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Subject: Re: [boost] [Boost-users] [afio] Formal review of Boost.AFIO
From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-08-25 09:48:12

On 25 Aug 2015 at 8:26, Andreas Schäfer wrote:

> > Monad is designed to be as absolutely as lightweight as possible, and
> > is per-commit CI tested to ensure it generates no more than X opcodes
> > per operation.
> >
> > Traditional complexities such as O(N) make no sense for Monad. No
> > operation it does isn't constant time. You're really testing how
> > friendly Monad is to the compiler optimiser (which is very friendly).
> OK, but how is the number of opcodes relevant in any practical
> setting? I for one expect the compiler to generate fast code. And if
> that means that one horribly slow instruction gets replaces by 10 fast
> ones, then so be it. I'd suggest to set up performance tests which
> measure time or throughput for sets of typical workloads.

I have those too, of course. Have a look at,
bottom of the document.

> I'm still unsure what "51 opcodes <= Value transport <= 32 opcodes" is
> supposed to mean.

Min/max code bloat for a monad<int> or future<int>.

> > > Since you mentioned monads were basically identical: why don't you
> > > just use std::future?
> >
> > AFIO has never been able to return a plain std::future because of the
> > lack of standardised wait composure in current C++ i.e.
> > when_all(futures ...). It returns an afio::future<> which internally
> > keeps a unique integer which looks up stored continuations in an
> > unordered_map. This let AFIO implement continuations on top of
> > std::future.
> OK, this explains why you're using afio::future instead of
> std::future, but not why afio::future relies on afio::monad instead of
> std::future. AFAICS basic_monad doesn't add much over future's API,
> except for get_or() and friends. But those functions aren't being used
> anyway, right?

Monad's basic_future<Policy> is base for all future-ish and
future-like future types. You can make whole families of customised
future types with any semantics you like, so long as they are
future-ish. One such custom future type is afio::future.

Monad's basic_future<Policy> is a refinement of basic_monad<Policy>
i.e. inherits directly. Anything implementing basic_future<Policy>
therefore also implements basic_monad<Policy>.

i.e. all lightweight futures are also lightweight monads. Just
asynchronous ones.

One big win is universal wait composure. You can feed any combination
of custom future type into the same when_all() or when_any()
function, and they'll compose.

> > Monad contains a full Concurrency TS implementation, and works
> > everywhere in any configuration and currently with far lower
> > overheads than any existing STL implementation by a big margin (about
> > 50%).
> That's a big claim. Do you have performance tests to back it up? Which
> which implementation did you compare your results?

See the benchmarks posted earlier. I compared to libstdc++ 5.1 and
Dinkumware VS2015.

There are known bugs and todo parts in Monad typical of a library
only started in June, not least that future<void>.get() is not
returning a void. I know of no serious bugs though, and AFIO is
working well with Monad so far.

> > That means AFIO can drop the internal unordered_map, and become
> > a pure Concurrency TS implementation with no workarounds and more
> > importantly, no central locking at all. That will eliminate the last
> > remaining synchronisation in AFIO, and it will be a pure wait free
> > solution.
> So, is AFIO composable with other parallel code? Could I use it along
> with other threads?

Absolutely! The whole point is generic reusability, and why I'm about
to embark on such a large internal refactor to more closely align
with the current Concurrency and Coroutines TSs. Code you write using
AFIO right now will fit hand and glove with the C++ of the next five
years - you are future-proofed with the API before review today.

Regarding thread safety of AFIO objects, everything should be thread
safe and can be concurrently used by multiple threads. You may not
get desirable outcomes of course e.g. closing a handle during a write
on that handle from another thread will likely cause data loss for
obvious reasons.


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