[eigen] Vectorization for general use

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I maintain an open source program that uses Eigen.  The vast majority of my users do not compile the program, instead downloading a pre-compiled binary from our website.  About 80% are on Windows, 10% on Mac and 10% on Linux.  I only provide X86 builds, 32 and 64-bit on Windows, 64-bit only on Mac and Linux.  We may eliminate the 32-bit Windows build soon.

Historically, I have compiled with no special flags enabling vectorization options for the CPU.  I would like to pursue this as I expect it will unlock some nice performance gains.  However, I'd like to keep things simple and compatible for users.

What happens when someone runs a program compiled with vectorization when their CPU does not support it?  If it fails, how graceful is the failure?

Is there a standard approach to identify the capabilities of a given machine?  I could add that to my program and survey users before making a change...  Would such code still run on a machine that was in the process of failing due to not having support for the built in vectorization?  I.e. if it is crashing, can we send a message as to why we're going down?

Is there a graceful way to support multiple options?

Any tips from other broad use applications is greatly appreciated.


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