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Re: Use more threads.

by renodino (Curate)
on Feb 27, 2006 at 16:05 UTC ( #533058=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Use more threads.

renodino has done some testing with home built versions of Perl for Linux...

Clarification: I didn't build a new Perl on Linux. Using the stock Perl 5.8.6 in FC4, I ran some tests. Linux died at 289 threads. I also ran tests on Solaris 10 (which dies at ~1900 threads, and starts thrashing the swapper around 1300 threads), and OS X 10.3.9, which dies around 450 threads.

Perhaps as importantly, I found a link that sheds a bit more light on the subject.

My current approach (which I hope to build/test today) is to add a couple new APIs to threads: set_stack_size() and get_stack_size(). The added code is pretty simple, though it may not be applicable to the root thread (the various editbin/setrlimit/ulimit solutions may address that issue).

Its important to point out that this issue isn't just about using more threads (tho thats my personal requirement); given the huge default stack size on Win32 and Linux, one of the biggest complaints of threaded Perl apps - its voracious memory appetite - may be addressed by just trimming the stack reserve down to a reasonable/minimal number.


After adding the set/get_stack_size() methods and applying the associated changes to the CreateThread()/pthread_attr_setstacksize() calls, and then calling set_stack_size(65536), I can crank out 1200 threads on Win32 (tho theres definitely some swapping kicking in at around 900 threads).

Likewise, on Linux FC4, I can get 1000 threads on a fairly small machine (an old 1GHz laptop w/512 meg), tho it starts thrashing at around 1000 threads. And the vsz report from ps shows a vast reduction in memory usage. (Since I can't get more than 120 threads using the original threads on Win32, I can't really make a useful memory usage comparison)

Note that in both cases, I'm using the stock perl 5.8.6 wo/ any ulimit'ing or editbin'ing.

I'm going to try it on OS X and Solaris and see what shakes out.

FWIW: my method for doing this was to copy the threads and threads::shared source directories into their own, and rename everything to "morethreads" package root. The module tests don't seem to pass w/ flying colors, but it may be related to using the unofficial threads::shared 0.95 against perl 5.8.6.

Update 2:

After testing on OS X 10.3.9 and Solaris 10, they both seem a bit less sensitive to the stack setting. Both reported ulimit -s == 8192 (ie, 8Meg).

When I ran a comparison test on OS X between stock threads, and my hacked morethreads, the overal performance was about the same, tho ps -o vsz reported about half as much memory being used when I set_stack_size(65536). So I'm assuming something in either the perl build, or the OS is throttling the per-thread stack size.

On Solaris, the test showed an even closer vsz between stock and hacked threads. Stock was always about 15-20 megs higher than hacked, so I'm assuming theres a build or OS limit there as well.

Following up on my Linux tests, ulimit -s reported 10240. The vsz differences were dramatic: at 200 threads, the stock version reported nearly 2Gig, while the hacked version reported around 125Meg.

Comment on Re: Use more threads.
Re^2: Use more threads.
by idsfa (Vicar) on Feb 27, 2006 at 19:32 UTC

    The ulimit information is barking up the wrong tree. The posix thread stack size routines are the right way to go. ulimit will limit the maximum size of the stack, not the initial reserve. While limiting the maximum size will place a hard upper limit on the memory footprint, it will do nothing to reduce the lower limit. To do that, you must reduce the stack reserve (as the original post says). You can set the initial reserve at link time with the ld option --stack, which defaults to 2MB in the GNU binutils.

    To modify this in the binary on a *nix box, you can "relink" it:

    $ ld --stack 0x1000 perl -o tperl $ nm -s perl | grep stack_reserve 00200000 A __size_of_stack_reserve__ $ nm -s tperl | grep stack_reserve 00001000 A __size_of_stack_reserve__

    The intelligent reader will judge for himself. Without examining the facts fully and fairly, there is no way of knowing whether vox populi is really vox dei, or merely vox asinorum. — Cyrus H. Gordon

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