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Re: [Xen-devel] [PATCH v5 3/8] qspinlock, x86: Add x86 specific optimization for 2 contending tasks

On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 03:42:19PM -0500, Waiman Long wrote:
> >>+   old = xchg(&qlock->lock_wait, _QSPINLOCK_WAITING|_QSPINLOCK_LOCKED);
> >>+
> >>+   if (old == 0) {
> >>+           /*
> >>+            * Got the lock, can clear the waiting bit now
> >>+            */
> >>+           smp_u8_store_release(&qlock->wait, 0);
> >
> >So we just did an atomic op, and now you're trying to optimize this
> >write. Why do you need a whole byte for that?
> >
> >Surely a cmpxchg loop with the right atomic op can't be _that_ much
> >slower? Its far more readable and likely avoids that steal fail below as
> >well.
> At low contention level, atomic operations that requires a lock prefix are
> the major contributor to the total execution times. I saw estimate online
> that the time to execute a lock prefix instruction can easily be 50X longer
> than a regular instruction that can be pipelined. That is why I try to do it
> with as few lock prefix instructions as possible. If I have to do an atomic
> cmpxchg, it probably won't be faster than the regular qspinlock slowpath.

At low contention the cmpxchg won't have to be retried (much) so using
it won't be a problem and you get to have arbitrary atomic ops.

> Given that speed at low contention level which is the common case is
> important to get this patch accepted, I have to do what I can to make it run
> as far as possible for this 2 contending task case.

What I'm saying is that you can do the whole thing with a single
cmpxchg. No extra ops needed. And at that point you don't need a whole
byte, you can use a single bit.

that removes the whole NR_CPUS dependent logic.

> >>+           /*
> >>+            * Someone has steal the lock, so wait again
> >>+            */
> >>+           goto try_again;

> >That's just a fail.. steals should not ever be allowed. It's a fair lock
> >after all.
> The code is unfair, but this unfairness help it to run faster than ticket
> spinlock in this particular case. And the regular qspinlock slowpath is
> fair. A little bit of unfairness in this particular case helps its speed.

*groan*, no, unfairness not cool. ticket lock is absolutely fair; we
should preserve this.

BTW; can you share your benchmark thingy? 

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