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SubjectRe: Context switch times
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Linus Torvalds <torvalds@transmeta.com> writes:

> On Thu, 4 Oct 2001, Mike Kravetz wrote:
>
> > On Thu, Oct 04, 2001 at 10:42:37PM +0000, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > > Could we try to hit just two? Probably, but it doesn't really matter,
> > > though: to make the lmbench scheduler benchmark go at full speed, you
> > > want to limit it to _one_ CPU, which is not sensible in real-life
> > > situations.
> >
> > Can you clarify? I agree that tuning the system for the best LMbench
> > performance is not a good thing to do! However, in general on an
> > 8 CPU system with only 2 'active' tasks I would think limiting the
> > tasks to 2 CPUs would be desirable for cache effects.
>
> Yes, limiting to 2 CPU's probably gets better cache behaviour, and it
> might be worth looking into why it doesn't. The CPU affinity _should_
> prioritize it down to two, but I haven't thought through your theory about
> IPI latency.

I don't know what it is but I have seen this excessive cpu switching
in the wild. In particular on a dual processor machine I ran 2 cpu
intensive jobs, and a handful of daemons. And the cpu intensive jobs
would switch cpus every couple of seconds.

I was investigating it because on the Athlon I was running on a
customer was getting a super linear speed up. With one processes it
would take 8 minutes, and with 2 processes one would take 8 minutes
and the other would take 6 minutes. Very strange.

These processes except at their very beginning did no I/O and were
pure cpu hogs until they spit out their results. Very puzzling.
I can't see why we would ever want to take the cache miss penalty of
switching cpus, in this case.

Eric
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