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SubjectRe: [ltt-dev] [RFC git tree] Userspace RCU (urcu) for Linux (repost)
On Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 01:54:11PM -0500, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
> * Linus Torvalds ( wrote:
> >
> >
> > Btw, for user space, if you want to do this all right for something like
> > BF. I think the only _correct_ thing to do (in the sense that the end
> > result will actually be debuggable) is to essentially give full SMP
> > coherency in user space.
> >
> > It's doable, but rather complicated, and I'm not 100% sure it really ends
> > up making sense. The way to do it is to just simply say:
> >
> > - never map the same page writably on two different cores, and always
> > flush the cache (on the receiving side) when you switch a page from one
> > core to another.
> >
> > Now, the kernel can't really do that reasonably, but user space possibly could.
> >
> > Now, I realize that blackfin doesn't actually even have a MMU or a TLB, so
> > by "mapping the same page" in that case we end up really meaning "having a
> > shared mapping or thread". I think that _should_ be doable. The most
> > trivial approach might be to simply limit all processes with shared
> > mappings or CLONE_VM to core 0, and letting core 1 run everything else
> > (but you could do it differently: mapping something with MAP_SHARED would
> > force you to core 0, but threads would just force the thread group to
> > stay on _one_ core, rather than necessarily a fixed one).
> >
> > Yeah, because of the lack of real memory protection, the kernel can't
> > _know_ that processes don't behave badly and access things that they
> > didn't explicitly map, but I'm hoping that that is rare.
> >
> > And yes, if you really want to use threads as a way to do something
> > across cores, you'd be screwed - the kenrel would only schedule the
> > threads on one CPU. But considering the undefined nature of threading on
> > such a cpu, wouldn't that still be preferable? Wouldn't it be nice to have
> > the knowledge that user space _looks_ cache-coherent by virtue of the
> > kernel just limiting cores appropriately?
> >
> > And then user space would simply not need to worry as much. Code written
> > for another architecture will "just work" on BF SMP too. With the normal
> > uclinux limitations, of course.
> >
> > Linus
> >
> I don't know enough about BF to tell for sure, but the other way around
> I see that would still permit running threads with shared memory space
> on different CPUs is to call a cache flush each time a userspace lock is
> taken/released (at the synchronization points where the "magic
> test-and-set instruction" is used) _from_ userspace.
> If some more elaborate userspace MT code uses something else than those
> basic locks provided by core libraries to synchronize data exchange,
> then it would be on its own and have to ensure cache flushing itself.

How about just doing a sched_setaffinity() in the BF case? Sounds
like an easy way to implement Linus's suggestion of restricting the
multithreaded processes to a single core. I have a hard time losing
sleep over the lack of parallelism in the case where the SMP support is
at best rudimentary...

> And yes, that would be incredibly costly/slow. This is why RCU-style
> reader-sides are good : they have much more relaxed synchronization
> constraints.
> I am just thinking that the single-process to a single core solution you
> propose above will be somewhat limiting if we end up with a 64-cores
> non-cache-coherent architecture. They tend to be especially used for
> stuff like video decoding, which is very easy to parallelize when shared
> memory is available. But I guess we are not there yet.

If someone invests the silicon for 64 cores, but doesn't provide some
semblance of cache coherence, I have to question their sanity. As a
kludgey quick fix to get to a dual-proc solution I can understand it,
but there is a limit! ;-)

Thanx, Paul

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