[Python-Dev] CPython optimization: storing reference counters outside of objects

Artur Siekielski artur.siekielski at gmail.com
Tue May 24 00:07:27 CEST 2011

2011/5/23 Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org>:
>> Anyway, I'd like to have working copy-on-write in CPython - in the
>> presence of GIL I find it important to have multiprocess programs
>> optimized (and I think it's a common idiom that a parent process
>> prepares some big data structure, and child "worker" processes do some
>> read-only quering).
> That is the question though -- *is* the idiom commonly used?

In fact I came to the whole idea with this optimization because the
idiom didn't work for me. I had a big word index built by a parent
process, and than wanted the children to enable querying this index (I
wanted to use all cores on a server). The index consumed 50% of RAM
and after a few minutes the children consumed all RAM.

I find it common in languages like Java to use thread pools, in
Python+Linux we have multiprocess pools if we want to use all cores,
and in this setting having a working copy-on-write is really valuable.

Oh, and using explicit shared memory or mmap is much harder, because
you have to map the whole object graph into bytes.

> It
> doesn't seem to me that it would scale all that far, since it only
> works as long as all forked copies live on the same machine and run on
> the same symmetrical multi-core processor.

? I don't know about multi-processor systems, but on single-processor
multi-core systems (which are common even on servers) and Linux it


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