[Haskell-cafe] Re: [Haskell] ANNOUNCE: Haskell 2010 Report (final)

Simon Marlow marlowsd at gmail.com
Wed Jul 14 05:35:50 EDT 2010

On 12/07/2010 22:12, John Meacham wrote:

> Yeah, I didn't realize how important the allocator was until I started
> benchmarking, spending time cutting the cost of marking garbage in
> half didn't help nearly as much as shaving a few cycles off the
> allocator. The fast pass of the allocator is actually very fast, each
> object type has its own allocator and free list so allocation is pretty
> much just pulling an object off of the free list, it is already of the
> appropriate size and its constant fields are pre-initialized as they
> arn't cleared during garbage collection. (there is a heuristic that
> claims full pages back to the general pool sometimes).
> The slow path has to grab a full page and initialize it, but that isn't
> really much slower as I can prefetch the cache lines needed so the cost
> is on the order of another cache line fill. (thinking about
> computational complexity in terms of O(cache line fills) rather than
> O(operations) is much more appropriate on todays architectures.).

Right, you can see how important locality is by looking at these graphs 
that Don produced recently:


generational GC these days is important more for locality than for the 
benefits of avoiding repeated tracing.

Speaking of prefetching, we get a lot of benefit in GHC from the 
automatic prefetching done by modern CPUs; I'm not sure how this would 
be affected by having multiple allocation regions.  Manual prefetching 
is almost impossible to get right in my experience, see also 
Nethercote/Mycroft where they did some prefetching experiments with GHC:



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