Using Pragma For Compile Optimization


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Using Pragma For Compile Optimization

  • Adjust compile settings without access to command line.
  • Not all command line compile flags can be replicated.


  • Ideally, set march=native in pragma but this does not work.
  • Use instruction targets for "haswell" or "core-avx2".

The bare minimum:

#pragma GCC optimize("O3,inline")
#pragma GCC target("bmi,bmi2,lzcnt,popcnt")

I would personally recommend adding SIMD as well. The compiler can use it even if you don't code the instructions yourself:

#pragma GCC target("avx,avx2,f16c,fma,sse3,ssse3,sse4.1,sse4.2") // SIMD

Pick whichever you prefer but at least "O3,inline" to get close to native:

#pragma GCC optimize("O3,inline")             // "inline" won't happen without it
#pragma GCC optimize("O3,fast-math,inline")   // "fast-math" helps auto-vectorize loops
#pragma GCC optimize("Ofast,inline")          // "Ofast" = "O3,fast-math,allow-store-data-races,no-protect-parens"

Finally, hint to GLIBCXX to run faster:

#undef _GLIBCXX_DEBUG // disable run-time bound checking, etc

Full example:

#undef _GLIBCXX_DEBUG                // disable run-time bound checking, etc
#pragma GCC optimize("Ofast,inline") // Ofast = O3,fast-math,allow-store-data-races,no-protect-parens

#pragma GCC target("bmi,bmi2,lzcnt,popcnt")                      // bit manipulation
#pragma GCC target("movbe")                                      // byte swap
#pragma GCC target("aes,pclmul,rdrnd")                           // encryption
#pragma GCC target("avx,avx2,f16c,fma,sse3,ssse3,sse4.1,sse4.2") // SIMD

// Caution! Include headers *after* compile options.
#include <iostream> 
#include <string>
#include <vector>
#include <algorithm>

using namespace std;


  • How to detect if options are working?
  • CodinGame does not allow inspection of compiled binary.
  • Compiler Explorer at
  • Compile settings basically the same as CodinGame (notice the lack of march=native):
gcc-10 -g -std=c++17 -lm -lpthread -ldl -lcrypt

#pragma GCC target("lzcnt")

Try to compile this snippet (with and without pragma):

#pragma GCC optimize("O1")
// #pragma GCC target("lzcnt")

int leading_zeros(unsigned x) // count leading 0-bits
    return __builtin_clz(x); // LZCNT

We expect to see LZCNT in the assembly instructions:

leading_zeros(unsigned int):
        xor     eax, eax
        lzcnt   eax, edi

It should NOT look like this:

leading_zeros(unsigned int):
        bsr     eax, edi
        xor     eax, 31

#pragma GCC optimize("inline")


#pragma GCC optimize("O1")
// #pragma GCC optimize("inline")

int foo() { return 12; }
int bar() { return foo(); }


        mov     eax, 12
        mov     eax, 12


        mov     eax, 12
        call    foo()

Compiling at home

  • You may want to compile offline using same source file.
  • Pragma options for Haswell may be wrong for your home computer.
  • Be sure to set march=native on command line.

Detect march=native

  • GCC will use generic CPU type if not set.
  • Generic CPU machine lacks many x86 instructions (POPCNT, etc).
  • Test for POPCNT to detect if march=native is already set.
#ifndef __POPCNT__

// compile options so CodinGame can behave more like native compile


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