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Subject[PATCH v1 2/2] doc: Update documentation for page_idle virtual address indexing
This patch updates the documentation with the new page_idle tracking
feature which uses virtual address indexing.

Signed-off-by: Joel Fernandes (Google) <>
.../admin-guide/mm/idle_page_tracking.rst | 41 +++++++++++++++----
1 file changed, 34 insertions(+), 7 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/admin-guide/mm/idle_page_tracking.rst b/Documentation/admin-guide/mm/idle_page_tracking.rst
index df9394fb39c2..70d3bf6f1f8c 100644
--- a/Documentation/admin-guide/mm/idle_page_tracking.rst
+++ b/Documentation/admin-guide/mm/idle_page_tracking.rst
@@ -19,10 +19,14 @@ It is enabled by CONFIG_IDLE_PAGE_TRACKING=y.

User API
+There are 2 ways to access the idle page tracking API. One uses physical
+address indexing, another uses a simpler virtual address indexing scheme.

-The idle page tracking API is located at ``/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle``.
-Currently, it consists of the only read-write file,
+Physical address indexing
+The idle page tracking API for physical address indexing using page frame
+numbers (PFN) is located at ``/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle``. Currently, it
+consists of the only read-write file, ``/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap``.

The file implements a bitmap where each bit corresponds to a memory page. The
bitmap is represented by an array of 8-byte integers, and the page at PFN #i is
@@ -74,6 +78,29 @@ See :ref:`Documentation/admin-guide/mm/pagemap.rst <pagemap>` for more
information about ``/proc/pid/pagemap``, ``/proc/kpageflags``, and

+Virtual address indexing
+The idle page tracking API for virtual address indexing using virtual page
+frame numbers (VFN) is located at ``/proc/<pid>/page_idle``. It is a bitmap
+that follows the same semantics as ``/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap``
+except that it uses virtual instead of physical frame numbers.
+This idle page tracking API can be simpler to use than physical address
+indexing, since the ``pagemap`` for a process does not need to be looked up to
+mark or read a page's idle bit. It is also more accurate than physical address
+indexing since in physical address indexing, address space changes can occur
+between reading the ``pagemap`` and reading the ``bitmap``. In virtual address
+indexing, the process's ``mmap_sem`` is held for the duration of the access.
+To estimate the amount of pages that are not used by a workload one should:
+ 1. Mark all the workload's pages as idle by setting corresponding bits in
+ ``/proc/<pid>/page_idle``.
+ 2. Wait until the workload accesses its working set.
+ 3. Read ``/proc/<pid>/page_idle`` and count the number of bits set.
.. _impl_details:

Implementation Details
@@ -99,10 +126,10 @@ When a dirty page is written to swap or disk as a result of memory reclaim or
exceeding the dirty memory limit, it is not marked referenced.

The idle memory tracking feature adds a new page flag, the Idle flag. This flag
-is set manually, by writing to ``/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap`` (see the
-:ref:`User API <user_api>`
-section), and cleared automatically whenever a page is referenced as defined
+is set manually, by writing to ``/sys/kernel/mm/page_idle/bitmap`` for physical
+addressing or by writing to ``/proc/<pid>/page_idle`` for virtual
+addressing (see the :ref:`User API <user_api>` section), and cleared
+automatically whenever a page is referenced as defined above.

When a page is marked idle, the Accessed bit must be cleared in all PTEs it is
mapped to, otherwise we will not be able to detect accesses to the page coming
 \ /
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