Wednesday, April 9, 2014

STM results and Second Call for Donations

Hi all,

We now have a preliminary version of PyPy-STM with the JIT, from the new STM documentation page. This PyPy-STM is still not quite useful, failing to top the performance of a regular PyPy by a small margin on most benchmarks, but it's definitely getting there :-) The overheads with the JIT are still a bit too high. (I've been tracking an obscure bug since days. It turned out to be a simple buffer overflow. But if anybody has a clue about why a hardware watchpoint in gdb, set on one of the garbled memory locations, fails to trigger but the memory ends up being modified anyway... and, it turns out, by just a regular pointer write... ideas welcome.)

But I go off-topic :-) The main point of this post is to announce the 2nd Call for Donation about STM. We achieved most of the goals laid out in the first call. We even largely overachieved them in terms of raw performance, even if there are many cases that are unreasonably slow for now. So, after the successful research, we are launching a second proposal about the development part of the project:

  1. Polish PyPy-STM to get a consistently reasonable speed, 25%-40% slower than a regular JITted PyPy when running single-threaded code. Of course it is supposed to scale nicely as long as there are no user-visible conflicts.

  2. Focus on developing the Python-facing interface: both internal things (e.g. do dictionaries need to be more TM-friendly in general?) as well as directly visible things (e.g. some profiler-like interface to explore common conflicts in a program).

  3. Regular multithreaded code should benefit out of the box, but the final goal is to explore and tweak some existing non-multithreaded frameworks and improve their TM-friendliness. So existing programs using Twisted or Stackless, for example, should run on multiple cores without any major change.

See the full call for more details! I'd like to thank Remi Meier for getting involved. And a big thank you to everybody who contributed money on the first call. It took more time than anticipated, but it's there in good but rough shape. Now it needs a lot of polishing :-)



Dmitrey said...

it would be good to have compiled stm version for something more recent than Ubuntu 12.04, e.g. 14.04, preferably with numpy included, to simplify numpy installation. Or, maybe, that version for 12.04 works with 14.04?

Armin Rigo said...

Yes, Ubuntu 14.04 seems to run fine any PyPy compiled for Ubuntu 12.04. Numpy probably works in pypy-stm, but being a module that accesses matrix data as "external" raw memory, it does not support multi-core execution.