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Re: why does rwlock prefer readers by default?

On Sat, May 24, 2014 at 05:26:18PM +0200, OndÅej BÃlka wrote:
> > > As far as I know, there is no way to prefer writers but allow
> > > recursive locking by readers (which the standard requires be allowed)
> > > without unbounded memory usage (to track which threads already own a
> > > read lock). The problem is that you can't distinguish a new reader
> > > from an existing reader performing a recurive lock and thus you have
> > > to allow both, even if a writer is waiting. Please correct me if I'm
> > > wrong on this.
> > 
> > Yes you need space to track which readers have acquired which rwlock.
> > At some number of recursive/rwlocks, there will be a runtime overhead.
> > 
> > Irrespective of that, there's another case where we can prefer readers
> > or writers, as I've described elsewhere in the thread.
> That means that you need a malloc/mmap from some size which complicates
> implementation.

It also means you need to handle the case where it fails.

> With readers we let kernel handle that.

The kernel? There's only one futex object for an individual contended
address, and if it can't be created, futex wait will return an error
and then you just spin.

> A argument that you need unbounded memory usage is misleading as this is
> bounded by number of threads and contention of many readers/writers is bigger
> issue than allocating few extra bytes.

The number of threads is essentially unbounded (limit is either ~500
million or ~1 billion, I forget which).

> Also you only need to prefer writers with high probability. A simple

This is not what the requirement says, but I agree it might be a
reasonable trade-off.

> idea is add a thread local counter that counts number of read locks of
> all rwlock. When you are reader and there is pending writer then you first
> check counter and yield when it is zero. This works as long as thread
> does not use two rwlocks simultaneously.

I agree this works; provided your counter is 64-bit, there's no way to
increment it so many times that it overflows.

> To detect these you use bloom
> filter: split counter to 8 8-bit counters, for each rwlock randomly generate 
> mask which counters it uses and check if all these counters are zero then yield.

I don't see how this is better than choosing a single-bit mask.
Multiple bits just makes it more-likely to prefer a reader when you

> There is techical problem that if a counter reaches 255 we could not
> decrease/increase it but it should not happen in practice.

What do you do when it does?


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