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Subject[PATCH v6 1/3] uacce: Add documents for uacce
From: Kenneth Lee <>

Uacce (Unified/User-space-access-intended Accelerator Framework) is
a kernel module targets to provide Shared Virtual Addressing (SVA)
between the accelerator and process.

This patch add document to explain how it works.

Signed-off-by: Kenneth Lee <>
Signed-off-by: Zaibo Xu <>
Signed-off-by: Zhou Wang <>
Signed-off-by: Zhangfei Gao <>
Documentation/misc-devices/uacce.rst | 297 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 297 insertions(+)
create mode 100644 Documentation/misc-devices/uacce.rst

diff --git a/Documentation/misc-devices/uacce.rst b/Documentation/misc-devices/uacce.rst
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..05c1e09
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/misc-devices/uacce.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,297 @@
+.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0
+Introduction of Uacce
+Uacce (Unified/User-space-access-intended Accelerator Framework) targets to
+provide Shared Virtual Addressing (SVA) between accelerators and processes.
+So accelerator can access any data structure of the main cpu.
+This differs from the data sharing between cpu and io device, which share
+data content rather than address.
+Because of the unified address, hardware and user space of process can
+share the same virtual address in the communication.
+Uacce takes the hardware accelerator as a heterogeneous processor, while
+IOMMU share the same CPU page tables and as a result the same translation
+from va to pa.
+ __________________________ __________________________
+ | | | |
+ | User application (CPU) | | Hardware Accelerator |
+ |__________________________| |__________________________|
+ | |
+ | va | va
+ V V
+ __________ __________
+ | | | |
+ | MMU | | IOMMU |
+ |__________| |__________|
+ | |
+ | |
+ V pa V pa
+ _______________________________________
+ | |
+ | Memory |
+ |_______________________________________|
+Uacce is the kernel module, taking charge of iommu and address sharing.
+The user drivers and libraries are called WarpDrive.
+A virtual concept, queue, is used for the communication. It provides a
+FIFO-like interface. And it maintains a unified address space between the
+application and all involved hardware.
+ ___________________ ________________
+ | | user API | |
+ | WarpDrive library | ------------> | user driver |
+ |___________________| |________________|
+ | |
+ | |
+ | queue fd |
+ | |
+ | |
+ v |
+ ___________________ _________ |
+ | | | | | mmap memory
+ | Other framework | | uacce | | r/w interface
+ | crypto/nic/others | |_________| |
+ |___________________| |
+ | | |
+ | register | register |
+ | | |
+ | | |
+ | _________________ __________ |
+ | | | | | |
+ ------------- | Device Driver | | IOMMU | |
+ |_________________| |__________| |
+ | |
+ | V
+ | ___________________
+ | | |
+ -------------------------- | Device(Hardware) |
+ |___________________|
+How does it work
+Uacce uses mmap and IOMMU to play the trick.
+Uacce create a chrdev for every device registered to it. New queue is
+created when user application open the chrdev. The file descriptor is used
+as the user handle of the queue.
+The accelerator device present itself as an Uacce object, which exports as
+chrdev to the user space. The user application communicates with the
+hardware by ioctl (as control path) or share memory (as data path).
+The control path to the hardware is via file operation, while data path is
+via mmap space of the queue fd.
+The queue file address space:
+enum uacce_qfrt {
+ UACCE_QFRT_MMIO = 0, /* device mmio region */
+ UACCE_QFRT_DKO = 1, /* device kernel-only region */
+ UACCE_QFRT_DUS = 2, /* device user share region */
+ UACCE_QFRT_SS = 3, /* static shared memory (for non-sva devices) */
+All regions are optional and differ from device type to type. The
+communication protocol is wrapped by the user driver.
+The device mmio region is mapped to the hardware mmio space. It is generally
+used for doorbell or other notification to the hardware. It is not fast enough
+as data channel.
+The device kernel-only region is necessary only if the device IOMMU has no
+PASID support or it cannot send kernel-only address request. In this case, if
+kernel need to share memory with the device, kernel has to share iova address
+space with the user process via mmap, to prevent iova conflict.
+The device user share region is used for share data buffer between user process
+and device. It can be merged into other regions. But a separated region can help
+on device state management. For example, the device can be started when this
+region is mapped.
+The static share virtual memory region is used for share data buffer with the
+device and can be shared among queues / devices.
+Its size is set according to the application requirement.
+The user API
+We adopt a polling style interface in the user space: ::
+ int wd_request_queue(struct wd_queue *q);
+ void wd_release_queue(struct wd_queue *q);
+ int wd_send(struct wd_queue *q, void *req);
+ int wd_recv(struct wd_queue *q, void **req);
+ int wd_recv_sync(struct wd_queue *q, void **req);
+ void wd_flush(struct wd_queue *q);
+wd_recv_sync() is a wrapper to its non-sync version. It will trap into
+kernel and wait until the queue become available.
+If the queue do not support SVA/SVM. The following helper functions
+can be used to create Static Virtual Share Memory: ::
+ void *wd_reserve_memory(struct wd_queue *q, size_t size);
+ int wd_share_reserved_memory(struct wd_queue *q,
+ struct wd_queue *target_q);
+The user API is not mandatory. It is simply a suggestion and hint what the
+kernel interface is supposed to be.
+The user driver
+The queue file mmap space will need a user driver to wrap the communication
+protocol. Uacce provides some attributes in sysfs for the user driver to
+match the right accelerator accordingly.
+More details in Documentation/ABI/testing/sysfs-driver-uacce.
+The Uacce register API
+The register API is defined in uacce.h.
+struct uacce_interface {
+ char name[32];
+ unsigned int flags;
+ struct uacce_ops *ops;
+According to the IOMMU capability, uacce_interface flags can be:
+ Support shared virtual address
+ This is used for device which does not support pasid.
+struct uacce_device *uacce_register(struct device *parent,
+ struct uacce_interface *interface);
+void uacce_unregister(struct uacce_device *uacce);
+uacce_register results can be:
+a. If uacce module is not compiled, ERR_PTR(-ENODEV)
+b. Succeed with the desired flags
+c. Succeed with the negotiated flags, for example
+ uacce_interface.flags = UACCE_DEV_SVA but uacce->flags = ~UACCE_DEV_SVA
+So user driver need check return value as well as the negotiated uacce->flags.
+The Memory Sharing Model
+The perfect form of a Uacce device is to support SVM/SVA. We built this upon
+Jean Philippe Brucker's SVA patches. [1]
+If the hardware support UACCE_DEV_SVA, the user process's page table is
+shared to the opened queue. So the device can access any address in the
+process address space.
+And it can raise a page fault if the physical page is not available yet.
+It can also access the address in the kernel space, which is referred by
+another page table particular to the kernel. Most of IOMMU implementation can
+handle this by a tag on the address request of the device. For example, ARM
+SMMU uses SSV bit to indicate that the address request is for kernel or user
+Queue file regions can be used:
+UACCE_QFRT_MMIO: device mmio region (map to user)
+UACCE_QFRT_DUS: device user share (map to dev and user)
+If the device does not support UACCE_DEV_SVA, Uacce allow only one process at
+the same time. DMA API cannot be used as well, since Uacce will create an
+unmanaged iommu_domain for the device.
+Queue file regions can be used:
+UACCE_QFRT_MMIO: device mmio region (map to user)
+UACCE_QFRT_DKO: device kernel-only (map to dev, no user)
+UACCE_QFRT_DUS: device user share (map to dev and user)
+UACCE_QFRT_SS: static shared memory (map to devs and user)
+The Fork Scenario
+For a process with allocated queues and shared memory, what happen if it forks
+a child?
+The fd of the queue will be duplicated on folk, so the child can send request
+to the same queue as its parent. But the requests which is sent from processes
+except for the one who opens the queue will be blocked.
+It is recommended to add O_CLOEXEC to the queue file.
+The queue mmap space has a VM_DONTCOPY in its VMA. So the child will lose all
+those VMAs.
+This is a reason why Uacce does not adopt the mode used in VFIO and
+InfiniBand. Both solutions can set any user pointer for hardware sharing.
+But they cannot support fork when the dma is in process. Or the
+"Copy-On-Write" procedure will make the parent process lost its physical
+Difference to the VFIO and IB framework
+The essential function of Uacce is to let the device access the user
+address directly. There are many device drivers doing the same in the kernel.
+And both VFIO and IB can provide similar functions in framework level.
+But Uacce has a different goal: "share address space". It is
+not taken the request to the accelerator as an enclosure data structure. It
+takes the accelerator as another thread of the same process. So the
+accelerator can refer to any address used by the process.
+Both VFIO and IB are taken this as "memory sharing", not "address sharing".
+They care more on sharing the block of memory. But if there is an address
+stored in the block and referring to another memory region. The address may
+not be valid.
+By adding more constraints to the VFIO and IB framework, in some sense, we may
+achieve a similar goal. But we gave it up finally. Both VFIO and IB have extra
+assumption which is unnecessary to Uacce. They may hurt each other if we
+try to merge them together.
+VFIO manages resource of a hardware as a "virtual device". If a device need to
+serve a separated application. It must isolate the resource as a separate
+virtual device. And the life cycle of the application and virtual device are
+unnecessary unrelated. And most concepts, such as bus, driver, probe and
+so on, to make it as a "device" is unnecessary either. And the logic added to
+VFIO to make address sharing do no help on "creating a virtual device".
+IB creates a "verbs" standard for sharing memory region to another remote
+entity. Most of these verbs are to make memory region between entities to be
+synchronized. This is not what accelerator need. Accelerator is in the same
+memory system with the CPU. It refers to the same memory system among CPU and
+devices. So the local memory terms/verbs are good enough for it. Extra "verbs"
+are not necessary. And its queue (like queue pair in IB) is the communication
+channel direct to the accelerator hardware. There is nothing about memory
+Further, both VFIO and IB use the "pin" (get_user_page) way to lock local
+memory in place. This is flexible. But it can cause other problems. For
+example, if the user process fork a child process. The COW procedure may make
+the parent process lost its pages which are sharing with the device. These may
+be fixed in the future. But is not going to be easy. (There is a discussion
+about this on Linux Plumbers Conference 2018 [2])
+So we choose to build the solution directly on top of IOMMU interface. IOMMU
+is the essential way for device and process to share their page mapping from
+the hardware perspective. It will be safe to create a software solution on
+this assumption. Uacce manages the IOMMU interface for the accelerator
+device, so the device driver can export some of the resources to the user
+space. Uacce than can make sure the device and the process have the same
+address space.
+.. [1]
+.. [2]
 \ /
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