RE: [Linux-ia64] Re: web page on O(1) scheduler

From: Davide Libenzi <>
Date: 2003-05-24 15:38:44
On Fri, 23 May 2003, Boehm, Hans wrote:

> Thanks for the pointer.  In the statically linked case, I get 200/568/345
> for custom/pthread_mutex/pthread_spin.
> I agree that this is not a fair comparison.  That was my point.  An implementation
> with custom yield/sleep
> code can do things that you can't do with blocking pthreads primitives at the
> same performance.  (Of course pthreads_mutex_lock will win in other cases.)
> Please forget about the abort() in the contention case.  I put that there for
> brevity since it is not exercised by the test.  The intent was to time the
> noncontention performance of a custom lock that first spins, then yields,
> and then sleeps, as was stated in the comment.
> You are forgetting two issues in your analysis of what pthreads is/should be doing
> relative to the spin-lock-like code:
> 1) The unlock code is different.  If you potentially do a waitforunlocks()
> in the locking code, you need to at least check whether the corresponding
> notification is necessary when you unlock().  For NPTL that requires another
> atomic operation, and hence another dozen to a couple of hundred cycles,
> depending on the processor.  You need to look at both the lock and unlock
> code.

That code was completely independent by what pthread might do. I didn't
look at the code but I think the new pthread uses futexes for mutexes.
The code wanted only to show that a mutex lock does more than a spinlock.
And this "more" is amplified by your tight loop.

> 2) (I hadn't mentioned this before.) The (standard interpretation of)
> the memory barrier semantics of the pthreads primitives is too strong.
> Arguably they need to be full memory barriers in both directions.
> The pthread_spin_lock code inserts an extra full
> memory barrier on IA64 as a result, instead of just
> using the acquire barrier associated with the cmpxchg.acq instruction.
> (I think the spin unlock code doesn't do this.  One could argue that that's a bug,
> though I would argue that the bug is really  in the pthreads spec.)

You need a write memory barrier even on the unlock. Consider this :

	spinlock = 1;
	protected_resource = NEWVAL;
	spinlock = 0;

( where spinlock = 0/1 strip down, but do not lose the concept, the lock
operation ). If a CPU reorder those writes, another CPU might see the lock
drop before the protected resource assignment. And this is usually bad
for obvious reasons.

- Davide
Received on Fri May 23 22:39:24 2003

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