[Pharo-project] Fuel - a fast object deployment tool

Henrik Johansen henrik.s.johansen at veloxit.no
Mon Jun 20 16:53:18 EDT 2011

On 20. juni 2011, at 15:59, Mariano Martinez Peck <marianopeck at gmail.com> wrote:

> One thing I do not see mentioned, and feel could use some attention, is thread safety. (aka other threads altering the graph you are serializing)
> The classic answer would of course be "always run FUEL at highest priority", but if we ever want to move to true multi-core, that's not enough.
> Wow. Were you reading our minds?? hehehe. Yes, reading some of the related work papers while writing our own paper, we read about the "atomicy". How to be atomic while analyzing and serializing? 
> Right now, if the graph changes between the first phase (analysis) and the second phase (serializating) you are screw :) 
> I wonder if Eliot fixed that in Parcels?

The classical way? ;)
What I describe below is one way of achieving atomicity (in the strict sense if using uninterruptible vm functionality) 
> What would be neat is protecting all mutation of objects in the graph with a Mutex/Monitor whose critical section covers the analysis and serialization, i.e. blocking all other processes that wants to mutate objects in the graph untill serialization is complete.
> yes,
> Aside from the behaviour when a marked object is encountered, the process is the same as for immutability, as discussed here:
> http://forum.world.st/immutability-and-become-Was-Re-squeak-dev-immutability-td1597511.html
> You could do this image-side as part of the analyze phase, as Eliot's post suggests,
> Ok, but in order to do I need the immutable bit in the ObjectHeader, right?
Immutability as discussed there? Yes.

Providing serialization thread-saferness? No.
You could also use method wrappers (of all methods mutating state), like other potential users of immutability do currently.
 I'd imagine immutability would be a much lower overhead in the common case of no other threads doing access.

> but it's not entirely safe when:
> A child -> B
> B parent -> A
> 1 . Process1 protects A with Mutex
> 2. Process2 calls method on B which does:
>   a) B parent: C
>   b) (B's tmpRef to A) child: somethingElse *Wait for Mutex*
> 3. Process 1 makes B, C immutable, serializes B with C as parent.
> 4. Process2 changes A child.
> It could of course be argued that is a programming/logic error to update B parent ref before child ref in A, (you'd actually have to do extra work to get that order), still it's a hard one to debug if it does happen.
> (Note to the thread: Following the same logic, I would also say it should be considered an error to keep a mutable cache as part of an immutable object :) )
> In fact, you *could* implement it with immutability, injecting handler contexts with behaviour as described above into existing/new processes for any resulting immutability errors.
> wow. Seems a really complicated stuff to deal with :(
Not really, 2 threads performing 2 sequences of operation in a specific order is really the simplest kind of treading problem one can imagine.
I guess it comes down to the
presenter :/
> Immutability is not yet present in default VMs 
True. It has been done though, and iirc came down to newspeak license (resolved?) and noone to review and actually integrate.
So for a comparative test of approaches it might not be too much work.

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