Re: [Lse-tech] [patch] sched-domain cleanups, sched-2.6.5-rc2-mm2-A3

From: Erich Focht
Date: Tue Mar 30 2004 - 03:27:02 EST

On Thursday 25 March 2004 23:28, Martin J. Bligh wrote:
> Can we hold off on changing the fork/exec time balancing until we've
> come to a plan as to what should actually be done with it? Unless we're
> giving it some hint from userspace, it's frigging hard to be sure if
> it's going to exec or not - and the vast majority of things do.

After more than a year (or two?) of discussions there's no better idea
yet than giving a userspace hint. Default should be to balance at
exec(), and maybe use a syscall for saying: balance all children a
particular process is going to fork/clone at creation time. Everybody
reached the insight that we can't foresee what's optimal, so there is
only one solution: control the behavior. Give the user a tool to
improve the performance. Just a small inheritable variable in the task
structure is enough. Whether you give the hint at or before run-time
or even at compile-time is not really the point...

I don't think it's worth to wait and hope that somebody shows up with
a magic algorithm which balances every kind of job optimally.

> There was a really good reason why the code is currently set up that
> way, it's not some random accident ;-)

The current code isn't a result of a big optimization effort, it's the
result of stripping stuff down to something which was acceptable at
all in the 2.6 feature freeze phase such that we get at least _some_
NUMA scheduler infrastructure. It was clear right from the beginning
that it has to be extended to really become useful.

> Clone is a much more interesting case, though at the time, I consciously
> decided NOT to do that, as we really mostly want threads on the same
> node.

That is not true in the case of HPC applications. And if someone uses
OpenMP he is just doing that kind of stuff. I consider STREAM a good
benchmark because it shows exactly the problem of HPC applications:
they need a lot of memory bandwidth, they don't run in cache and the
tasks live really long. Spreading those tasks across the nodes gives
me more bandwidth per task and I accumulate the positive effect
because the tasks run for hours or days. It's a simple and clear case
where the scheduler should be improved.

Benchmarks simulating "user work" like SPECsdet, kernel compile, AIM7
are not relevant for HPC. In a compute center it actually doesn't
matter much whether some shell command returns 10% faster, it just
shouldn't disturb my super simulation code for which I bought an
expensive NUMA box.


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