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    SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/3] 64-bit futexes: Intro
    On Thu, Jun 05, 2008 at 08:37:19PM -0700, Linus Torvalds wrote:
    > On Fri, 6 Jun 2008, Nick Piggin wrote:
    > >
    > > What you *could* maybe do, to slightly speed up the reader fastpath, at
    > > the expense of the writer fastpath, is to also have the active writer add
    > > 4 to the count too, so your unlock can start with a lock xadd -4, count
    > > in order to get the write-intent on the cacheline straight up.
    > Yes, nice idea. It avoids the possible unnecessary S->M transition, but
    > the downside is that it effectively slows down the write unlock by making
    > it do two atomic ops even for the fastpath. So if I were to _only_ care
    > about the reader path, I think it would be a great idea, but as it is, the
    > current non-contended write case is actually pretty close to optimal, and
    > doing the unconditional xaddl on the unlock path would slow that one down.

    Yeah, it is a case of a large slowdown for write for a small speedup
    for read (pity the API doesn't have explicit read and write unlocks
    -- were they too lazy to type the last bit, or did they expect people
    to lose track of whether they had a read or write lock? :P)

    Anyway, it's obviously a tradeoff you'd just have to carefully
    benchmark in real situations.

    > > I'd be more interested to know why this code can't be evolved into a full
    > > rwlock implementation? This is a rather standard (though neat) looking rwlock
    > > -- so my question is what can the patented 64-bit futex locks do that this
    > > can't, or what can they do faster?
    > Quite frankly - and this was my argument the whole time - I do not believe

    > consider things like timeouts etc. Timeouts are "hard" to handle because
    > they mean that you cannot use any kind of trivially incrementing "ticket
    > locks" with sequence numbers (because we may have to just avoid a sequence
    > if it times out), so the sequence number approach that we now use for
    > kernel spinlocks was not an option. I didn't actually *write* the timeout
    > versions, of course, but given the structure of the locks they really
    > should be very straightforward.
    > [ Half-way subtle thing: a writer that times out needs to be very careful
    > that it doesn't lose a wakeup event, but futexes actually make that part
    > pretty easy - since FUTEX_WAIT returns whether you got woken up or not,
    > you can just decide to wake up the next write-waiter if you cannot get
    > the lock immediately and have to exit due to a timeout. ]
    > But I really haven't tested my rwlocks very exhaustively, and I did not
    > verify that they actualyl scale with lots of CPU's, for example. I
    > literally only have dual-core CPU's in use at home, right now, nothing
    > fancier. Somebody with dual-socket quads would be a lot better off, and
    > the more the merrier, of course.

    Well... a single lock is only going to be so scalable. I don't see how
    it could be done really significantly better? Maybe a small factor of
    improvement if you were to concentrate on the contended case (but you
    wouldn't want to do that anyway)

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