That's a very good point; I missed it. However, I'm not sure it justifies
throwing the hardware option off the table yet. The performance benefits of
the optimization aren't clear. I think one could safely defer invalidation
handling as long as the processor is hitting in cache anyway (although I
haven't done a formal proof of this yet). I am not sure how much the extra
flexibility of delaying until the MB will buy. Do you know of any
experimental data on this? Also, do you know of current machines that use
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Dan Scales
> Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 5:43 PM
> To: JavaMemoryModel@cs.umd.edu
> Subject: Re: JavaMemoryModel: RE: Question on memory models
> I believe that Sarita's message is misleading in implying that something
> as sophisticated as value prediction is needed on current systems
> to result in the scenario described by Bill Pugh:
> > Initially, Mem = 1, Mem = 3, Mem = 4
> > Processor/thread 1:
> > Mem := 5
> > memory barrier
> > Mem := 2
> > Processor/thread 2:
> > R1 := Mem
> > R2 := Mem[R1]
> > On a number of processor memory models, including the Dec Alpha,
> > these actions could result in processor/thread 2 loading 4 into R2
> > (Seeing the new value for Mem and the old value for Mem).
> Given the Alpha memory model, all you need is a processor/system that
> immediately acknowledges incoming invalidation requests, allowing a
> remote write operation to complete, but does not necessarily process
> the invalidation request until the next memory barrier on the local
> processor. Such an optimization is a logical way to take advantage of
> the Alpha memory model in a large multiprocessor system. In such a
> system, it may make sense to give incoming invalidation requests lower
> priority and only handle them when free cache cycles are available,
> until a memory barrier operation requires that they be processed.
> Given that the handling of invalidation requests may be delayed, the
> scenario described by Bill happens very easily if Mem is initially
> cached on Processor 2, but Mem is not.
> When processor 1 initially modifies Mem, it sends an invalidation
> request to processor 2. Processor 2 immediately acknowledges
> receiving the inval request, but does not immediately process the
> inval request. The write to mem completes when it receives the
> invalidation acknowledgment, and then processor 1 proceeds to write to
> At this point, processor 2 tries to read Mem, gets a cache miss,
> and fetches the new value of Mem, all the while not processing the
> inval request, because it has not executed a memory barrier. When
> processor 2 receives back the data in Mem, it immediately reads
> Mem and sees the stale value of Mem in its cache.
> Thus, this scenario can easily happen for straightforward designs of
> large multiprocessor systems that use relaxed memory models, and does
> not require new techniques such as value prediction. So, I don't
> think there's any way that Java can influence hardware design (which
> Sarita mentioned as a "last resort") so as to eliminate the need for
> the memory barrier on the read side.
> Dan Scales
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This is the JavaMemoryModel mailing list, managed by Majordomo 1.94.4.
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