I have the following method for multiplying two polynomials in GF(232):

#include <iostream>
#include <cassert>
#include <ctime>
#include <random>
#include <wmmintrin.h>

typedef unsigned short uint16_t;
typedef unsigned int uint32_t;

unsigned get_high16(unsigned x)
    return (x >> 16) & 0xffff;

unsigned get_low16(unsigned x)
    return x & 0xffff;

uint32_t mul_reduce_32(uint32_t x, uint32_t y)
    const __m128i a = _mm_set_epi32(0, 0, 0, x);
    const __m128i b = _mm_set_epi32(0, 0, 0, y);
    const __m128i c =_mm_clmulepi64_si128(a, b, 0);

    uint16_t D = _mm_extract_epi16(c, 2);

    D ^= _mm_extract_epi32(c, 1) >> 31;
    D ^= _mm_extract_epi32(c, 1) >> 30;
    D ^= _mm_extract_epi32(c, 1) >> 29;
    D ^= _mm_extract_epi32(c, 1) >> 27;
    D ^= _mm_extract_epi32(c, 1) >> 25;

    const uint16_t X3 = _mm_extract_epi16(c, 3);
    const __m128i X3D = _mm_set_epi16(0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, X3, D);

    const uint32_t E = _mm_extract_epi32(X3D, 0) << 7;
    const uint32_t F = _mm_extract_epi32(X3D, 0) << 5;
    const uint32_t G = _mm_extract_epi32(X3D, 0) << 3;
    const uint32_t I = _mm_extract_epi32(X3D, 0) << 2;
    const uint32_t J = _mm_extract_epi32(X3D, 0) << 1;

    const uint16_t H1 = X3 ^ get_high16(E) ^ get_high16(F) ^ get_high16(G) ^ get_high16(I) ^ get_high16(J);
    const uint16_t H0 = D ^ get_low16(E) ^ get_low16(F) ^ get_low16(G) ^ get_low16(I) ^ get_low16(J);

    const uint16_t R1 = _mm_extract_epi16(c, 1) ^ H1;
    const uint16_t R0 = _mm_extract_epi16(c, 0) ^ H0;

    return _mm_extract_epi32(_mm_set_epi16(0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, R1, R0), 0);

The following is a small test program and benchmark for the function.

int main() 
    assert(mul_reduce_32(1, 1) == 1);
    assert(mul_reduce_32(23523, 34651) == 744709325);
    assert(mul_reduce_32(34652346, 5534651) == 1329462203);

    // A little benchmark
    std::mt19937 rng(std::time(0));
    std::uniform_int_distribution<uint32_t> uint_dist10(0, std::numeric_limits<uint32_t>::max());

    const int N = 100000000;
    std::vector<uint32_t> vec1(N, 0);

    std::cout << "mul_reduce_32\n";
    clock_t startTime = clock();

    for(int i = 0; i < N; ++i)
        vec1[i] = mul_reduce_32(rng(), rng());

    std::cout << double( clock() - startTime ) / (double)CLOCKS_PER_SEC << " seconds.\n";

I'm interested in getting more out of mul_reduce_32 in terms of performance. Here are my main concerns:

  1. I'm setting a and b using _mm_set_epi32. Is this even a good idea? I suppose I could have used _mm_load_si128 or _mm_loadu_si128, but the problem seems to be that it doesn't touch the 98 higher bits, and makes those high bits garbage.

  2. Currently, I am using many temporary variables. I could try to help the compiler by removing many of them, but this way the code should be more readable and easier for someone to modify.

  3. I'm using variables of different size -- is this a good idea? I might remember some old wisdom that says I should always just stick to the "most native" unsigned type. Concretely, should I replace say each uint16_t with uint32_t (or even a 64-bit type)?

  4. Should I be mixing __m128i types with unsigned types to begin with? As I understand it, the __m128i types are guaranteed to be mapped to a dedicated register, whereas this is not the case for a uint32_t.

Can you suggest additional optimizations? I'm knowledgeable in C++, but a total newbie with SSE intrinsics.


1 Answer 1


For the time output in main():

  • Use std::clock_t as opposed to clock_t in C++.
  • You could have another variable, endTime, for the ending time.
  • The computed time could also have its own variable, elapsedTime, to be printed.
  • Only the clock time needs to be cast to a double, not the macro as well. You should also use static_cast<>() as this is C++.

Example with changes:

std::clock_t startTime = std::clock();

// ...

std::clock_t endTime = std::clock();

double elapsedTime = static_cast<double>(endTime - startTime) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC;

std::cout << elapsedTime;

But, since you're using C++11, consider utilizing the <chrono> library instead. Unlike <ctime>, it is more C++-oriented but still contains some <ctime> aspects.


  • For std::time, 0 can be replaced with nullptr in C++11.
  • Consider renaming N to something more descriptive. Using a constant in place of a magic number is nice, but you can increase readability by using a better name.
  • Since only your test program uses those first four libraries, they should just be in that file.
  • You don't need those typedefs in your first file; they are already defined in <cstdint>.

Specific questions:

Currently, I am using many temporary variables. I could try to help the compiler by removing many of them, but this way the code should be more readable and easier for someone to modify.

I would rely on the compiler to handle this, as it should be able to optimize them out. But you're right; readability and maintainability are also important. They can always be adjusted accordingly.

You can also maintain these two things by:

  1. avoiding single-character variable names
  2. keeping variables as close in scope as possible

You seem to do well with the second point, but not so much the first. I've already addressed this in the side-notes, but this is a problem throughout the first file. By using more descriptive names, it'll be much easier for others to understand your code and make any needed modifications.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! This is useful, but doesn't really address my main issue of performance with respect to the SSE intrinsics. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gideon
    May 4, 2014 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gideon: I know. On Code Review, users are allowed to review any aspect of the code, even if it's not requested by the OP. Others can still come along and review other aspects, including performance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jamal
    May 4, 2014 at 18:05

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