Changeset 955d9e43


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Timestamp:
Nov 1, 2016, 5:01:46 PM (5 years ago)
Author:
Thierry Delisle <tdelisle@…>
Branches:
aaron-thesis, arm-eh, cleanup-dtors, deferred_resn, demangler, jacob/cs343-translation, jenkins-sandbox, master, new-ast, new-ast-unique-expr, new-env, no_list, persistent-indexer, resolv-new, with_gc
Children:
9a8dfcc
Parents:
0afffee
Message:

updated concurrency proposal based on peter's review, up-to and including call semantics

Location:
doc/proposals/concurrency
Files:
2 edited

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  • doc/proposals/concurrency/concurrency.tex

    r0afffee r955d9e43  
    1414
    1515% Latex packages used in the document.
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    46 \setlength{\topmargin}{-0.45in}                                                 % move running title into header
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    4848
     
    8686\title{Concurrency in \CFA}
    8787\author{Thierry Delisle \\
    88 Dept. of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, \\ Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
     88School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, \\ Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    8989}
    9090
     
    100100
    101101\section{Introduction}
    102 This proposal provides a minimal core concurrency API that is both simple, efficient and can be reused to build higher-level features. The simplest possible core is a thread and a lock but this low-level approach is hard to master. An easier approach for users is to support higher-level construct as the basis of the concurrency in \CFA.
    103 Indeed, for highly productive parallel programming high-level approaches are much more popular\cite{HPP:Study}. Examples are task based parallelism, message passing, implicit threading.
    104 
    105 There are actually two problems that need to be solved in the design of the concurrency for a language. Which concurrency tools are available to the users and which parallelism tools are available. While these two concepts are often seen together, they are in fact distinct concepts that require different sorts of tools\cite{Buhr05a}. Concurrency tools need to handle mutual exclusion and synchronization while parallelism tools are more about performance, cost and resource utilization.
     102This proposal provides a minimal core concurrency API that is both simple, efficient and can be reused to build higher-level features. The simplest possible concurrency core is a thread and a lock but this low-level approach is hard to master. An easier approach for users is to support higher-level constructs as the basis of the concurrency in \CFA. Indeed, for highly productive parallel programming, high-level approaches are much more popular~\cite{HPP:Study}. Examples are task based parallelism, message passing and implicit threading.
     103
     104There are actually two problems that need to be solved in the design of the concurrency for a programming language. Which concurrency tools are available to the users and which parallelism tools are available. While these two concepts are often seen together, they are in fact distinct concepts that require different sorts of tools~\cite{Buhr05a}. Concurrency tools need to handle mutual exclusion and synchronization, while parallelism tools are more about performance, cost and resource utilization.
    106105
    107106%  #####  ####### #     #  #####  #     # ######  ######  ####### #     #  #####  #     #
     
    114113
    115114\section{Concurrency}
    116 % Several tool can be used to solve concurrency challenges. Since these challenges always appear with the use of mutable shared state, some languages and libraries simply disallow mutable shared-state (Erlang\cite{Erlang}, Haskell\cite{Haskell}, Akka (Scala)\cite{Akka}). In these paradigms, interaction among concurrent objects rely on message passing or other paradigms that often closely relate to networking concepts. However, in imperative or OO languages, these approaches entail a clear distinction between concurrent and non-concurrent paradigms (i.e. message passing versus routine call). Which in turns mean that programmers need to learn two sets of designs patterns in order to be effective. Approaches based on shared memory are more closely related to non-concurrent paradigms since they often rely on non-concurrent constructs like routine calls and objects. At a lower level these can be implemented as locks and atomic operations. However, for productivity reasons it is desireable to have a higher-level construct to be the core concurrency paradigm\cite{HPP:Study}. This project proposes Monitors\cite{Hoare74} as the core concurrency construct.
    117 % \\
    118 
    119 Several tool can be used to solve concurrency challenges. Since these challenges always appear with the use of mutable shared state, some languages and libraries simply disallow mutable shared-state (Erlang\cite{Erlang}, Haskell\cite{Haskell}, Akka (Scala)\cite{Akka}). In these paradigms, interaction among concurrent objects rely on message passing\cite{Thoth,Harmony,V-Kernel} or other paradigms that often closely relate to networking concepts. However, in imperative or OO languages, these approaches entail a clear distinction between concurrent and non-concurrent paradigms (i.e. message passing versus routine call). Which in turns mean that programmers need to learn two sets of designs patterns in order to be effective. Approaches based on shared memory are more closely related to non-concurrent paradigms since they often rely on non-concurrent constructs like routine calls and objects. At a lower level these can be implemented as locks and atomic operations. Many such mechanisms have been proposed, including semaphores~\cite{Dijkstra68b} and path expressions~\cite{Campbell74}. However, for productivity reasons it is desireable to have a higher-level construct to be the core concurrency paradigm\cite{HPP:Study}. One of the most natural, elegant, and efficient mechanisms for synchronization and communication, especially for shared memory systems, is the \emph{monitor}.
    120 
    121 Monitors were first proposed by Brinch Hansen~\cite{Hansen73} and later described and extended by C.A.R.~Hoare~\cite{Hoare74}.
    122 Many programming languages---e.g., Concurrent Pascal~\cite{ConcurrentPascal}, Mesa~\cite{Mesa}, Modula~\cite{Modula-2}, Turing~\cite{Turing:old}, Modula-3~\cite{Modula-3}, NeWS~\cite{NeWS}, Emerald~\cite{Emerald}, \uC~\cite{Buhr92a} and Java~\cite{Java}---provide monitors as explicit language constructs. In addition, operating-system kernels and device drivers have a monitor-like structure, although they often use lower-level primitives such as semaphores or locks to simulate monitors. For these reasons, this project proposes Monitors as the core concurrency construct.
    123 \\
    124 
    125 Finally, an approach that is worth mentionning because it is gaining in popularity is transactionnal memory\cite{Dice10}. However, the performance and feature set is currently too restrictive to be possible to add such a paradigm to a language like C or \CC\cit, which is why it was rejected as the core paradigm for concurrency in \CFA.
     115Several tool can be used to solve concurrency challenges. Since these challenges always appear with the use of mutable shared state, some languages and libraries simply disallow mutable shared-state (Erlang~\cite{Erlang}, Haskell~\cite{Haskell}, Akka (Scala)~\cite{Akka}). In these paradigms, interaction among concurrent objects relies on message passing~\cite{Thoth,Harmony,V-Kernel} or other paradigms that closely relate to networking concepts. However, in languages that use routine calls as their core abstraction mechanism, these approaches force a clear distinction between concurrent and non-concurrent paradigms (i.e. message passing versus routine call). Which in turn means that, in order to be effective, programmers need to learn two sets of designs patterns. This distinction can be hidden away in library code, but effective use of the librairy will still have to take both paradigms into account. Approaches based on shared memory are more closely related to non-concurrent paradigms since they often rely on non-concurrent constructs like routine calls and objects. At a lower level these can be implemented as locks and atomic operations. Many such mechanisms have been proposed, including semaphores~\cite{Dijkstra68b} and path expressions~\cite{Campbell74}. However, for productivity reasons it is desireable to have a higher-level construct to be the core concurrency paradigm~\cite{HPP:Study}. An approach that is worth mentionning because it is gaining in popularity is transactionnal memory~\cite{Dice10}[Check citation]. While this approach is even pursued by system languages like \CC\cit, the performance and feature set is currently too restrictive to be possible to add such a paradigm to a language like C or \CC\cit, which is why it was rejected as the core paradigm for concurrency in \CFA. One of the most natural, elegant, and efficient mechanisms for synchronization and communication, especially for shared memory systems, is the \emph{monitor}. Monitors were first proposed by Brinch Hansen~\cite{Hansen73} and later described and extended by C.A.R.~Hoare~\cite{Hoare74}. Many programming languages---e.g., Concurrent Pascal~\cite{ConcurrentPascal}, Mesa~\cite{Mesa}, Modula~\cite{Modula-2}, Turing~\cite{Turing:old}, Modula-3~\cite{Modula-3}, NeWS~\cite{NeWS}, Emerald~\cite{Emerald}, \uC~\cite{Buhr92a} and Java~\cite{Java}---provide monitors as explicit language constructs. In addition, operating-system kernels and device drivers have a monitor-like structure, although they often use lower-level primitives such as semaphores or locks to simulate monitors. For these reasons, this project proposes Monitors as the core concurrency construct.
    126116
    127117% #     # ####### #     # ### ####### ####### ######   #####
     
    134124
    135125\subsection{Monitors}
    136 A monitor is a set of routines that ensure mutual exclusion when accessing shared state. This concept is generally associated with Object-Oriented Languages like Java\cite{Java} or \uC\cite{uC++book} but does not strictly require OOP semantics. The only requirements is the ability to declare a handle to a shared object and a set of routines that act on it :
     126A monitor is a set of routines that ensure mutual exclusion when accessing shared state. This concept is generally associated with Object-Oriented Languages like Java~\cite{Java} or \uC~\cite{uC++book} but does not strictly require OOP semantics. The only requirements is the ability to declare a handle to a shared object and a set of routines that act on it :
    137127\begin{lstlisting}
    138128        typedef /*some monitor type*/ monitor;
     
    154144
    155145\subsubsection{Call semantics} \label{call}
    156 The above example of monitors already displays some of their intrinsic caracteristics. Indeed, it is necessary to use pass-by-reference over pass-by-value for monitor routines. This semantics is important because at their core, monitors are implicit mutual exclusion objects (locks), and these objects cannot be copied. Therefore, monitors are implicitly non-copyable.
    157 \\
    158 
    159 Another aspect to consider is when a monitor acquires its mutual exclusion. Indeed, a monitor may need to be passed through multiple helper routines that do not acquire the monitor mutual exclusion on entry. Examples of this can be both generic helper routines (\code{swap}, \code{sort}, etc.) or specific helper routines like the following example :
     146The above monitor example displays some of their intrinsic characteristics. Indeed, it is necessary to use pass-by-reference over pass-by-value for monitor routines. This semantics is important because at their core, monitors are implicit mutual-exclusion objects (locks), and these objects cannot be copied. Therefore, monitors are implicitly non-copyable.
     147
     148Another aspect to consider is when a monitor acquires its mutual exclusion. For example, a monitor may need to be passed through multiple helper routines that do not acquire the monitor mutual exclusion on entry. Pass through can be both generic helper routines (\code{swap}, \code{sort}, etc.) or specific helper routines like the following to implement an atomic large counter :
    160149
    161150\begin{lstlisting}
     
    163152
    164153        void ?{}(counter_t & nomutex this);
    165         int ++?(counter_t & mutex this);
    166         void ?{}(Int * this, counter_t & mutex cnt);
     154        size_t ++?(counter_t & mutex this);
     155        void ?{}(size_t * this, counter_t & mutex cnt); //need for mutex is platform dependent here
    167156\end{lstlisting}
    168157*semantics of the declaration of \code{mutex struct counter_t} are discussed in details in section \ref{data}
    169 \\
    170 
    171 This example is of a monitor implementing an atomic counter. Here, the constructor uses the \code{nomutex} keyword to signify that it does not acquire the coroutine mutual exclusion when constructing. This is because object not yet constructed should never be shared and therefore do not require mutual exclusion. The prefix increment operator
    172 uses \code{mutex} to protect the incrementing process from race conditions. Finally, we have a conversion operator from \code{counter_t} to \code{Int}. This conversion may or may not require the \code{mutex} key word depending whether or not reading an \code{Int} is an atomic operation or not.
    173 \\
    174 
    175 Having both \code{mutex} and \code{nomutex} keywords could be argued to be redundant based on the meaning of a routine having neither of these keywords. If there were a meaning to routine \code{void foo(counter_t & this)} then one could argue that it should be to default to the safest option : \code{mutex}. On the other hand, the option of having routine \code{void foo(counter_t & this)} mean \code{nomutex} is unsafe by default and may easily cause subtle errors. It can be argued that this is the more "normal" behavior, \code{nomutex} effectively stating explicitly that "this routine has nothing special". An other alternative is to make one of these keywords mandatory, which would provide the same semantics but without the ambiguity of supporting routine \code{void foo(counter_t & this)}. Mandatory keywords would also have the added benefice of being more clearly self-documented but at the cost of extra typing. In the end, which solution should be picked is still up for debate. For the reminder of this proposal, the explicit approach will be used for the sake of clarity.
    176 \\
    177 
    178 Regardless of which keyword is kept, it is important to establish when mutex/nomutex may be used depending on type parameters.
     158
     159Here, the constructor(\code(?{})) uses the \code{nomutex} keyword to signify that it does not acquire the monitor mutual exclusion when constructing. This semantics is because object not yet constructed should never be shared and therefore do not require mutual exclusion. The prefix increment operator uses \code{mutex} to protect the incrementing process from race conditions. Finally, there is a conversion operator from \code{counter_t} to \code{size_t}. This conversion may or may not require the \code{mutex} key word depending on whether or not reading an \code{size_t} is an atomic operation or not.
     160
     161Having both \code{mutex} and \code{nomutex} keywords could be argued to be redundant based on the meaning of a routine having neither of these keywords. If there were a meaning to routine \code{void foo(counter_t & this)} then one could argue that it should default to the safest option : \code{mutex}. On the other hand, the option of having routine \code{void foo(counter_t & this)} mean \code{nomutex} is unsafe by default and may easily cause subtle errors. It can be argued that this is the more "normal" behavior, \code{nomutex} effectively stating explicitly that "this routine has nothing special". Another alternative is to make having exactly one of these keywords mandatory, which would provide the same semantics but without the ambiguity of supporting routine \code{void foo(counter_t & this)}. Mandatory keywords would also have the added benefice of being self-documented but at the cost of extra typing. In the end, which solution should be picked is still up for debate. For the reminder of this proposal, the explicit approach is used for clarity.
     162
     163Regardless of which keyword is kept, it is important to establish when mutex/nomutex may be used as a type qualifier. Consider :
    179164\begin{lstlisting}
    180165        int f1(monitor & mutex m);
     
    185170\end{lstlisting}
    186171
    187 The problem is to indentify which object(s) should be acquired. Furthermore we also need to acquire each objects only once. In case of simple routines like \code{f1} and \code{f2} it is easy to identify an exhaustive list of objects to acquire on entering. Adding indirections (\code{f3}) still allows the compiler and programmer to indentify which object will be acquired. However, adding in arrays (\code{f4}) makes it much harder. Array lengths aren't necessarily known in C and even then making sure we only acquire objects once becomes also none trivial. This can be extended to absurd limits like \code{f5} which uses a custom graph of monitors. To keep everyone as sane as possible\cite{Chicken}, this projects imposes the requirement that a routine may only acquire one monitor per parameter and it must be the type of the parameter (ignoring potential qualifiers and indirections).
     172The problem is to indentify which object(s) should be acquired. Furthermore, each object needs to be acquired only once. In case of simple routines like \code{f1} and \code{f2} it is easy to identify an exhaustive list of objects to acquire on entering. Adding indirections (\code{f3}) still allows the compiler and programmer to indentify which object is acquired. However, adding in arrays (\code{f4}) makes it much harder. Array lengths are not necessarily known in C and even then making sure we only acquire objects once becomes also none trivial. This can be extended to absurd limits like \code{f5}, which uses a graph of monitors. To keep everyone as sane as possible~\cite{Chicken}, this projects imposes the requirement that a routine may only acquire one monitor per parameter and it must be the type of the parameter (ignoring potential qualifiers and indirections). Also note that while routine \code{f3} can be supported, meaning that monitor \code{**m} will be acquired, passing an array to this routine would be type safe and result in undefined behavior. For this reason, it would also be reasonnable to disallow mutex in the context where arrays may be passed.
    188173
    189174% ######     #    #######    #
     
    264249\end{lstlisting}
    265250
    266 Recursive mutex routine calls are allowed in \CFA but if not done carefully it can lead to nested monitor call problems\cite{Lister77}. These problems which are a specific  implementation of the lock acquiring order problem. In the example above, the user uses implicit ordering in the case of function \code{bar} but explicit ordering in the case of \code{baz}. This subtle mistake can mean that calling these two functions concurrently will lead to deadlocks, depending on the implicit ordering matching the explicit ordering. As shown on several occasion\cit, there isn't really any solutions to this problem, users simply need to be carefull when acquiring multiple monitors at the same time.
     251Recursive mutex routine calls are allowed in \CFA but if not done carefully it can lead to nested monitor call problems~\cite{Lister77}. These problems which are a specific  implementation of the lock acquiring order problem. In the example above, the user uses implicit ordering in the case of function \code{bar} but explicit ordering in the case of \code{baz}. This subtle mistake can mean that calling these two functions concurrently will lead to deadlocks, depending on the implicit ordering matching the explicit ordering. As shown on several occasion\cit, there isn't really any solutions to this problem, users simply need to be carefull when acquiring multiple monitors at the same time.
    267252
    268253% ######  ####### #######    #    ### #        #####
     
    756741% #       #     # #     # #     # ####### ####### ####### ####### ###  #####  #     #
    757742\section{Parallelism}
    758 Historically, computer performance was about processor speeds and instructions count. However, with heat dissipation being an ever growing challenge, parallelism has become the new source of greatest performance \cite{Sutter05, Sutter05b}. In this decade, it is not longer reasonnable to create high-performance application without caring about parallelism. Indeed, parallelism is an important aspect of performance and more specifically throughput and hardware utilization. The lowest level approach of parallelism is to use \glspl{kthread}. However since these have significant costs and limitations \glspl{kthread} are now mostly used as an implementation tool rather than a user oriented one. There are several alternatives to solve these issues which all have strengths and weaknesses.
     743Historically, computer performance was about processor speeds and instructions count. However, with heat dissipation being an ever growing challenge, parallelism has become the new source of greatest performance~\cite{Sutter05, Sutter05b}. In this decade, it is not longer reasonnable to create high-performance application without caring about parallelism. Indeed, parallelism is an important aspect of performance and more specifically throughput and hardware utilization. The lowest level approach of parallelism is to use \glspl{kthread}. However since these have significant costs and limitations \glspl{kthread} are now mostly used as an implementation tool rather than a user oriented one. There are several alternatives to solve these issues which all have strengths and weaknesses.
    759744
    760745\subsection{User-level threads}
    761746A direct improvement on the \gls{kthread} approach is to use \glspl{uthread}. These threads offer most of the same features that the operating system already provide but can be used on a much larger scale. This is the most powerfull solution as it allows all the features of multi-threading while removing several of the more expensives costs of using kernel threads. The down side is that almost none of the low-level threading complexities are hidden, users still have to think about data races, deadlocks and synchronization issues. This can be somewhat alleviated by a concurrency toolkit with strong garantees but the parallelism toolkit offers very little to reduce complexity in itself.
    762747
    763 Examples of languages that support are Java\cite{Java}, Haskell\cite{Haskell} and \uC\cite{uC++book}.
     748Examples of languages that support are Java~\cite{Java}, Haskell~\cite{Haskell} and \uC~\cite{uC++book}.
    764749
    765750\subsection{Jobs and thread pools}
    766751The approach on the opposite end of the spectrum is to base parallelism on \glspl{job}. Indeed, \glspl{job} offer limited flexibility but at the benefit of a simpler user interface. In \gls{job} based systems users express parallelism as units of work and the dependency graph (either explicit or implicit) that tie them together. This means users need not to worry about concurrency but significantly limits the interaction that can occur between different jobs. Indeed, any \gls{job} that blocks also blocks the underlying \gls{kthread}, this effectively mean the CPU utilization, and therefore throughput, will suffer noticeably.
    767 The golden standard of this implementation is Intel's TBB library\cite{TBB}.
     752The golden standard of this implementation is Intel's TBB library~\cite{TBB}.
    768753
    769754\subsection{Fibers : user-level threads without preemption}
    770755Finally, in the middle of the flexibility versus complexity spectrum lay \glspl{fiber} which offer \glspl{uthread} without the complexity of preemption. This means users don't have to worry about other \glspl{fiber} suddenly executing between two instructions which signficantly reduces complexity. However, any call to IO or other concurrency primitives can lead to context switches. Furthermore, users can also block \glspl{fiber} in the middle of their execution without blocking a full processor core. This means users still have to worry about mutual exclusion, deadlocks and race conditions in their code, raising the complexity significantly.
    771 An example of a language that uses fibers is Go\cite{Go}
     756An example of a language that uses fibers is Go~\cite{Go}
    772757
    773758\subsection{Paradigm performance}
     
    815800\end{lstlisting}
    816801
    817 Obviously, for this thread implementation to be usefull it must run some user code. Several other threading interfaces use some function pointer representation as the interface of threads (for example : \Csharp \cite{Csharp} and Scala \cite{Scala}). However, we consider that statically tying a \code{main} routine to a thread superseeds this approach. Since the \code{main} routine is definetely a special routine in \CFA, we can reuse the existing syntax for declaring routines with unordinary name, i.e. operator overloading. As such the \code{main} routine of a thread can be defined as such :
     802Obviously, for this thread implementation to be usefull it must run some user code. Several other threading interfaces use some function pointer representation as the interface of threads (for example : \Csharp~\cite{Csharp} and Scala~\cite{Scala}). However, we consider that statically tying a \code{main} routine to a thread superseeds this approach. Since the \code{main} routine is definetely a special routine in \CFA, we can reuse the existing syntax for declaring routines with unordinary name, i.e. operator overloading. As such the \code{main} routine of a thread can be defined as such :
    818803\begin{lstlisting}
    819804        thread struct foo {};
  • doc/proposals/concurrency/version

    r0afffee r955d9e43  
    1 0.4.99
     10.5.104
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