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SubjectRe: Plain accesses and data races in the Linux Kernel Memory Model
On Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 10:36:58PM +0100, Andrea Parri wrote:
> [...]
>
> > The difficulty with incorporating plain accesses in the memory model
> > is that the compiler has very few constraints on how it treats plain
> > accesses. It can eliminate them, duplicate them, rearrange them,
> > merge them, split them up, and goodness knows what else. To make some
> > sense of this, I have taken the view that a plain access can exist
> > (perhaps multiple times) within a certain bounded region of code.
> > Ordering of two accesses X and Y means that we guarantee at least one
> > instance of the X access must be executed before any instances of the
> > Y access. (This is assuming that neither of the accesses is
> > completely eliminated by the compiler; otherwise there is nothing to
> > order!)
> >
> > After adding some simple definitions for the sets of plain and marked
> > accesses and for compiler barriers, the patch updates the ppo
> > relation. The basic idea here is that ppo can be broken down into
> > categories: memory barriers, overwrites, and dependencies (including
> > dep-rfi).
> >
> > Memory barriers always provide ordering (compiler barriers do
> > not but they have indirect effects).
> >
> > Overwriting always provides ordering. This may seem
> > surprising in the case where both X and Y are plain writes,
> > but in that case the memory model will say that X can be
> > eliminated unless there is at least a compiler barrier between
> > X and Y, and this barrier will enforce the ordering.
> >
> > Some dependencies provide ordering and some don't. Going by
> > cases:
> >
> > An address dependency to a read provides ordering when
> > the source is a marked read, even when the target is a
> > plain read. This is necessary if rcu_dereference() is
> > to work correctly; it is tantamount to assuming that
> > the compiler never speculates address dependencies.
> > However, if the source is a plain read then there is
> > no ordering. This is because of Alpha, which does not
> > respect address dependencies to reads (on Alpha,
> > marked reads include a memory barrier to enforce the
> > ordering but plain reads do not).
>
> Can the compiler (maybe, it does?) transform, at the C or at the "asm"
> level, LB1's P0 in LB2's P0 (LB1 and LB2 are reported below)?
>
> C LB1
>
> {
> int *x = &a;
> }
>
> P0(int **x, int *y)
> {
> int *r0;
>
> r0 = rcu_dereference(*x);
> *r0 = 0;
> smp_wmb();
> WRITE_ONCE(*y, 1);
> }
>
> P1(int **x, int *y, int *b)
> {
> int r0;
>
> r0 = READ_ONCE(*y);
> rcu_assign_pointer(*x, b);
> }
>
> exists (0:r0=b /\ 1:r0=1)
>
>
> C LB2
>
> {
> int *x = &a;
> }
>
> P0(int **x, int *y)
> {
> int *r0;
>
> r0 = rcu_dereference(*x);
> if (*r0)
> *r0 = 0;
> smp_wmb();
> WRITE_ONCE(*y, 1);
> }
>
> P1(int **x, int *y, int *b)
> {
> int r0;
>
> r0 = READ_ONCE(*y);
> rcu_assign_pointer(*x, b);
> }
>
> exists (0:r0=b /\ 1:r0=1)
>
> LB1 and LB2 are data-race free, according to the patch; LB1's "exists"
> clause is not satisfiable, while LB2's "exists" clause is satisfiable.
>
> I'm adding Nick to Cc (I never spoke with him, but from what I see in
> LKML, he must understand compiler better than I currently do... ;-/ )
>
> Andrea
>
>
> >
> > An address dependency to a write always provides
> > ordering. Neither the compiler nor the CPU can
> > speculate the address of a write, because a wrong
> > guess could generate a data race. (Question: do we
> > need to include the case where the source is a plain
> > read?)
> >
> > A data or control dependency to a write provides
> > ordering if the target is a marked write. This is
> > because the compiler is obliged to translate a marked
> > write as a single machine instruction; if it
> > speculates such a write there will be no opportunity
> > to correct a mistake.
> >
> > Dep-rfi (i.e., a data or address dependency from a
> > read to a write which is then read from on the same
> > CPU) provides ordering between the two reads if the
> > target is a marked read. This is again because the
> > marked read will be translated as a machine-level load
> > instruction, and then the CPU will guarantee the
> > ordering.
> >
> > There is a special case (data;rfi) that doesn't
> > provide ordering in itself but can contribute to other
> > orderings. A data;rfi link corresponds to situations
> > where a value is stored in a temporary shared variable
> > and then loaded back again. Since the compiler might
> > choose to eliminate the temporary, its accesses can't
> > be said to be ordered -- but the accesses around it
> > might be. As a simple example, consider:
> >
> > r1 = READ_ONCE(ptr);
> > tmp = r1;
> > r2 = tmp;
> > WRITE_ONCE(*r2, 5);
> >
> > The plain accesses involving tmp don't have any
> > particular ordering requirements, but we do know that
> > the READ_ONCE must be ordered before the WRITE_ONCE.
> > The chain of relations is:
> >
> > [marked] ; data ; rfi ; addr ; [marked]
> >
> > showing that a data;rfi has been inserted into an
> > address dependency from a marked read to a marked
> > write. In general, any number of data;rfi links can
> > be inserted in each of the other kinds of dependencies.

As a more general comment (disclaimer), I'm not sure we want to/can add
all the constraints above. On one hand, for some of them, I ignore the
existence of current use cases in the source (and I don't quite see my-
self encouraging their adoption...); on the other hand, these certainly
do not make the model "simpler" or easier to maintain (in a sound way).

Moreover, I doubt that runtime checkers a la KTSan will ever be able to
assist the developer by supporting these "dependency orderings". [1]

Maybe we could start by adding those orderings that we know are "widely"
relied upon _and_ used by the developers, and later add more/strengthen
the model as needed (where feasible).

Thoughts?

Andrea

[1] https://groups.google.com/d/msg/ktsan/bVZ1c6H2NE0/gapvllYNBQAJ

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