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[Gcl-devel] Re: sgc

From: Matt Kaufmann
Subject: [Gcl-devel] Re: sgc
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004 09:59:49 -0500

Thank you for the explanation!

To answer your question on this:

>> > /projects/acl2/v2-9/logs/make-regression-gcl-no-sgc-sept18.log:
>> > 8145.710u 178.200s 2:24:34.97 95.9%        0+0k 0+0io 13199596pf+0w
>> > 
>> > /projects/acl2/v2-9/logs/make-regression-gcl-normal-sept13.log
>> > 7850.740u 174.860s 2:32:52.67 87.4%        0+0k 0+0io 12412712pf+0w
>> > 
>> Thank you for this.  Is the first timing roughly equal to the older
>> gcl timings just before the significant performance gain with recent
>> versions? 

No, the first timing is still much faster than the old gcl timings.  For
example, a regression suite timing on ACL2 2.8 (which probably is reasonably
comparable for timing purposes to the "2.9 beta" timings above) built on
gcl-2.6.1-34pre was:

10993.450u 98.050s 3:10:31.19 97.0%     0+0k 0+0io 9539832pf+0w

Thanks --
-- Matt
   Cc: address@hidden, address@hidden
   From: Camm Maguire <address@hidden>
   Date: 01 Oct 2004 10:53:07 -0400
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   Matt Kaufmann <address@hidden> writes:

   > Bob, Camm --
   > This is just a FYI, in case you're interested.
   > Awhile back, the idea seems to have arisen to leave SGC off in some cases. 
   > include excerpts from some emails below.)  I just thought I'd mention that 
   > ACL2 experiment suggests it may be best to leave SGC on for ACL2.  I think 
   > source code was _very_ similar for the two regression runs, and it's been a
   > long time since I've seen a total user time over 7900, but I'll rerun with
   > identical source code if you care enough.
   > /projects/acl2/v2-9/logs/make-regression-gcl-no-sgc-sept18.log:
   > 8145.710u 178.200s 2:24:34.97 95.9%        0+0k 0+0io 13199596pf+0w
   > /projects/acl2/v2-9/logs/make-regression-gcl-normal-sept13.log
   > 7850.740u 174.860s 2:32:52.67 87.4%        0+0k 0+0io 12412712pf+0w

   Thank you for this.  Is the first timing roughly equal to the older
   gcl timings just before the significant performance gain with recent

   > Here are the relevant excerpts from Bob's July 17 email.
   > [Camm]
   >   > SGC is better when a large product is 'finalized' for use by the user 
   >   > will make minimal allocations by comparison to the system as a whole.

   As we can see, the issue is predicting what the likely use will be in
   the future, i.e. whether the statement above will hold or not.  

   Before *optimize-maximum-pages*, there was no attempt in GCL to make
   such predictions on the basis of run-time gathered statistics.  As you
   already know, SGC tries to limit the size of the 'effective heap',
   making each gc call faster, by marking large sections of memory
   read-only and static.  Some pages of each type are allocated
   read-write for the working set (subject to GC).  The user can set
   these amounts with 'allocate-sgc, but the defaults are (by now old)
   hardwired constants, presumably tuned by hand to an earlier version of
   acl2 by Dr. Schelter.  *optimize-maximum-pages* will now adjust these
   too with a little runtime, which in experience seems rather quick, to
   attempt to minimize *the number of gc calls* times the heap size ~
   total gc time.  These two items appear to be working well together at
   present (i.e. are no longer interfering pathologically).  

   So the crux of the sgc/no-sgc issue now appears to hinge on the
   tradeoff between a smaller effective heap, and the overhead sgc
   incurs when the hole is overrun.  If one never overruns the hole, sgc
   should always be a win, though a small one if one is writing to the
   whole heap anyway.  If one overruns the hole repeatedly, sgc will
   always lose, at least slightly.

   Needless to say, this situation can be improved in the future, time
   permitting, in at least two ways -- one can collect statistics on the
   hole overrun overhead and disable/enable sgc as deemed optimal.  More
   significantly, per-page write statistics could be collected to detect
   the completion of major heap operations, and turn-on sgc using exactly
   the pages still being actively written.  All of this is akin to making
   GCL's gc a bit more generational than it already is.

   In general, there is a notable advantage to being compact -- Matt
   found as much when he decided to turn off *optimize-maximum-pages*
   until the final save.  But it is typically a much smaller gain in
   today's memory environment than the penalty incurred in spinning gc
   operations in a small space.

   I appreciate any insights any of you may have as your work proceeds on
   strategies for GCL improvements.

   Take care,

   > [Bob]
   >   I agree.  And there are also cases when SGC is better for a finalized 
   >   in which the user will make huge allocations.  The Nqthm or ACL2 systems 
   >   general in a way that Lisp is itself: the user is able to define an 
   >   number of definitions and prove an unlimited number of theorems about the
   >   concepts defined; those proofs may involve huge allocations.  Sgc used 
to be
   >   of enormous value for the Nqthm user, because sgc so reduced paging when
   >   available ram was 1mb or so.  sgc's value today, at least on the Nqthm
   >   examples we have, seems greatly reduced now, even nonexistent, since 
   >   examples can be done entirely in ram on a typical workstation.  Today I'd
   >   recommend to someone using Nqthm or ACL2 today to leave sgc off unless 
   >   starts to see serious swapping, giving the very fine advance that
   >   optimize-maximum-pages provides over the miserly gc allocation strategy 
   >   GCL used to have.  The value of sgc may well return for Nqthm or ACL2 or
   >   similar systems with the advent of 64 bit machines and Lisp images
   >   considerably in excess of the available ram.  For example, the fm9001
   >   microprocessor, verified in the Nqthm example fm9001-replay.events, is 
   >   less than 1% the size of a contemporary commercial microprocessor.  A 
   >   for a contemporary processor might involve dozens of gigabytes of conses.
   > -- Matt

   Camm Maguire                                         address@hidden
   "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."  --  Baha'u'llah

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