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Subject: Re: [boost] [thread] Alternate future implementation and future islands.
From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-03-19 08:38:46

On 18 Mar 2015 at 22:07, Giovanni Piero Deretta wrote:

> Regarding the 'atomic option', I was actually thinking of removing it,
> instead switching to specifying the memory order in
> get()/set_{value,exception}.

That's a good idea. Default heuristics for avoiding atomic are
necessarily going to have to be too conservative.

> I complely removed the current then/next implementation in favor of a
> generic then that works with any waitable. This makes it explicit that
> you can compose future types (and in fact any waitable) as long as
> they provide a get_event.
> I removed 'next' completely to simplify the implementation. The
> optimization opportunity to save an allocation on the except case is
> probably not worth the complexity.

I think the ship has sailed on this at WG21. The present Concurrency
TS delights no one, but it is the product of many years of
negotiation and compromise. What you see now is highly likely to
persist unless you can demonstrate a showstopping technical reason
why not (e.g. like std::async).

> > 4. In some contexts a thread-unsafe future/event that saves the cost of
> > atomic operations would be useful (unless it turns out that this cost is
> > negligible on modern CPUs, which I don't think is the case). However, it
> > would be important for the thread-safe and thread-unsafe futures/events to
> > interoperate in a reasonable way. (I'm not sure exactly what reasonable
> > semantics would be.) Obviously there would have to be some caveats, but we
> > would want to avoid another future-island situation.
> >
> The required RMW are definitely non neglegible. I tried to keep them
> at a minimum but they still have a cost.
> My original future implementation actually had thread safety switch
> but it would be terribly error prone.

The cost is to the lack of optimisation options, not at the hardware
level. Atomic operations, even on weakly ordered systems, are not
high when no other CPU core has visibility of that cache line.

> Instead I'm studying a way for future to start as simply a deferred
> synchronous computation, but that can become asynchronous on request
> of another thread (via work stealing or work requesting for example).

I think that has the maximum chance of being useful to functional
programming frameworks too.

> > Benchmarks (and unit tests) would also be particularly helpful.
> I have yet to find a good, fair, small and realistic benchmark for
> futures. Ideas are welcome.
speedtest.cpp might have some ideas for you.


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