[RFC][PATCH 0/5] arch: atomic rework

Peter Zijlstra peterz@infradead.org
Fri Feb 7 17:07:00 GMT 2014

On Fri, Feb 07, 2014 at 04:55:48PM +0000, Will Deacon wrote:
> Hi Paul,
> On Fri, Feb 07, 2014 at 04:50:28PM +0000, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > On Fri, Feb 07, 2014 at 08:44:05AM +0100, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> > > On Thu, Feb 06, 2014 at 08:20:51PM -0800, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > > > Hopefully some discussion of out-of-thin-air values as well.
> > > 
> > > Yes, absolutely shoot store speculation in the head already. Then drive
> > > a wooden stake through its hart.
> > > 
> > > C11/C++11 should not be allowed to claim itself a memory model until that
> > > is sorted.
> > 
> > There actually is a proposal being put forward, but it might not make ARM
> > and Power people happy because it involves adding a compare, a branch,
> > and an ISB/isync after every relaxed load...  Me, I agree with you,
> > much preferring the no-store-speculation approach.
> Can you elaborate a bit on this please? We don't permit speculative stores
> in the ARM architecture, so it seems counter-intuitive that GCC needs to
> emit any additional instructions to prevent that from happening.
> Stores can, of course, be observed out-of-order but that's a lot more
> reasonable :)

This is more about the compiler speculating on stores; imagine:

  if (x)
  	y = 1;
  	y = 2;

The compiler is allowed to change that into:

  y = 2;
  if (x)
  	y = 1;

Which is of course a big problem when you want to rely on the ordering.

There's further problems where things like memset() can write outside
the specified address range. Examples are memset() using single
instructions to wipe entire cachelines and then 'restoring' the tail

While valid for single threaded, its a complete disaster for concurrent

There's more, but it all boils down to doing stores you don't expect in
a 'sane' concurrent environment and/or don't respect the control flow.

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