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Subject[PATCH 0/5] lib/sort & lib/list_sort: faster and smaller
Because CONFIG_RETPOLINE has made indirect calls much more expensive,
I thought I'd try to reduce the number made by the library sort

The first three patches apply to lib/sort.c.

Patch #1 is a simple optimization. The built-in swap has rarely-used
special cases for aligned 4- and 8-byte objects. But that case almost
never happens; most calls to sort() work on larger structures, which
fall back to the byte-at-a-time loop. This generalizes them to aligned
*multiples* of 4 and 8 bytes. (If nothing else, it saves an awful lot
of energy by not thrashing the store buffers as much.)

(Issue for disussion: should the special-case swap loops be reduced to
two, an aligned-word and generic byte verison?)

Patch #2 grabs a juicy piece of low-hanging fruit. I agree that
nice simple solid heapsort is preferable to more complex algorithms
(sorry, Andrey), but it's possible to implement heapsort with 40% fewer
comparisons than the way it's been done up to now. And with some care,
the code ends up smaller, as well. This is the "big win" patch.

Patch #3 adds the same sort of indirect call bypass that has been added
to the net code of late. The great majority of the callers use the
builtin swap functions, so replace the indirect call to sort_func with a
(highly preditable) series of if() statements. Rather surprisingly,
this decreased code size, as the swap functions were inlined and their
prologue & epilogue code eliminated.

lib/list_sort.c is a bit trickier, as merge sort is already close to
optimal, and we don't want to introduce triumphs of theory over
practicality like the Ford-Johnson merge-insertion sort.

Patch #4, without changing the algorithm, chops 32% off the code size and
removes the part[MAX_LIST_LENGTH+1] pointer array (and the corresponding
upper limit on efficiently sortable input size).

Patch #5 improves the algorithm. The previous code is already optimal
for power-of-two (or slightly smaller) size inputs, but when the input
size is just over a power of 2, there's a very unbalanced final merge.

There are, in the literature, several algorithms which solve this, but
they all depend on the "breadth-first" merge order which was replaced
by commit 835cc0c8477f with a more cache-friendly "depth-first" order.
Some hard thinking came up with a depth-first algorithm which defers
merges as little as possible while avoiding bad merges. This saves
0.2*n compares, averaged over all sizes.

The code size increase is minimal (80 bytes on x86-64, reducing the net
savings to 24%), but the comments expanded significantly to document
the clever algorithm.

TESTING NOTES: I have some ugly user-space benchmarking code
which I used for testing before moving this code into the kernel.
Shout if you want a copy.

I'm running this code right now, with CONFIG_TEST_SORT and
CONFIG_TEST_LIST_SORT, but I confess I haven't rebooted since
the last round of minor edits to quell checkpatch. I figure there
will be at least one round of comments and final testing.

George Spelvin (5):
lib/sort: Make swap functions more generic
lib/sort: Use more efficient bottom-up heapsort variant
lib/sort: Avoid indirect calls to built-in swap
lib/list_sort: Simplify and remove MAX_LIST_LENGTH_BITS
lib/list_sort: Optimize number of calls to comparison function

include/linux/list_sort.h | 1 +
lib/list_sort.c | 225 ++++++++++++++++++++++++----------
lib/sort.c | 250 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++--------
3 files changed, 365 insertions(+), 111 deletions(-)


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