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Re: [GSoC] How to protect cached_objects




On Thu, May 23, 2019 at 01:51:47PM -0300, Matheus Tavares Bernardino wrote:

> As one of my first tasks in GSoC, I'm looking to protect the global
> states at sha1-file.c for future parallelizations. Currently, I'm
> analyzing how to deal with the cached_objects array, which is a small
> set of in-memory objects that read_object_file() is able to return
> although they don't really exist on disk. The only current user of
> this set is git-blame, which adds a fake commit containing
> non-committed changes.
> 
> As it is now, if we start parallelizing blame, cached_objects won't be
> a problem since it is written to only once, at the beginning, and read
> from a couple times latter, with no possible race conditions.
> 
> But should we make these operations thread safe for future uses that
> could involve potential parallel writes and reads too?
> 
> If so, we have two options:
> - Make the array thread local, which would oblige us to replicate data, or
> - Protect it with locks, which could impact the sequential
> performance. We could have a macro here, to skip looking on
> single-threaded use cases. But we don't know, a priori, the number of
> threads that would want to use the pack access code.

It seems like a lot of the sha1-reading code is 99% read-only, but very
occasionally will require a write (e.g., refreshing the packed_git list
when we fail a lookup, or manipulating the set of cached mmap windows).

I think pthreads has read/write locks, where many readers can hold the
lock simultaneously but a writer blocks readers (and other writers).
Then in the common case we'd only pay the price to take the lock, and
not deal with contention. I don't know how expensive it is to take such
a read lock; it's presumably just a few instructions but implies a
memory barrier. Maybe it's worth timing?

-Peff