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SubjectRe: [PATCH] x86: Run checksumming in parallel accross multiple alu's
* Neil Horman <> wrote:
> 3) The run times are proportionally larger, but still indicate that Parallel ALU
> execution is hurting rather than helping, which is counter-intuitive. I'm
> looking into it, but thought you might want to see these results in case
> something jumped out at you

So here's my theory about all of this.

I think that the original observation some years back was a fluke caused by
either a buggy CPU or a CPU design that is no longer used.

The parallel ALU design of this patch seems OK at first glance, but it means
that two parallel operations are both trying to set/clear both the overflow
and carry flags of the EFLAGS register of the *CPU* (not the ALU). So, either
some CPU in the past had a set of overflow/carry flags per ALU and did some
sort of magic to make sure that the last state of those flags across multiple
ALUs that might have been used in parallelizing work were always in the CPU's
logical EFLAGS register, or the CPU has a buggy microcode that allowed two
ALUs to operate on data at the same time in situations where they would
potentially stomp on the carry/overflow flags of the other ALUs operations.

It's my theory that all modern CPUs have this behavior fixed, probably via a
microcode update, and so trying to do parallel ALU operations like this simply
has no effect because the CPU (rightly so) serializes the operations to keep
them from clobbering the overflow/carry flags of the other ALUs operations.

My additional theory then is that the reason you see a slowdown from this
patch is because the attempt to parallelize the ALU operation has caused
us to write a series of instructions that, once serialized, are non-optimal
and hinder smooth pipelining of the data (aka going 0*8, 2*8, 4*8, 6*8, 1*8,
3*8, 5*8, and 7*8 in terms of memory accesses is worse than doing them in
order, and since we aren't getting the parallel operation we want, this
is the net result of the patch).

It would explain things anyway.

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