# Specialization constants¶

Specialization constants are implemented in accordance with how they are defined by SYCL 2020 specification: SYCL registry, direct link to the specification.

Specialization constants represent constants whose values can be set dynamically during execution of the SYCL application. The values of these constants are fixed when a SYCL kernel function is invoked, and they do not change during the execution of the kernel. However, the application is able to set a new value for a specialization constants each time a kernel is invoked, so the values can be tuned differently for each invocation.

Section 4.9.5 Specialization constants

Example usage:

#include <sycl/sycl.hpp>
using namespace sycl;

using coeff_t = std::array<std::array<float, 3>, 3>;

coeff_t get_coefficients();

// Identify the specialization constant.
constexpr specialization_id<coeff_t> coeff_id;

void do_conv(buffer<float, 2> in, buffer<float, 2> out) {
queue myQueue;

myQueue.submit([&](handler &cgh) {
accessor in_acc { in, cgh, read_only };
accessor out_acc { out, cgh, write_only };

// Set the coefficient of the convolution as constant.
// This will build a specific kernel the coefficient available as literals.
cgh.set_specialization_constant<coeff_id>(get_coefficients());

cgh.parallel_for<class Convolution>(
in.get_range(), [=](item<2> item_id, kernel_handler h) {
float acc = 0;
coeff_t coeff = h.get_specialization_constant<coeff_id>();
for (int i = -1; i <= 1; i++) {
if (item_id[0] + i < 0 || item_id[0] + i >= in_acc.get_range()[0])
continue;
for (int j = -1; j <= 1; j++) {
if (item_id[1] + j < 0 || item_id[1] + j >= in_acc.get_range()[1])
continue;
// The underlying JIT can see all the values of the array returned
// by coeff.get().
acc += coeff[i + 1][j + 1] *
in_acc[item_id[0] + i][item_id[1] + j];
}
}
out_acc[item_id] = acc;
});
});

myQueue.wait();
}


## Design objectives¶

SYCL 2020 defines specialization constant as:

A constant variable where the value is not known until compilation of the SYCL kernel function.

Glossary

And implementation is based on SPIR-V speficiation support for Specialization. However, the specification also states the following:

It is expected that many implementations will use an intermediate language representation … such as SPIR-V, and the intermediate language will have native support for specialization constants. However, implementations that do not have such native support must still support specialization constants in some other way.

Section 4.11.12.2. Specialization constant support

Having that said, the following should be implemented:

1. We need to ensure that in generated SPIR-V, calls to get_specialization_constant are replaced with corresponding instructions for referencing SPIR-V specialization constants.

2. SYCL provides a mechanism to specify default values of specialization constants, which should be reflected in the generated SPIR-V. This part is especially tricky, because this happens in host part of the SYCL program, which means that without special handling it won’t even be visible to the device compiler.

3. We need to ensure that DPC++ RT properly sets specialization constants used in the program: SYCL spec uses non-type template parameters to identify specialization constants in the program, while at SPIR-V and OpenCL levels, each specialization constant is defined by its numerical ID, which means that we need to maintain some mapping from SYCL identifiers to a numeric identifiers in order to be able to set specialization constants. Moreover, at SPIR-V level composite specialization constants do not have separate ID and can only be set by setting value to each member of a composite, which means that we have 1:n mapping between SYCL identifiers and numeric IDs of specialization constants.

4. When AOT compilation is used or the target device does not use SPIR-V as the device code format (for example, CUDA device, where NVPTX intermediate representation is used), we need to somehow emulate support for specialization constants.

## Design¶

As stated above, native specialization constants support is based on corresponding SPIR-V functionality, while emulation is implemented through transforming specialization constants into kernel arguments.

In DPC++ Headers/DPC++ RT we don’t know a lot of necessary information about specialization constants, like: which numeric ID is used for particular specialization constant (since we support SYCL_EXTERNAL, those IDs can only be allocated by the compiler during link stage) or which kernel argument is used to pass particular specialization constant (because they are not explicitly captured by SYCL kernel functions and regular mechanism for kernel arguments handling can’t be used here).

Therefore, we can’t have headers-only implementation and the crucial part of design is how to organize mapping mechanism between SYCL identifiers for specialization constants (specialization_ids) and low-level identifiers (numeric IDs in SPIR-V or information about corresponding kernel arguments).

That mapping mechanism is particularly tricky, because of some additional complexity coming from SYCL 2020 specification:

• specialization_id variables, which are used as specialization constant identifiers (being non-type template parameters of some methods) can’t be forward-declared in general case (for example, if defined as static), which means that we can’t use integration header to attach some information to them through some C++ templates tricks (like it is done for regular kernel arguments or kernel names, for example).

• they also can be declared as static or just non-inline constexpr, which means that they have internal linkage and can’t be referenced from other translation units, which means that we can’t for example create a new translation unit which contains some mapping from specialization_id address to some desired info.

Based on those limitations, the following mapping design is proposed:

• DPC++ RT uses special function:

namespace detail {
template<auto &SpecName>
inline const char *get_spec_constant_symbolic_ID();
}


Which is only declared, but not defined in there and used to retrieve required information like numeric ID of a specialization constant.

• Definition of that function template are provided by DPC++ FE in form of integration footer: the compiler generates a piece of C++ code which is injected at the end of a translation unit:

namespace detail {
// assuming user defined the following specialization_id:
// constexpr specialiation_id<int> int_const;
// class Wrapper {
// public:
//   static constexpr specialization_id<float> float_const;
// };

template<>
inline const char *get_spec_constant_symbolic_ID<int_const>() {
return "unique_name_for_int_const";
}
template<>
inline const char *get_spec_constant_symbolic_ID<Wrapper::float_const>() {
return "unique_name_for_Wrapper_float_const";
}
}


Those symbolic IDs are used to identify device image properties corresponding to those specialization constants, which store additional information (like numeric SPIR-V ID of a constant) needed for DPC++ RT.

• That integration footer is automatically appended by the compiler at the end of user-provided translation unit by driver.

Another significant part of the design is how specialization constants support is emulated: as briefly mentioned before, the general approach is to transform specialization constants into kernel arguments. In fact all specialization constants used within a program are bundled together and stored into a single buffer, which is passed as implicit kernel argument. The layout of that buffer is well-defined and known to both the compiler and the runtime, so when user sets the value of a specialization constant, that value is being copied into particular place within that buffer and once the constant is requested in device code, the compiler generates a load from the same place of the buffer.

Summarizing, overall design looks like:

DPC++ Headers provide special markup, which used by the compiler to detect presence of specialization constants and properly handle them.

DPC++ FE handles kernel_handler SYCL kernel function argument, creates additional kernel argument to pass specialization constants through buffer if necessary (i.e. if native support is not available) and generates integration footer.

sycl-post-link transforms device code to either generate proper SPIR-V Friendly IR with specialization constants (when native support is available) or to generate correct access to corresponding kernel argument (which are used when native support is not available); also the tool generates some device image properties with all information needed for DPC++ RT (like which numeric SPIR-V ID was assigned to which symbolic ID).

With help of clang-offload-wrapper tool, those device image properties are embedded into the application together with device code and used by DPC++ RT while handling specialization constants during application execution: it either calls corresponding PI API to set a value of a specialization constant or it fills a special buffer with values of specialization constants and passes it as kernel argument to emulate support of specialization constants.

Sections below describe each component in more details.

DPC++ Headers provide required definitions of specialization_id and kernel_handler classes as well as of many other classes and methods.

kernel_handler::get_specialization_constant method, which provides an access to specialization constants within device code implements an interface between DPC++ Headers and the compiler (sycl-post-link tool): it contains a special markup, which allows the compiler to detect specialization constants in the device code and properly handle them.

namespace sycl {
template<typename T>
T __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue<T>(const char *SymbolicID, const void *DefaultValue, const void *RTBuffer);
template<typename T>
T __sycl_getComposite2020SpecConstantValue<T>(const char *SymbolicID, const void *DefaultValue, const void *RTBuffer);

class kernel_handler {
public:
template<auto& SpecName>
typename std::remove_reference_t<decltype(SpecName)>::type get_specialization_constant() {
#ifdef __SYCL_DEVICE_ONLY__
return get_on_device<SpecName>();
#else
// some fallback implementation in case this code is launched on host
#endif __SYCL_DEVICE_ONLY__
}

private:
#ifdef __SYCL_DEVICE_ONLY__
template<auto &SpecName, typename T = std::remove_reference_t<decltype(SpecName)>::type>
// enable_if T is a scalar type
T get_on_device() {
auto ID = __builtin_sycl_unique_id(SpecName);
return __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue<T>(ID, &SpecName, Ptr);
}

template<auto &SpecName, typename T = std::remove_reference_t<decltype(SpecName)>::type>
// enable_if T is a composite type
T get_on_device() {
auto ID = __builtin_sycl_unique_id(SpecName);
return __sycl_getComposite2020SpecConstantValue<T>(ID, &SpecName, Ptr);
}
#endif // __SYCL_DEVICE_ONLY__

byte *Ptr = nullptr;
};

} // namespace sycl


Here __builtin_sycl_unique_id is a new compiler built-in which is supposed to generate unique symbolic IDs for specialization constants.

__sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue<T> and __sycl_getComposite2020SpecConstant<T> are functions with special names - they are declared in the headers but never defined. Calls to them are recognized by a special LLVM pass later and this is aforementioned special markup required for the compiler.

Those functions accept three parameters:

1. Symbolic ID of specialization constant. This must be a constant string, which will be used by the compiler to uniquely identify the specialization constant. Device image properties generated by the compiler will use that string as well to attach additional data to the constant.

2. Default value of the specialization constant. It is expected that at LLVM IR level the argument will contain a pointer to a global variable with the initializer, which should be used as the default value of the specialization constants.

3. Pointer to a buffer, which will be used if native specialization constants are not available. This pointer is described later in the section corresponding to emulation of specialization constants.

Compilation and subsequent linkage of the device code results in a number of __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue and __sycl_getComposite2020SpecConstantValue calls. Before generating a device binary, each linked device code LLVM IR module undergoes processing by sycl-post-link tool which can run LLVM IR passes before passing the module onto the SPIR-V translator.

As it is stated above, the only place where we can properly handle specialization constants is somewhere during or after linking device code from different translation units, so it happens in sycl-post-link tool.

There is a SpecConstantsPass LLVM IR pass which:

1. Assigns numeric IDs to specialization constants found in the linked module.

2. Transforms IR to either:

1. The form expected by the SPIR-V translator (format of the expected IR is covered in “Transformation of LLVM IR to SPIR-V friendly IR form” section).

2. The form which is used for emulating specialization constants.

3. Collects and provides <Symbolic ID> => <numeric IDs + additional info> mapping, which is later being used by DPC++ RT to set specialization constant values provided by user (section “Collecting spec constants info and communicating it to DPC++ RT” provides more info on that)

#### 1. Assignment of numeric IDs to specialization constants¶

This task is achieved by maintaining a map, which holds a list of numeric IDs for each encountered symbolic ID of a specialization constant. Those IDs are used to identify the specialization constants at SPIR-V level.

As noted above one symbolic ID can have several numeric IDs assigned to it - such 1:N mapping comes from the fact that at SPIR-V level, composite specialization constants don’t have dedicated IDs and they are being identified and specialized through their scalar leafs and corresponding numeric IDs.

For example, the following code:

struct Nested {
float a, b;
};
struct A {
int x;
Nested n;
};

constexpr specialization_id<int> id_int;
constexpr specialization_id<A> id_A;
// ...
[=](kernel_handler h) {
h.get_specialization_constant<id_int>();
h.get_specialization_constant<id_A>();
}


Will result in the following numeric IDs assignment:

// since id_int is a simple arithmetic specialization constant, we only
// have a single numeric ID associated with its symbolic ID
unique_symbolic_id_for_id_int -> { 0 }
// id_A is a composite with three leafs (scalar members, including ones
// located in nested composite types), which results in three numeric IDs
// associated with the same symbolic ID
unique_symbolic_id_for_id_A -> { 1, 2, 3 }


As it is shown in the example above, if a composite specialization constant contains another composite within it, that nested composite is also being “flattened” and its leafs are considered to be leafs of the parent specialization constants. This done by depth-first search through the composite elements.

#### 2.1 Transformation of LLVM IR to SPIR-V friendly IR form¶

SPIR-V friendly IR form is a special representation of LLVM IR, where some function are named in particular way in order to be recognizable by the SPIR-V translator to convert them into corresponding SPIR-V instructions later. The format is documented here.

For specialization constant, we need to generate the following constructs:

template<typename T> // T is arithmetic type
T __spirv_SpecConstant(int numericID, T default_value);

template<typename T, typename... Elements> // T is composite type,
// Elements are arithmetic or composite types
T __spirv_SpecConstantComposite(Elements... elements);


Particularly, SpecConstantsPass translates calls to the T __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue(const char *SymbolicID, const void *DefaultValue, const char *RTBuffer) intrinsic into calls to T __spirv_SpecConstant(int ID, T default_val). And for T __sycl_getComposite2020SpecConstantValue(const char *SybmolicID, const void *DefaultValue, const char *RTBuffer) it generates number of T __spirv_SpecConstant(int ID, T default_val) calls for each leaf of the composite type, plus number of T __spirv_SpecConstantComposite(Elements... elements) for each composite type (including the outermost one).

Example of LLVM IR transformation can be found below, input LLVM IR:

%struct.POD = type { [2 x %struct.A], <2 x i32> }
%struct.A = type { i32, float }

@gold_scalar_default = global %class.specialization_id { i32 42 }
@gold_default = global %class.specialization_id { %struct.POD { [2 x %struct.A] [%struct.A { i32 1, float 2.000000e+00 }, %struct.A { i32 2, float 3.000000e+00 }], <2 x i32> <i32 44, i32 44> } }

; the second argument of intrinsics below are simplified a bit
; in real-life LLVM IR it looks like:
;   i8* bitcast (%class.specialization_id* @gold_scalar_default to i8*
%gold_scalar = call i32 __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue<int type mangling> ("gold_scalar_identifier", @gold_scalar_default, i8* %buffer)
%gold = call %struct.POD __sycl_getComposite2020SpecConstantValue<POD type mangling> ("gold_identifier", @gold_default, i8* %default)


LLVM IR generated by SpecConstantsPass:

%gold_scalar = call i32 __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 0, i32 42)

%gold_POD_A0_x = call i32 __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 1, i32 1)
%gold_POD_A0_y = call float __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 2, float 2.000000e+00)

%gold_POD_A0 = call %struct.A __spirv_SpecConstantComposite(i32 %gold_POD_A0_x, float %gold_POD_A0_y)

%gold_POD_A1_x = call i32 __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 3, i32 2)
%gold_POD_A1_y = call float __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 4, float 3.000000e+00)

%gold_POD_A1 = call %struct.A __spirv_SpecConstantComposite(i32 %gold_POD_A1_x, float %gold_POD_A1_y)

%gold_POD_A = call [2 x %struct.A] __spirv_SpecConstantComposite(%struct.A %gold_POD_A0, %struct.A %gold_POD_A1)

%gold_POD_b0 = call i32 __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 4, i32 44)
%gold_POD_b1 = call i32 __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 6, i32 44)
%gold_POD_b = call <2 x i32> __spirv_SpecConstant(i32 %gold_POD_b0, i32 %gold_POD_b1)

%gold = call %struct.POD __spirv_SpecConstantComposite([2 x %struct.A] %gold_POD_A, <2 x i32> %gold_POD_b)


#### 2.2 Transformation of LLVM IR for emulating specialization constants¶

In case we are not targeting SPIR-V, we don’t have a native support for specialization constants and have to emulate them somehow. As stated above, it is done by converting specialization constants into kernel arguments: they all bundled together and put into a single buffer.

SpecConstantsPass should generate proper accesses to that buffer when specialization constants are used: this is done by replacing special __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue and __sycl_getComposite2020SpecConstantValue functions with accesses to their third argument, which contains a pointer to the buffer with values of all specialization constants. That access looks like a sequence of the following LLVM IR instruction getelementptr from the buffer pointer by calculated, offset, then bitcast to pointer to proper return type (because the buffer pointer is just an “untyped” i8 *) and load. An example of that LLVM IR:

; an example for:
; constexpr specialization_id<double> id_double;
;   [=](kernel_handler h) {
;     h.get_specialization_constant<id_double>();

; __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue(@SymbolicID, %DefaultValue, i8 *%RTBuffer)
; is being replaced with

%gep = getelementptr i8, i8* %RTBuffer, i32 [calculated-offset-for-@SymbolicID]
%bitcast = bitcase i8* %gep to double*

; %load is the resulting value, which is used further instead of a result of
; call to __sycl_getScalar2020SpecConstantValue


The layout of that buffer is defined as follows: all specialization constants are placed there one after another in ascending order of their numeric IDs assigned to them by SpecConstantPass previously.

For example, the following code:

struct Nested {
float a, b;
};
struct A {
int x;
Nested n;
};

constexpr specialization_id<int> id_int;
constexpr specialization_id<A> id_A;
constexpr specialization_id<Nested> id_Nested;
// ...
[=](kernel_handler h) {
h.get_specialization_constant<id_int>();
h.get_specialization_constant<id_A>();
h.get_specialization_constant<id_Nested>();
}


Will result in the following buffer layout, i.e. offsets of each specialization constant in that buffer:

[
0, // for id_int, the first constant is at the beginning of the buffer
4, // sizeof(int) == 4, the second constant is located right after the fisrt one
16, // sizeof(int) + sizezof(A) == 4, the same approach for the third constant
]


#### 3. Collecting spec constants info and communicating it to DPC++ RT¶

For each encountered specialization constants sycl-post-link emits a property, which encodes information required by DPC++ RT to set the value of a specialization constant through corresponding API.

These properties are stored in “SYCL/specialization constants” property set and their names are the same as symbolic IDs of corresponding specialization constants (i.e. strings returned by __builtin_sycl_unique_id for associated specialization_id variables).

Each such property contains an array of tuples (descriptors) <leaf spec ID, offset, size>. This descriptor might be overcomplicated for simple arithmetic spec constants, but it is still used for them in order to unify internal representation of scalar and composite spec constants and simplify their handling in DPC++ RT. This descriptor is needed, because at DPC++ RT level, composite constants are set by user as a byte array and we have to break it down to the leaf members of the composite and set a value for each leaf as for a separate scalar specialization constant.

For simple scalar specialization constants the array will only contain a single descriptor representing the constant itself. For composite specialization constants the array will contain several descriptors for each leaf of the composite type.

The descriptor contains the following fields:

• ID of a composite constant leaf, i.e. ID of a scalar specialization constant, which is a part of a composite type or ID of a constant itself if it is a scalar.

• Offset from the beginning of composite, which points to the location of a scalar value within the composite, i.e. the position where scalar specialization constant resides within the byte array supplied by the user. For scalar specialization constants it will always be 0.

• Size of the scalar specialization constant

For example, the following code:

struct Nested {
float a, b;
};
struct A {
int x;
Nested n;
};

constexpr specialization_id<int> id_int;
constexpr specialization_id<A> id_A;
// ...
[=](kernel_handler h) {
h.get_specialization_constant<id_int>();
h.get_specialization_constant<id_A>();
}


Will result in the following property set generated:

property_set {
Name = "SYCL/specialization constants",
properties: [
property {
Name: "id_int_symbolic_ID",
ValAddr: points to byte array [{0, 0, 4}],
Type: PI_PROPERTY_TYPE_BYTE_ARRAY,
Size: sizeof(byte array above)
},
property {
Name: "id_A_symbolic_ID",
ValAddr: points to byte array [{1, 0, 4}, {2, 4, 4}, {3, 8, 4}],
Type: PI_PROPERTY_TYPE_BYTE_ARRAY,
Size: sizeof(byte array above)
},
]
}


The property set described above is mainly intended to be used when native specialization constants are available, but it will be also used for emulation of specialization constants: SPIR-V IDs and sizes of specialization constants will be used to calculate offset of each specialization constant within a buffer, which is used to propagate them to kernel through kernel arguments.

Additionally, another property set will be generated to support emulated specialization constants, which will contain a single property with default values of all specialization constants in the same form as they will be propagated from host to device through kernel arguments, i.e. this property will simply contain a blob that for each specialization constant of type A represents an object of type A constructed with values passed to specialization_id constructor; those values are ordered in ascending order of numeric SPIR-V IDs assigned to corresponding specialization constants.

This blob can be used by DPC++ RT to either pre-initialize the whole buffer for specialization constants with their default value or to extract default value of a particular specialization constant out of it.

For example, the following code:

struct Nested {
constexpr Nested(float a, float b) : a(a + 1.0), b(b + 1.0) {}
float a, b;
};
struct A {
constexpr A(int x, float a, float b) : x(x), n(a, b) {}
int x;
Nested n;
};

constexpr specialization_id<int> id_int(42);
constexpr specialization_id<A> id_A(1, 2.0, 3.0);
constexpr specialization_id<Nested> id_Nested(4.0, 5.0);
// ...
[=](kernel_handler h) {
h.get_specialization_constant<id_int>();
h.get_specialization_constant<id_A>();
h.get_specialization_constant<id_Nested>();
}


The following property set will be generated:

property_set {
Name = "SYCL/specialization constants default values",
properties: [
property {
Name: "all",
ValAddr: points to byte array [
42, // id_int
1, 3.0, 4.0, // id_A
5.0, 6.0 // id_Nested
],
Type: PI_PROPERTY_TYPE_BYTE_ARRAY,
Size: sizeof(byte array above)
}
]
}


### DPC++ Compiler: front-end¶

DPC++ FE is responsible for several things related to specialization constants:

While transforming SYCL kernel function into an OpenCL kernel, DPC++ FE should

• Handle kernel_handler argument: it is not captured by lambda and therefore should be separately handled in DPC++ FE

• Communicate to DPC++ RT which kernel argument should be used for passing a buffer with specialization constant values when they are emulated.

DPC++ FE provides implementation of __builtin_sycl_unique_id built-in function and it also populates special integration footer with the content required by DPC++ RT for access to right device image properties describing specialization constants.

#### SYCL Kernel function transformations¶

kernel_handler is defined by SYCL 2020 specification as interface for retrieving specialization constant values in SYCL kernel functions, but it actually used only in emulation mode: since native specialization constant are directly lowered into corresponding SPIR-V instructions, no additional handling is needed. However, in order to get a value of a specialization constant which was passed through a buffer, we need to have a pointer to that buffer: as it is shown in DPC++ Headers section of the document, pointer to that buffer is stored within kernel_handler object and passed to __sycl_get*2020SpecConstantValue function.

According to the compiler design, DPC++ FE wraps SYCL kernel functions into OpenCL kernels and when kernel_handler object is passed as an argument to SYCL kernel function, DPC++ FE should re-create that object within the wrapper function and initialize it from implicitly created OpenCL kernel argument.

Note: that extra kernel_handler object is not needed in every case: for, example it is effectively unused when native specialization constants are supported. However, per our compiler-design, we don’t have per-target information about kernel signatures, which means that kernel signatures must be the same for all targets, i.e. the same between native and emulated specialization constants (JIT vs AOT compilation).

Considering the following input to DPC++ FE:

template <typename KernelName, typename KernelType>
__attribute__((sycl_kernel)) void
kernel_single_task(const KernelType &KernelFunc, kernel_handler kh) {
KernelFunc(kh);
}


It should be transformed into something like this:

__kernel void oclKernel(args_for_lambda_init, ..., specialization_constants_buffer) {
KernelType LocalLambdaClone = { args_for_lambda_init }; // We already do this
kernel_handler LocalKernelHandler;
LocalKernelHandler.__init_specialization_constants_buffer(specialization_constants_buffer);
// for simplicity we could have just used
// kernel_handler LocalKernelHandler = { args_for_kernel_handler_init };
// here, but we assume that kernel_handler might be used for more than just
// accessing specialization constants and therefore there could be other
// initialization parameters which also could be conditional
// Even now we don't need to always initialize the kernel_handler object
// Re-used body of "sycl_kernel" function:
{
LocalLambdaClone(LocalKernelHandler);
}
}


The argument is communicated to DPC++ through regular integration header mechanism, i.e. it is added as new entry to kernel_signatures structure there with parameter kind set to a new enumeration value kernel_param_kind_t::kind_specialization_constants_buffer.

#### __builtin_sycl_unique_id¶

This built-in is used to generate unique identifiers for specialization constants, which are used in communication between the compiler and the runtime.

__builtin_sycl_unique_id is defined as follows: it accepts a variable and returns a C-string (const char *), which:

• if the input variable has external linkage, the string must be the same in all translation units that pass this same variable to the built-in.

• if the input variable has internal linkage, the string must be unique across all translation units.

• return string must be the same if the built-in was called twice for the same variable within a single translation unit (regardless of its linkage type).

### DPC++ runtime¶

For each device binary compiler generates a map <Symbolic ID> => <list of spec constant descriptors> (“ID map”). DPC++ runtime imports that map when loading device binaries. It also maintains another map <Symbolic ID> => <its value> (“value map”) per sycl::kernel_bundle object. The value map is updated upon kernel_bundler::set_specialization_constant<ID>(val) and handler::set_specialization_constant<ID>(val) calls from the app.

In order for runtime to access the right property, it need to compute the symbolic ID of a specialization constant based on user-provided inputs, such as non-type template argument passed to set_specialization_constant argument. DPC++ Headers section describes how symbolic IDs are generated and the same trick is used within set_specialization_constant method:

template<auto& SpecName>
void set_specialization_constant(
typename std::remove_reference_t<decltype(SpecName)>::type value) {
const char *SymbolicID = detail::get_spec_constant_symbolic_ID<SpecName>();
// remember the value of the specialization constant
SpecConstantValuesMap[SymbolicID] = value;
}


Before invoking JIT compilation of a program, the runtime “flushes” specialization constants:

If native specialization constants are supported by the target device, the runtime iterates through the value map and invokes

pi_result piextProgramSetSpecializationConstant(pi_program prog,
pi_uint32 spec_id,
size_t spec_size,
const void *spec_value);


Plugin Interface function for descriptor of each property: spec_id and spec_size are taken from the descriptor, spec_value is calculated based on address of the specialization constant provided by user and offset field of the descriptor as (char*)(SpecConstantValuesMap[SymbolicID]) + offset.

That calculation is required, because at SPIR-V level composite specialization constants are respresented by several specialization constants for each element of a composite, whilst on a SYCL level, the whole composite is passed by user as a single blob of data. offset field from properties is used to specify which exact piece of that blob should be extracted to perform per-element composite specialization constant initialization.

If native specialization constants are not supported by the target device, then the runtime calculates the location (offset) of each specialization constant in corresponding runtime buffer and copied user-provided value into that location.

That buffer should be allocated for each device_image and it should be set as a kernel argument, if corresponding kernel_signature contains kernel_param_kind_t::kind_specialization_constants_buffer.

Offsets into that buffer are calculated based on “SYCL/specialization constants” property set, i.e. all properties from there are sorted in ascending order of their numeric IDs and offset for each specialization constant is calculated as sum of sizes of all other specialization constants with smaller numeric ID.

In order to properly set default values of specialization constants, “SYCL/specialization constants default values” property set is used: its content is used to either fully or partially initialize the buffer with specialization constant values.

DPC++ RT needs to have access to a mapping between specialization_id variables and corresponding unique symbolic IDs used by the compiler. As already stated above, we use integration footer for that by providing template specializations of get_spec_constant_symbolic_ID function template.

The tricky thing here, is that C++ specification states the following:

Specialization must be declared before the first use that would cause implicit instantiation, in every translation unit where such use occurs.

cppreference

That means that all users of get_spec_constant_symbolic_ID has to appear after we defined all get_spec_constant_symbolic_ID template specializations.

sycl/detail/spec_const/integration.hpp header file is intended to be a location for such methods/classes/functions.

### SPIRV-LLVM-Translator¶

Given the __spirv_SpecConstant intrinsic calls produced by the SpecConstants pass:

; Function Attrs: alwaysinline
define dso_local spir_func i32 @get() local_unnamed_addr #0 {
; args are "ID" and "default value":
%1 = tail call spir_func i32 @_Z20__spirv_SpecConstantii(i32 42, i32 0)
ret i32 %1
}

%struct.A = type { i32, float }

; Function Attrs: alwaysinline
define dso_local spir_func void @get2(%struct.A* sret %ret.ptr) local_unnamed_addr #0 {
; args are "ID" and "default value":
%1 = tail call spir_func i32 @_Z20__spirv_SpecConstantii(i32 43, i32 0)
%2 = tail call spir_func float @_Z20__spirv_SpecConstantif(i32 44, float 0.000000e+00)
%ret = tail call spir_func %struct.A @_Z29__spirv_SpecConstantCompositeif(%1, %2)
store %struct.A %ret, %struct.A* %ret.ptr
ret void
}


the translator will generate OpSpecConstant SPIR-V instructions with proper SpecId decorations:

              OpDecorate %i32 SpecId 42 ; ID
%i32 = OpSpecConstant %int 0     ; Default value
OpDecorate %A.i32 SpecId 43                          ; ID of the 1st member
OpDecorate %A.float SpecId 44                        ; ID of the 2nd member
%A.i32 = OpSpecConstant %int.type 0                           ; 1st member with default value
%A.float = OpSpecConstant %float.type 0.0                       ; 2nd member with default value
%struct = OpSpecConstantComposite %struct.type %A.i32 %A.float ; Composite doens't need IDs or default value
%1 = OpTypeFunction %int

%get = OpFunction %int None %1
%2 = OpLabel
OpReturnValue %i32
OpFunctionEnd
%1 = OpTypeFunction %struct.type

%get2 = OpFunction %struct.type None %struct
%2 = OpLabel
OpReturnValue %struct
OpFunctionEnd