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The meaning of «avx-512»

AVX-512 are 512-bit extensions to the 256-bit Advanced Vector Extensions SIMD instructions for x86 instruction set architecture (ISA) proposed by Intel in July 2013, and implemented in Intel's Xeon Phi x200 (Knights Landing)[1] and Skylake-X CPUs; this includes the Core-X series (excluding the Core i5-7640X and Core i7-7740X), as well as the new Xeon Scalable Processor Family and Xeon D-2100 Embedded Series.[2]

AVX-512 is not the first 512-bit SIMD instruction set that Intel has introduced in processors: the earlier 512-bit SIMD instructions used in the first generation Xeon Phi coprocessors, derived from Intel's Larrabee project, are similar but not binary compatible and only partially source compatible.[1]

AVX-512 consists of multiple extensions that may be implemented independently. This policy is a departure from the historical requirement of implementing the entire instruction block. Only the core extension AVX-512F (AVX-512 Foundation) is required by all AVX-512 implementations.

The AVX-512 instruction set consists of several separate sets each having their own unique CPUID feature bit; however, they are typically grouped by the processor generation that implements them.

The VEX prefix used by AVX and AVX2, while flexible, did not leave enough room for the features Intel wanted to add to AVX-512. This has led them to define a new prefix called EVEX.

Compared to VEX, EVEX adds the following benefits:[6]

The extended registers, SIMD width bit, and opmask registers of AVX-512 are mandatory and all require support from the OS.

The AVX-512 instructions are designed to mix with 128/256-bit AVX/AVX2 instructions without a performance penalty. However, AVX-512VL extensions allows the use of AVX-512 instructions on 128/256-bit registers XMM/YMM, so most SSE and AVX/AVX2 instructions have new AVX-512 versions encoded with the EVEX prefix which allow access to new features such as opmask and additional registers. Unlike AVX-256, the new instructions do not have new mnemonics but share namespace with AVX, making the distinction between VEX and EVEX encoded versions of an instruction ambiguous in the source code. Since AVX-512F only works on 32- and 64-bit values, SSE and AVX/AVX2 instructions that operate on bytes or words are available only with the AVX-512BW extension (Byte & Word support).[6]

The width of the SIMD register file is increased from 256 bits to 512 bits, and expanded from 16 to a total of 32 registers ZMM0-ZMM31. These registers can be addressed as 256 bit YMM registers from AVX extensions and 128-bit XMM registers from Streaming SIMD Extensions, and legacy AVX and SSE instructions can be extended to operate on the 16 additional registers XMM16-XMM31 and YMM16-YMM31 when using EVEX encoded form.

Most AVX-512 instructions may indicate one of 8 opmask registers (k0–k7). For instructions which use a mask register as an opmask, register `k0` is special: a hardcoded constant used to indicate unmasked operations. For other operations, such as those that write to an opmask register or perform arithmetic or logical operations, `k0` is a functioning, valid register. In most instructions, the opmask is used to control which values are written to the destination. A flag controls the opmask behavior, which can either be "zero", which zeros everything not selected by the mask, or "merge", which leaves everything not selected untouched. The merge behavior is identical to the blend instructions.

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