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SSSE3 (Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extension 3) is Intel's name for the SSE instruction set's fourth iteration. 16 new instructions, also available as MMX-extension with _m64 intrinsic datatype. SSSE3 was introduced in Intel's Core Microarchitecture. SSSE3-intrinsic functions are available in Visual C [1] or Intel-C [2] .

SSSE3 instructions are not available for AMD processors until Bulldozer, which also implements SSE4 and AVX.


Some of the new instructions are quite interesting for computer chess, with applications in evaluation and byte shuffling of bitboards.


Packed Horizontal Add/Subtract Words. Each of the eight shorts integers is the sum/difference between adjacent pairs of elements in the input parameters. Saturating versions, PHADDSW and PHSUBSW, are also available.

The primary downside of these instructions is that they tend to be very slow multiple-uop instructions on most CPUs, resulting in alternate instruction sequences almost always being faster.


_m128i _mm_hadd_epi16 (_m128i a, _m128i b);


signed short a[ 8]; // input a
signed short b[ 8]; // input b
signed short r[ 8]; // output r
for (i=0; i < 4; i++) {
   r[  i] = a[2i] + a[2i+1];
   r[4+i] = b[2i] + b[2i+1];


Packed Multiply and Add a vector of 16 unsigned bytes (char) with a vector of 16 signed bytes (not commutative! [3] ). Two consecutive products are added and the saturated signed 16-bit results are stored as vector of eight signed shorts.


_m128i _mm_maddubs_epi16 (_m128i a, _m128i b);


unsigned char  a[16]; // input a
signed   char  b[16]; // input b
signed   short r[ 8]; // output r
for (i=0; i < 8; i++)
   r[i] = SATURATE_16(a[2i]*b[2i] + a[2i+1] * b[2i+1]);


Packed Multiply High with Round and Scale is an instruction designed for fixed-point math. It is similar to the existing pmulhw, but only shifts right by 15 instead of 16, and adds a factor for correct rounding.


_m128i _mm_mulhrs_epi16 (_m128i a, _m128i b);


signed short a[8]; // input a
signed short b[8]; // input b
signed short r[8]; // output r
for (i=0; i < 8; i++)
   r[i] = INT16((a[i]*b[i] + 0x4000) >> 15);


Packed Shuffle Bytes is a very powerful instruction that can perform a fast arbitrary byte-shuffle of a register. It can also set some output bytes to zero instead of selecting them from the input. Packed Shuffle Bytes is used inside the SSSE3 Version of Hyperbola Quintessence to perform byte swaps. There might be some other interesting applications too, such as Population Count [4] . VPPERM from XOP is an even more powerful variant on this instruction.


_m128i _mm_shuffle_epi8 (_m128i a, _m128i b);


char a[16]; // input a
char b[16]; // input b
char r[16]; // output r
for (i=0; i < 16; i++)
   r[i] = (b[i] < 0) ? 0 : a[b[i] % 16];


Multiplies each element of one vector with the sign function {-1,0,1} of the second vector. The instruction is available for signed bytes (8-bit char psignb), signed words (16-bit short psignw) and double words (32-bit int psignd). If both input operands are equal, the result is a vector of absolute values, though PABS is probably preferred for this purpose.


_m128i _mm_sign_epi8 (_m128i a, _m128i b);
_m128i _mm_sign_epi16 (_m128i a, _m128i b);
_m128i _mm_sign_epi32 (_m128i a, _m128i b);


/* type := {char, short, int}, N = {16, 8, 4} */
#define N (sizeof(__m128i)/sizeof(type))
type a[N]; // input a
type b[N]; // input b
type r[N]; // output r
for (i=0; i < N; i++)
   r[i] = (b[i] < 0) ? -a[i] : ((b[i] == 0) ? 0 : a[i])


Byte-wise Dot-Product

This SSSE3-dot-product multiplies a vector of 64 unsigned chars with a vector of 64 signed char, and adds all 64 intermediate signed 16-bit products with saturation. It uses the pmaddubsw and phaddsw SSSE3 instructions, in total 11 SSE instructions.
int dotProduct(unsigned char features[], char weights[] /* XMM_ALIGN */) {
   __m128i r0, r1, r2, r3;
   __m128i* a = (__m128i*) features;
   __m128i* b = (__m128i*) weights;
   r0 = _mm_maddubs_epi16 (a[0], b[0]);
   r1 = _mm_maddubs_epi16 (a[1], b[1]);
   r2 = _mm_maddubs_epi16 (a[2], b[2]);
   r3 = _mm_maddubs_epi16 (a[3], b[3]);
   r0 = _mm_adds_epi16    (r0, r1);
   r2 = _mm_adds_epi16    (r2, r3);
   r0 = _mm_adds_epi16    (r0, r2); // 8 shorts
   r0 = _mm_hadds_epi16   (r0, r0); // 4 shorts
   r0 = _mm_hadds_epi16   (r0, r0); // 2 shorts
   r0 = _mm_hadds_epi16   (r0, r0); // 1 final short
   short s = (short)_mm_extract_epi16(r0, 0);
   return (int) s; // sign extended

SSSE3 Hyperbola Quintessence

Following routine calculates bishop attacks performing the Hyperbola Quintessence. Both anti-diagonal and diagonal attacks are processed in parallel, using both halves of a 128-bit xmm register and pre-calculated arrays of bitboard pairs for line-masks, single- and eventually reversed bits. PSHUFB is used to swap bytes inside a bitboard [5] .

Intrinsic Version

__m128i diaAntiMaskXMM[64]; // 1 KByte  antidiag : diagonal, excluding square
__m128i singleBitsXMM [64]; // 1 KByte    1<<sq  : 1<<sq
__m128i swapMaskXMM; // needs to be initialized to swap the bytes in both quad-words
// SSSE3 Hyperbola Quintessence
U64 bishopAttacks(U64 occ, enumSquare sq) {
   __m128i o, r, m, b, s;
   m = diaAntiMaskXMM[sq];         // antidiag : diagonal, excluding square
   b = singleBitsXMM [sq];         // bishop bits, equal qwords
   s = swapMaskXMM;
   o = _mm_cvtsi64x_si128  (occ) ; // general purpose 64 bit to xmm low qword
   o = _mm_unpacklo_epi64  (o, o); // occ : occ
   o = _mm_and_si128       (o, m); // o (antidiag : diagonal)
   r = _mm_shuffle_epi8    (o, s); // o'(antidiag : diagonal)
   o = _mm_sub_epi64       (o, b); // o - bishop
   b = _mm_shuffle_epi8    (b, s); // bishop', one may also use singleBitsXMM [sq^56]
   r = _mm_sub_epi64       (r, b); // o'- bishop'
   r = _mm_shuffle_epi8    (r, s); // re-reverse
   o = _mm_xor_si128       (o, r); // attacks
   o = _mm_and_si128       (o, m); // antidiag : diagonal
   r = _mm_unpackhi_epi64  (o, o); // antidiag : antidiag
   o = _mm_add_epi64       (o, r); // diagonal + antidiag
   return _mm_cvtsi128_si64(o);    // convert xmm to general purpose 64 bit

Peshkov's Optimization

The pioneer of Hyperbola Quintessence, Aleks Peshkov, applies a more sophisticated, optimized C++ approach, further utilizing disjoint ray-attacks, and xor instruction is own inverse and distributive over mirroring or flipping. Once per node he instantiates an occupied object based on a type-safe curiously recurring template pattern aka the Barton–Nackman trick to encapsulate the SSE intrinsic data types, to keep a twin of normal and flipped occupancy as base for further file-, diagonal or anti-diagonal attack generations, which then requires only one final shuffle per piece attack getter, whether it is a bishop or even a queen.

class Occupied : public BitSet<Occupied, char_x16_t> {
    typedef BitSet<Occupied, char_x16_t> Base;
    struct Mask {
        value_type singleton;
        value_type file;
        value_type diagonal;
        value_type antidiag;
        Mask operator () (Square);
    typedef Square::const_array<Mask, Mask> CACHE_ALIGN AttackMask;
    static const AttackMask mask;
    struct Shuffle {
        value_type hyperbola;
        value_type flipShift;
        Shuffle ();
    static const Shuffle shuffle;
    static BitBoard bitboard(value_type value) {
        return BitBoard(static_cast<BitBoard::value_type>(_mm_cvtsi128_si64(value)));
    static BitBoard hyperbola(value_type value) {
        value_type reverse = _mm_shuffle_epi8(value, shuffle.hyperbola);
        return bitboard(value ^ reverse); //xor is principal here
    INLINE BitBoard bishopAttack(Square from) const {
        value_type d = value;
        value_type a = value;
        d &= mask[from].diagonal;
        a &= mask[from].antidiag;
        d = _mm_sub_epi64(d, mask[from].singleton);
        a = _mm_sub_epi64(a, mask[from].singleton);
        d &= mask[from].diagonal;
        a &= mask[from].antidiag;
        return hyperbola(d ^ a);
    Occupied (const BitBoard& myB, const BitBoard& opB) {
        value_type my = _mm_cvtsi64_si128(reinterpret_cast<const U64&>(myB));
        value_type op = _mm_cvtsi64_si128(reinterpret_cast<const U64&>(opB));
        op = _mm_shuffle_epi8(op, shuffle.flipShift);
        assert (Occupied(my & op) == empty()); //no intersection
        this->value = my ^ op;

See also

External Links


  1. ^ Supplemental Streaming SIMD Extensions 3 Instructions
  2. ^ Intel C++ Compiler for Linux Intrinsics Reference (pdf)
  3. ^ fixing SSSE3 pmaddubsw description from the mail archive of the gcc-patches@gcc.gnu.org mailing list for the GCC project
  4. ^ SSSE3: fast popcount by Wojciech Muła » Population Count
  5. ^ Re: Plain and fancy magic on modern hardware by Robert Purves, CCC, August 23, 2010

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