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Re: Supporting core-specific instruction sets (e.g. big.LITTLE) with restartable sequences
- From: Andrew Pinski <pinskia at gmail dot com>
- To: mathieu dot desnoyers at efficios dot com
- Cc: Richard Henderson <rth at twiddle dot net>, Will Deacon <will dot deacon at arm dot com>, LKML <linux-kernel at vger dot kernel dot org>, GNU C Library <libc-alpha at sourceware dot org>, "Carlos O'Donell" <carlos at redhat dot com>, Florian Weimer <fweimer at redhat dot com>, "Joseph S. Myers" <joseph at codesourcery dot com>, Szabolcs Nagy <szabolcs dot nagy at arm dot com>, Thomas Gleixner <tglx at linutronix dot de>, bmaurer at fb dot com, Peter Zijlstra <peterz at infradead dot org>, "Paul E. McKenney" <paulmck at linux dot vnet dot ibm dot com>, boqun dot feng at gmail dot com, davejwatson at fb dot com, pjt at google dot com, linux-api at vger dot kernel dot org
- Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2018 12:27:49 -0700
- Subject: Re: Supporting core-specific instruction sets (e.g. big.LITTLE) with restartable sequences
- References: <313542172.8.1541171544337.JavaMail.firstname.lastname@example.org>
On Fri, Nov 2, 2018 at 8:12 AM Mathieu Desnoyers
> Hi Richard,
> I stumbled on these articles:
> - https://medium.com/@jadr2ddude/a-big-little-problem-a-tale-of-big-little-gone-wrong-e7778ce744bb
> - https://www.mono-project.com/news/2016/09/12/arm64-icache/
> and discussed them with Will Deacon. He told me you were looking into gcc atomics and it might be
> worthwhile to discuss the possible use of the new rseq system call that has been added in Linux 4.18
> for those use-cases.
> Basically, the use-cases targeted are those where some cores on the system support a larger instruction
> set than others. So for instance, some cores could use a faster atomic add instruction than others, which
> should rely on a slower fallback. This is also the same story for reading the performance monitoring
> unit counters from user-space: it depends on the feature-set supported by the CPU on which the instruction
> is issued. Same applies to cores having different cache-line sizes.
> The main problem is that the kernel can migrate a thread at any point between user-space reading the
> current cpu number and issuing the instruction. This is where rseq can help.
> The core idea to solve the instruction set issue is to set a mask of cpus supporting the new instruction
> in a library constructor, and then load cpu_id, use it with the mask, and branch to either the new or
> old instruction, all with a rseq critical section. If the kernel needs to abort due to preemption or
> signal delivery, the abort behavior would be to issue the fallback (slow) atomic operation, which
> guarantees progress even if single-stepping.
> As long as the load, test and branch is faster than the performance delta between the old and new atomic
> instruction, it would be worth it.
> In the case of PMU read from user-space, using rseq to figure out how to issue the PMU read enables a
> use-case which is not otherwise possible to do on big.LITTLE. On rseq abort, it would fallback to a
> system call to read the PMU counter. This abort behavior guarantees forward progress.
> The second article is about cache line size discrepancy between CPUs. Here again, doing the cacheline
> flushing in a rseq critical section could allow tuning it to characteristics of the actual core it is
> running on. The fast-path would use a stride fitting the current core characteristics, and if rseq
> needs to abort, the slow-path would fall-back to a conservative value which would fit all cores (smaller
> cache line size on the overall system). Once again, this abort behavior guarantees forward progress.
> This would only work, of course, if cacheline invalidation done on a big core end up being propagated
> to other cores in a way that clears all the cache lines corresponding to the one targeted on the big
Cache flusing is only one thing that deals with cache line sizes
difference. Another thing which either needs to be emulated in the
software or disable is the "dc ZVA" instruction which is used in
There are most likely eithers too. For an example, dealing with dmb/dsb sizes.
> Thoughts ?
> Mathieu Desnoyers
> EfficiOS Inc.