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SubjectRe: [PATCH 02/10] locking/qspinlock: Remove unbounded cmpxchg loop from locking slowpath
Hi Waiman,

Thanks for taking this lot for a spin. Comments and questions below.

On Fri, Apr 06, 2018 at 04:50:19PM -0400, Waiman Long wrote:
> On 04/05/2018 12:58 PM, Will Deacon wrote:
> > The qspinlock locking slowpath utilises a "pending" bit as a simple form
> > of an embedded test-and-set lock that can avoid the overhead of explicit
> > queuing in cases where the lock is held but uncontended. This bit is
> > managed using a cmpxchg loop which tries to transition the uncontended
> > lock word from (0,0,0) -> (0,0,1) or (0,0,1) -> (0,1,1).
> >
> > Unfortunately, the cmpxchg loop is unbounded and lockers can be starved
> > indefinitely if the lock word is seen to oscillate between unlocked
> > (0,0,0) and locked (0,0,1). This could happen if concurrent lockers are
> > able to take the lock in the cmpxchg loop without queuing and pass it
> > around amongst themselves.
> >
> > This patch fixes the problem by unconditionally setting _Q_PENDING_VAL
> > using atomic_fetch_or, and then inspecting the old value to see whether
> > we need to spin on the current lock owner, or whether we now effectively
> > hold the lock. The tricky scenario is when concurrent lockers end up
> > queuing on the lock and the lock becomes available, causing us to see
> > a lockword of (n,0,0). With pending now set, simply queuing could lead
> > to deadlock as the head of the queue may not have observed the pending
> > flag being cleared. Conversely, if the head of the queue did observe
> > pending being cleared, then it could transition the lock from (n,0,0) ->
> > (0,0,1) meaning that any attempt to "undo" our setting of the pending
> > bit could race with a concurrent locker trying to set it.
> >
> > We handle this race by preserving the pending bit when taking the lock
> > after reaching the head of the queue and leaving the tail entry intact
> > if we saw pending set, because we know that the tail is going to be
> > updated shortly.
> >
> > Cc: Peter Zijlstra <>
> > Cc: Ingo Molnar <>
> > Signed-off-by: Will Deacon <>
> > ---
> The pending bit was added to the qspinlock design to counter performance
> degradation compared with ticket lock for workloads with light
> spinlock contention. I run my spinlock stress test on a Intel Skylake
> server running the vanilla 4.16 kernel vs a patched kernel with this
> patchset. The locking rates with different number of locking threads
> were as follows:
> # of threads 4.16 kernel patched 4.16 kernel
> ------------ ----------- -------------------
> 1 7,417 kop/s 7,408 kop/s
> 2 5,755 kop/s 4,486 kop/s
> 3 4,214 kop/s 4,169 kop/s
> 4 4,396 kop/s 4,383 kop/s
> The 2 contending threads case is the one that exercise the pending bit
> code path the most. So it is obvious that this is the one that is most
> impacted by this patchset. The differences in the other cases are mostly
> noise or maybe just a little bit on the 3 contending threads case.

That is bizarre. A few questions:

1. Is this with my patches as posted, or also with your WRITE_ONCE change?
2. Could you try to bisect my series to see which patch is responsible
for this degradation, please?
3. Could you point me at your stress test, so I can try to reproduce these
numbers on arm64 systems, please?

> I am not against this patch, but we certainly need to find out a way to
> bring the performance number up closer to what it is before applying
> the patch.

We certainly need to *understand* where the drop is coming from, because
the two-threaded case is still just a CAS on x86 with and without this
patch series. Generally, there's a throughput cost when ensuring fairness
and forward-progress otherwise we'd all be using test-and-set.



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