopyStatic ENDP

You may say “Why would I want to save two processor instructions? They’re cheap!” and most of the time you would be correct. However, imagine a system (real-time, mostly), that calls this function ten thousand times a second. That is twenty thousand extra instructions that have no point. Small optimization, but pays off well.


© 2018. All rights reserved.

Powered by Hydejack v7.5.1