[Haskell-cafe] Can reallyUnsafePtrEquality give false positives?

Michael Walker mike at barrucadu.co.uk
Thu Nov 23 12:48:24 UTC 2017

Thanks for the feedback, all.

For some more context, I have a concurrency testing library[1], which
uses an algorithm called DPOR to reduce the space of possible
schedules it needs to explore.  There's an algorithm called MCR which
has the potential to reduce this space significantly further.  One of
the differences in MCR is taking into account reference equality of
values written to shared mutable variables.

I can't just use Eq because (a) putMVar/etc doesn't have an Eq
constraint in the type, and (b) that would change strictness.  So I
looked to reallyUnsafePtrEquality# as a possible solution.  In this
setting, false negatives are fine.  If the algorithm thinks two equal
values are distinct, then it doesn't run as fast as it could
potentially do, but should still outperform DPOR due to its other
improvements.  But false positives are not fine, and lead to

An alternative is just using "\_ _ -> False", but if
reallyUnsafePtrEquality# will sometimes identify two equal things
without false positives, then it's effectively a free performance
boost in the cases where it happens to work.

> - Extending the previous scenario, if purity is violated in the
>   evaluation of the initially shared thunk, then x and y may become
>   distinct values later on.

Fortunately, I don't need to worry about impure actions leading to a
shared thunk evaluating to different things in different places, as
any nondeterminism beyond scheduler nondeterminism and relaxed memory
is already explicitly out of scope.

[1] http://hackage.haskell.org/package/dejafu

Michael Walker (http://www.barrucadu.co.uk)

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