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SubjectRe: [patch] cpufreq: mark cpufreq_tsc() as core_initcall_sync
On Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 03:40:50PM -0500, Alan Stern wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Nov 2006, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
>
> > On Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 12:56:21PM -0500, Alan Stern wrote:
> > > Here's another potential problem with the fast path approach. It's not
> > > very serious, but you might want to keep it in mind.
> > >
> > > The idea is that a reader can start up on one CPU and finish on another,
> > > and a writer might see the finish event but not the start event. For
> > > example:
> ...
> > > This requires two context switches to take place while the cpu loop in
> > > srcu_readers_active_idx() runs, so perhaps it isn't realistic. Is it
> > > worth worrying about?
> >
> > Thank you -very- -much- for finding the basis behind my paranoia!
> > I guess my intuition is still in good working order. ;-)
>
> Are you sure _this_ was the basis behind your paranoia? Maybe it had
> something else in mind... :-)

OK, I stand corrected, you found -one- basis for my paranoia. There might
indeed be others. However, only -one- counter-example is required to
invalidate a proposed algorithm. ;-)

> > It might be unlikely, but that makes it even worse -- a strange memory
> > corruption problem that happens only under heavy load, and even then only
> > sometimes. No thank you!!!
> >
> > I suspect that this affects Jens as well, though I don't claim to
> > completely understand his usage.
> >
> > One approach to get around this would be for the the "idx" returned from
> > srcu_read_lock() to keep track of the CPU as well as the index within
> > the CPU. This would require atomic_inc()/atomic_dec() on the fast path,
> > but would not add much to the overhead on x86 because the smp_mb() imposes
> > an atomic operation anyway. There would be little cache thrashing in the
> > case where there is no preemption -- but if the readers almost always sleep,
> > and where it is common for the srcu_read_unlock() to run on a different CPU
> > than the srcu_read_lock(), then the additional cache thrashing could add
> > significant overhead.
> >
> > Thoughts?
>
> I don't like the thought of extra overhead from cache thrashing. Also it
> seems silly to allocate per-cpu data and then write to another CPU's
> element.

I am concerned about this as well, and am beginning to suspect that I
need to make a special-purpose primitive specifically for Jens that he
can include with his code.

That said, some potential advantages of per-CPU elements that might see
cache thrashing are:

1. the cross-CPU references might be rare.

2. memory contention is reduced compared to a single variable that
all CPUs are modifying.

Unfortunately, #1 seems unlikely in Jens's case -- why would the completion
be so lucky as to show up on the same CPU as did the request most of the
time? #2 could be important in I/O heavy workloads with fast devices.

> How about making srcu_readers_active_idx() so fast that there isn't time
> for 2 context switches? Disabling interrupts ought to be good enough
> (except in virtualized environments perhaps).

NMIs? ECC errors? Cache misses? And, as you say, virtualized
environments.

Thanx, Paul
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