Re: [PATCH RFC tip/core/rcu] Parallelize and economize NOCB kthread wakeups

From: Paul E. McKenney
Date: Tue Jul 08 2014 - 09:44:59 EST

On Thu, Jul 03, 2014 at 03:12:17PM +0200, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 02, 2014 at 10:55:01AM -0700, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > On Wed, Jul 02, 2014 at 07:26:00PM +0200, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> > > On Wed, Jul 02, 2014 at 10:08:38AM -0700, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > > > As were others, not that long ago. Today is the first hint that I got
> > > > that you feel otherwise. But it does look like the softirq approach to
> > > > callback processing needs to stick around for awhile longer. Nice to
> > > > hear that softirq is now "sane and normal" again, I guess. ;-)
> > >
> > > Nah, softirqs are still totally annoying :-)
> >
> > Name me one thing that isn't annoying. ;-)
> >
> > > So I've lost detail again, but it seems to me that on all CPUs that are
> > > actually getting ticks, waking tasks to process the RCU state is
> > > entirely over doing it. Might as well keep processing their RCU state
> > > from the tick as was previously done.
> >
> > And that is in fact the approach taken by my patch. For which I just
> > kicked off testing, so expect an update later today. (And that -is-
> > optimistic! A pessimistic viewpoint would hold that the patch would
> > turn out to be so broken that it would take -weeks- to get a fix!)
> Right, but as you told Mike its not really dynamic, but of course we can
> work on that.

If it is actually needed by someone, then I would be happy to work on it.
But all I see now is people asserting that it should be provided, without
any real justification.

> That said; I'm somewhat confused on the whole nocb thing. So the way I
> see things there's two things that need doing:
> 1) push the state machine
> 2) run callbacks
> It seems to me the nocb threads do both, and somehow some of this is
> getting conflated. Because afaik RCU only uses softirqs for (2), since
> (1) is fully done from the tick -- well, it used to be, before all this.

Well, you do need a finer-grained view of the RCU state machine:

1a. Registering the need for a future grace period.
1b. Self-reporting of quiescent states (softirq).
1c. Reporting of other CPUs' quiescent states (grace-period kthread).
This includes idle CPUs, userspace nohz_full CPUs, and CPUs that
just now transitioned to offline.
1d. Kicking CPUs that have not yet reported a quiescent state
(also grace-period kthread).
2. Running callbacks (softirq, or, for RCU_NOCB_CPU, rcuo kthread).

And here (1a) is done via softirq in the non-nocb case and via the rcuo
kthreads on the nocb case.

And yes, RCU's softirq processing is normally done from the tick.

> Now, IIRC rcu callbacks are not guaranteed to run on whatever cpu
> they're queued on, so we can 'easily' splice the actual callback list
> into some other CPUs callback list. Which leaves only (1) to actually
> 'do'.

True, although the 'easily' part needs to take into account the fact
that the RCU callbacks from an given CPU must be invoked in order.
Or rcu_barrier() needs to find a different way to guarantee that all
previously registered callbacks have been invoked, as the case may be.

> Yet the whole thing is called after the 'no-callback' thing, even though
> the most important part is pushing the state machine remotely.

Well, you do have to do both. Pushing the state machine doesn't help
unless you also invoke the RCU callbacks.

> Now I can see we'd probably don't want to actually push remote cpu's
> their rcu state from IRQ context, but we could, I think, drive the state
> machine remotely. And we want to avoid overloading one CPU with the work
> of all others, which is I think still a fundamental issue with the whole
> nohz_full thing, it reverts to the _one_ timekeeper cpu, but on big
> enough systems that'll be a problem.

Well, RCU already pushes the remote CPU's RCU state remotely via
RCU's dynticks setup. But you are quite right, dumping all of the RCU
processing onto one CPU can be a bottleneck on large systems (which
Fengguang's tests noted, by the way), and this is the reason for patch
11/17 in the fixes series ( This
patch allows housekeeping kthreads like the grace-period kthreads to
use a new housekeeping_affine() function to bind themselves onto the
non-nohz_full CPUs. The system can be booted with the desired number
of housekeeping CPUs using the nohz_full= boot parameter.

However, it is not clear to me that having only one timekeeping CPU
(as opposed to having only one housekeeping CPU) is a real problem,
even for very large systems. If it does turn out to be a real problem,
the sysidle code will probably need to change as well.

Thanx, Paul

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at