Patchwork [17/17] powerpc: Documentation for transactional memory on powerpc

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Submitter Michael Neuling
Date Feb. 13, 2013, 4:31 a.m.
Message ID <1360729895-304-18-git-send-email-mikey@neuling.org>
Download mbox | patch
Permalink /patch/220041/
State Superseded
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Michael Neuling - Feb. 13, 2013, 4:31 a.m.
Signed-off-by: Matt Evans <matt@ozlabs.org>
Signed-off-by: Michael Neuling <mikey@neuling.org>
---
 Documentation/powerpc/transactional_memory.txt |  175 ++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 175 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 Documentation/powerpc/transactional_memory.txt

Patch

diff --git a/Documentation/powerpc/transactional_memory.txt b/Documentation/powerpc/transactional_memory.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..c907be4
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/powerpc/transactional_memory.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,175 @@ 
+Transactional Memory support
+============================
+
+POWER kernel support for this feature is currently limited to supporting
+its use by user programs.  It is not currently used by the kernel itself.
+
+This file aims to sum up how it is supported by Linux and what behaviour you
+can expect from your user programs.
+
+
+Basic overview
+==============
+
+Hardware Transactional Memory is supported on POWER8 processors, and is a
+feature that enables a different form of atomic memory access.  Several new
+instructions are presented to delimit transactions; transactions are
+guaranteed to either complete atomically or roll back and undo any partial
+changes.
+
+A simple transaction looks like this:
+
+begin_move_money:
+  tbegin
+  beq   abort_handler
+
+  ld    r4, SAVINGS_ACCT(r3)
+  ld    r5, CURRENT_ACCT(r3)
+  subi  r5, r5, 1
+  addi  r4, r4, 1
+  std   r4, SAVINGS_ACCT(r3)
+  std   r5, CURRENT_ACCT(r3)
+
+  tend
+
+  b     continue
+
+abort_handler:
+  ... test for odd failures ...
+
+  /* Retry the transaction if it failed because it conflicted with
+   * someone else: */
+  b     begin_move_money
+
+
+The 'tbegin' instruction denotes the start point, and 'tend' the end point.
+Between these points the processor is in 'Transactional' state; any memory
+references will complete in one go if there are no conflicts with other
+transactional or non-transactional accesses within the system.  In this
+example, the transaction completes as though it were normal straight-line code
+IF no other processor has touched SAVINGS_ACCT(r3) or CURRENT_ACCT(r3); an
+atomic move of money from the current account to the savings account has been
+performed.  Even though the normal ld/std instructions are used (note no
+lwarx/stwcx), either *both* SAVINGS_ACCT(r3) and CURRENT_ACCT(r3) will be
+updated, or neither will be updated.
+
+If, in the meantime, there is a conflict with the locations accessed by the
+transaction, the transaction will be aborted by the CPU.  Register and memory
+state will roll back to that at the 'tbegin', and control will continue from
+'tbegin+4'.  The branch to abort_handler will be taken this second time; the
+abort handler can check the cause of the failure, and retry.
+
+Checkpointed registers include all GPRs, FPRs, VRs/VSRs, LR, CCR/CR, CTR, FPCSR
+and a few other status/flag regs; see the ISA for details.
+
+Causes of transaction aborts
+============================
+
+- Conflicts with cache lines used by other processors
+- Signals
+- Context switches
+- See the ISA for full documentation of everything that will abort transactions.
+
+
+Syscalls
+========
+
+Performing syscalls from within transaction is not recommended, and can lead
+to unpredictable results.
+
+Syscalls do not by design abort transactions, but beware: The kernel code will
+not be running in transactional state.  The effect of syscalls will always
+remain visible, but depending on the call they may abort your transaction as a
+side-effect, read soon-to-be-aborted transactional data that should not remain
+invisible, etc.  If you constantly retry a transaction that constantly aborts
+itself by calling a syscall, you'll have a livelock & make no progress.
+
+Simple syscalls (e.g. sigprocmask()) "could" be OK.  Even things like write()
+from, say, printf() should be OK as long as the kernel does not access any
+memory that was accessed transactionally.
+
+Consider any syscalls that happen to work as debug-only -- not recommended for
+production use.  Best to queue them up till after the transaction is over.
+
+
+Signals
+=======
+
+Delivery of signals (both sync and async) during transactions provides a second
+thread state (ucontext/mcontext) to represent the second transactional register
+state.  Signal delivery 'treclaim's to capture both register states, so signals
+abort transactions.  The usual ucontext_t passed to the signal handler
+represents the checkpointed/original register state; the signal appears to have
+arisen at 'tbegin+4'.
+
+If the sighandler ucontext has uc_link set, a second ucontext has been
+delivered.  For future compatibility the MSR.TS field should be checked to
+determine the transactional state -- if so, the second ucontext in uc->uc_link
+represents the active transactional registers at the point of the signal.
+
+For 64-bit processes, uc->uc_mcontext.regs->msr is a full 64-bit MSR and its TS
+field shows the transactional mode.
+
+For 32-bit processes, the mcontext's MSR register is only 32 bits; the top 32
+bits are stored in the MSR of the second ucontext, i.e. in
+uc->uc_link->uc_mcontext.regs->msr.  The top word contains the transactional
+state TS.
+
+However, basic signal handlers don't need to be aware of transactions
+and simply returning from the handler will deal with things correctly:
+
+Transaction-aware signal handlers can read the transactional register state
+from the second ucontext.  This will be necessary for crash handlers to
+determine, for example, the address of the instruction causing the SIGSEGV.
+
+Example signal handler:
+
+    void crash_handler(int sig, siginfo_t *si, void *uc)
+    {
+      ucontext_t *ucp = uc;
+      ucontext_t *transactional_ucp = ucp->uc_link;
+
+      if (ucp_link) {
+        u64 msr = ucp->uc_mcontext.regs->msr;
+        /* May have transactional ucontext! */
+#ifndef __powerpc64__
+        msr |= ((u64)transactional_ucp->uc_mcontext.regs->msr) << 32;
+#endif
+        if (MSR_TM_ACTIVE(msr)) {
+           /* Yes, we crashed during a transaction.  Oops. */
+   fprintf(stderr, "Transaction to be restarted at 0x%llx, but "
+                           "crashy instruction was at 0x%llx\n",
+                           ucp->uc_mcontext.regs->nip,
+                           transactional_ucp->uc_mcontext.regs->nip);
+        }
+      }
+
+      fix_the_problem(ucp->dar);
+    }
+
+
+Failure cause codes used by kernel
+==================================
+
+These are defined in <asm/reg.h>, and distinguish different reasons why the
+kernel aborted a transaction:
+
+ TM_CAUSE_RESCHED       Thread was rescheduled.
+ TM_CAUSE_FAC_UNAV      FP/VEC/VSX unavailable trap.
+ TM_CAUSE_SYSCALL       Currently unused; future syscalls that must abort
+                        transactions for consistency will use this.
+ TM_CAUSE_SIGNAL        Signal delivered.
+ TM_CAUSE_MISC          Currently unused.
+
+These can be checked by the user program's abort handler as TEXASR[0:7].
+
+
+GDB
+===
+
+GDB and ptrace are not currently TM-aware.  If one stops during a transaction,
+it looks like the transaction has just started (the checkpointed state is
+presented).  The transaction cannot then be continued and will take the failure
+handler route.  Furthermore, the transactional 2nd register state will be
+inaccessible.  GDB can currently be used on programs using TM, but not sensibly
+in parts within transactions.