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Date:	Fri, 21 Sep 2007 21:07:05 -0700
From:	"Paul E. McKenney" <paulmck@...ux.vnet.ibm.com>
To:	Steven Rostedt <rostedt@...dmis.org>
Cc:	LKML <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>,
	linux-rt-users <linux-rt-users@...r.kernel.org>,
	akpm@...ux-foundation.org, dipankar@...ibm.com,
	josht@...ux.vnet.ibm.com, tytso@...ibm.com, dvhltc@...ibm.com,
	Thomas Gleixner <tglx@...utronix.de>, a.p.zijlstra@...llo.nl,
	bunk@...nel.org, ego@...ibm.com, oleg@...sign.ru
Subject: Re: [PATCH RFC 3/9] RCU: Preemptible RCU

On Fri, Sep 21, 2007 at 11:15:42PM -0400, Steven Rostedt wrote:
> On Fri, 21 Sep 2007, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > On Fri, Sep 21, 2007 at 09:15:03PM -0400, Steven Rostedt wrote:
> > > On Fri, 21 Sep 2007, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > > > On Fri, Sep 21, 2007 at 10:40:03AM -0400, Steven Rostedt wrote:
> > > > > On Mon, Sep 10, 2007 at 11:34:12AM -0700, Paul E. McKenney wrote:

[ . . . ]

> > > Are we sure that adding all these grace periods stages is better than just
> > > biting the bullet and put in a memory barrier?
> >
> > Good question.  I believe so, because the extra stages don't require
> > much additional processing, and because the ratio of rcu_read_lock()
> > calls to the number of grace periods is extremely high.  But, if I
> > can prove it is safe, I will certainly decrease GP_STAGES or otherwise
> > optimize the state machine.
> 
> But until others besides yourself understand that state machine (doesn't
> really need to be me) I would be worried about applying it without
> barriers.  The barriers may add a bit of overhead, but it adds some
> confidence in the code.  I'm arguing that we have barriers in there until
> there's a fine understanding of why we fail with 3 stages and not 4.
> Perhaps you don't have a box with enough cpus to fail at 4.
> 
> I don't know how the higher ups in the kernel command line feel, but I
> think that memory barriers on critical sections are justified. But if you
> can show a proof that adding extra stages is sufficient to deal with
> CPUS moving memory writes around, then so be it. But I'm still not
> convinced that these extra stages are really solving the bug instead of
> just making it much less likely to happen.
> 
> Ingo praised this code since it had several years of testing in the RT
> tree. But that version has barriers, so this new verison without the
> barriers has not had that "run it through the grinder" feeling to it.

Fair point...  Though the -rt variant has its shortcomings as well,
such as being unusable from NMI/SMI handlers.

How about this:  I continue running the GP_STAGES=3 run on the pair of
POWER machines (which are both going strong, and I also get a document
together describing the new version (and of course apply the changes we
have discussed, and merge with recent CPU-hotplug changes -- Gautham
Shenoy is currently working this), work out a good answer to "how
big exactly does GP_STAGES need to be", test whatever that number is,
assuming it is neither 3 nor 4, and figure out why the gekko-lp1 machine
choked on GP_STAGES=3.

Then we can work out the best path forward from wherever that ends up
being.

[ . . . ]

						Thanx, Paul
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