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Summary for the glibc benchmark BoF

Here's a summary of what transpired in and around the glibc
benchmarking BoF at the Cauldron last week.  Apologies for sending
this out late.  The intent of this email is to get things started to
hopefully have a deliverable by 2.23 release.

We started with a summary of the current state of benchmarks and
defined the two problem statements we wanted to tackle viz. the string
and malloc benchmark inputs and whole system benchmarks.

The bigger interest was around whole system benchmarks and we came to
the following points of agreement:

- Create a separate project outside the glibc source tree that hosts
  installed-tree testing framework and code for glibc along with code
  to do whole system benchmarks

- The glibc source tree should have a make target within it that pulls
  in the glibc-test project and performs the necessary actions, like
  building and running installed-tree tests or system benchmark

- Work on the benchmark framework should focus on the schema of the
  output from the benchmark runs and not the technology.  That way, we
  allow external tools to run their own benchmarks and submit data for
  their workloads.  For example, it could be a JSON file with a
  specified format that captures details about the test environment, a
  description of the workload being tested and then input and timing
  data for functions that are being tested.

- FUTURE: Figure out a way to store the output data and process it

- FUTURE: Get patterns from the data to come up with representative
  inputs for the microbenchmarks

Ondrej has volunteered to work on this.  I guess the next steps would
be for Ondrej to come up with a first draft and also work with
sourceware admins to make a new project namespace for this.

As for the string benchmarks, opinions on whether the current
benchmarks are useful don't seem to converge.  I got the impression
that folks from IBM were content with using the string benchmarks as a
valid input, while Ondrej and a couple of others strongly believe that
the benchmarks are not representative.  I lean towards the latter, but
I don't have enough background to definitively lean either way.  We
concluded in the end that we would just have to wait for someone to
come up with some concrete improvement suggestions for these
benchmarks.  The outputs from whole system benchmarks may help us
build a representative input set for the string microbenchmarks.

Those present at the BoF, please add to this or make corrections if
you think I'm misremembering any points.


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