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Re: [PATCH v2] PowerPC: Fix a race condition when eliding a lock

On Tue, 2015-08-25 at 00:01 -0400, Carlos O'Donell wrote:
> On 08/21/2015 05:52 AM, Torvald Riegel wrote:
> > On Thu, 2015-08-20 at 16:51 -0300, Adhemerval Zanella wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>>> +
> >>>> +/* Returns 0 if the lock defined by is_lock_free was elided.
> >>>> +   ADAPT_COUNT is a per-lock state variable.  */
> >>>> +# define ELIDE_LOCK(adapt_count, is_lock_free)				\
> >>>> +  ({									\
> >>>> +    int ret = 0;							\
> >>>> +    if (adapt_count > 0)						\
> >>>> +      (adapt_count)--;							\
> >>>> +    else								\
> >>>> +      for (int i = __elision_aconf.try_tbegin; i > 0; i--)		\
> >>>> +	{								\
> >>>> +	  if (__builtin_tbegin (0))					\
> >>>> +	    {								\
> >>>> +	      if (is_lock_free)						\
> >>>
> >>> This should use a relaxed MO atomic access to highlight that this data *is*
> >>> shared between threads, but that there are no ordering guarantees. It should
> >>> result in a normal load, but it makes it clear in the code that some other
> >>> thread is also accessing this data, and that the transaction as a barrier
> >>> is all that is protecting this from being a data-race (undefined behaviour).
> >>
> >> Should we really highlight it using atomic operations? The idea is exactly
> >> that any access within a transaction will not result in undefined behavior,
> >> so no need to atomic for synchronization.
> > 
> > I think it's better to highlight it.  If the data would only be accessed
> > from within transaction, the highlighting wouldn't be necessary.  But it
> > is mixed transactional/nontransactional synchronization in this case, so
> > we need the annotation.
> I'll let you discuss this with Tulio. Unless there is a correctness issue
> or a violation of our rule to be data race free, then there should be some
> flexibility granted to IBM to do what they wish, and particularly that which
> is optimal. While the atomic_load_relaxed doesn't appear to do anything that
> would incur a serious performance penality, it does add an asm with inputs
> that force the value to a register and this may limit the compiler in some
> future way.

Note that the atomic will be using a compiler built-in (eventually), so
the compiler isn't at a disadvantage.

> From my perspective a code comment on concurrency seems sufficient?
> If thread T1 and a thread T2 read or write memory that is used to evaluate
> the value of is_lock_free, then the transaction would be aborted and thus
> is_lock_free needs no atomic access?
> > This also makes moving to proper atomic types easier should we ever
> > decide to do that.
> Could you please elaborate a bit more on this?

If we would be using C11 or C++11, then we would need to use an atomic
type for is_lock_free because we need atomic accesses outside of
transactions.  The atomic types do not offer a way to access the data
nonatomically (this is being worked on in C++ SG1, but for other

Thus, if we'd use real atomic types at some point, then we would not
want people to access them nonatomically, accidentally.  (And we
wouldn't want to have seq-cst default accesses either.)
Therefore, to make this possible in the future, we should stick to the
rule that data accessed atomically somewhere is considered to be of
atomic type (even though we actually use nonatomic types in the
declaration), and all accesses to it are also using atomics.  IMO, this
is just cleaner and there's no reason to make an exception for the few
variables that we use in mixed nontxnal/txnal synchronization.  (In
contrast, using nonatomic accesses for initialization can provide
benefits such as using memset etc.)

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