Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real world

By: Linus Torvalds (torvalds.delete@this.linux-foundation.org), July 17, 2015 4:29 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Wilco (Wilco.Dijkstra.delete@this.ntlworld.com) on July 17, 2015 1:57 pm wrote:
>
> Has the ancient trick of prepadding with 2 bytes been forgotten? That allows for 8 byte alignment of
> both header and payload. Prepadding with 10 bytes would allow 16-byte alignment of the payload.

It doesn't necessarily work well in the general case. It breaks in the face of various encapsulation things. It can also be absolutely horrible when you have other (bigger) alignment concerns, like making sure PCI DMA writes from the network card are aligned to 16-byte boundaries or whatever. Some network cards can't even do unaligned packet writes etc etc.

That is, btw, one of the best examples of why special instructions (or worse, instruction sequences) for unaligned handling is completely broken. Because it is indeed possible to often set things up so that in practice, 100% of all accesses are aligned.

But that "100%" is still not a guarantee. It's just a "under normal circumstances, we have laid out the data structures so that all the important accesses are perfectly aligned, and you always hit the good case".

.. but then you have the odd cases when that doesn't work out. Either because of some encapsulation issue or because some particular hardware had other alignment concerns, or whatever. It may never ever happen for some particular common setup (like an important benchmark), but the unaligned case still needs to be handled correctly.

And trapping doesn't work either. Well, it "works". But the problem is that it's so expensive, that if there are situations where the unaligned case goes from "never happens" to "when you encapsulate the ethernet packets using xyz, it happens for every packet", you went from good performance to absolutely unacceptable performance.

The whole "aligned data is the usual case by far, but we cannot guarantee it absolutely" is not that unusual in the end.

Not that dissimilar from things like denormals in FP. They also "never" happen in practice. But it's usually something you can't absolutely guarantee, and when they do, they end up often happening a lot (ie once you see one, you often see thousands), and you can't afford to suck too much at it.

Linus
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                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/09 10:09 AM
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                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/12 03:42 AM
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                                                    Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldEtienne2015/07/17 01:15 AM
                                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/13 02:14 PM
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                                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/13 03:24 PM
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                                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldMaynard Handley2015/07/13 07:18 PM
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                                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/13 09:01 PM
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                                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldWilco2015/07/13 04:36 PM
                                                    Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldEduardoS2015/07/13 04:56 PM
                                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/13 06:43 PM
                                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldEduardoS2015/07/13 08:11 PM
                                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/13 09:07 PM
                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldMaynard Handley2015/07/12 12:32 PM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldEduardoS2015/07/12 01:35 PM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldLinus Torvalds2015/07/12 01:38 PM
                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldEduardoS2015/07/12 06:47 PM
                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldNoSpammer2015/07/13 12:34 PM
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                                                Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldNoSpammer2015/07/14 02:02 PM
                                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/14 09:37 PM
                                                    Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldMichael S2015/07/15 01:19 AM
                                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/15 02:26 AM
                                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldNoSpammer2015/07/15 07:05 AM
                                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/15 08:04 AM
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                                                              Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/15 10:09 AM
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                                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldNoSpammer2015/07/15 12:50 PM
                                                              Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldLinus Torvalds2015/07/15 02:27 PM
                                                                Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldNoSpammer2015/07/15 03:14 PM
                                                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldLinus Torvalds2015/07/15 05:42 PM
                                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldNoSpammer2015/07/15 02:44 AM
                                                    Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldLinus Torvalds2015/07/15 02:17 PM
                                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldWilco2015/07/15 02:43 PM
                                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/15 05:45 PM
                                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldLinus Torvalds2015/07/15 06:35 PM
                                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/16 02:46 AM
                                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/16 02:49 AM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/21 07:15 AM
                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/12 07:42 PM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/12 09:48 PM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldDavid Kanter2015/07/12 10:34 PM
                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldMichael S2015/07/13 01:51 AM
                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldDavid Kanter2015/07/13 08:31 AM
                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/13 06:05 AM
                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldGabriele Svelto2015/07/17 05:40 AM
                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/13 08:09 AM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/13 07:46 AM
                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/14 04:12 AM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/15 03:51 AM
                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/15 04:38 AM
                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/15 06:21 AM
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                                        Not sure about that conclusionDavid Kanter2015/07/16 07:34 AM
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                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/20 04:44 AM
                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/20 07:29 AM
                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/21 12:08 AM
                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/21 01:27 AM
                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldMichael S2015/07/21 03:11 AM
                                              Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/21 05:24 AM
                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/21 06:22 AM
                                              Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/21 07:36 AM
                                                Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/21 08:25 AM
                                              Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/21 08:17 AM
                                                Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/21 09:50 AM
                                                Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldGabriele Svelto2015/07/21 12:46 PM
                                                Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/22 12:35 AM
                                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/22 01:37 AM
                                                  Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldanon2015/07/23 03:17 AM
                                                    Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/23 04:59 AM
                                                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldMichael S2015/07/23 07:31 AM
                                                        Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/23 03:38 PM
                                                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/23 11:44 PM
                                                            Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/24 01:08 AM
                                    Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worlddmcq2015/07/13 07:27 AM
                          Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldKonrad Schwarz2015/07/16 05:11 AM
                      Example of memory ordering causing excitement in the real worldAnonymousse2015/07/16 05:07 AM
          Benefit of dynamic hammock predicationsomeotherdude2015/07/06 05:12 PM
            Benefit of dynamic hammock predicationMichael S2015/07/07 01:19 AM
          Benefit of dynamic hammock predicationPatrick Chase2015/07/06 10:20 PM
            SIMD predication is also helpful, of course (NT)Paul A. Clayton2015/07/07 07:45 AM
        Power8 branch conversionGabriele Svelto2015/07/07 02:50 AM
          isel works for storesPaul A. Clayton2015/07/07 07:43 AM
            isel works for storesPatrick Chase2015/07/07 11:08 AM
            isel DOES NOT work for storessomeotherdude2015/07/07 04:01 PM
              isel DOES NOT work for storesWilco2015/07/07 04:40 PM
              Yes it doesPatrick Chase2015/07/07 11:14 PM
                Yes it doesvvid2015/07/08 09:51 AM
            You don't need isel eitherGabriele Svelto2015/07/08 02:01 AM
              You don't need isel eitherPaul A. Clayton2015/07/08 04:46 AM
                You don't need isel eitherGabriele Svelto2015/07/08 05:22 AM
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