what's the point of rpython?

Paul Rubin http
Thu Jan 22 04:25:13 CET 2009

Ross Ridge <rridge at csclub.uwaterloo.ca> writes:
> Scott David Daniels  <Scott.Daniels at Acm.Org> wrote:
> >The opcode cannot simply talk to its cache, it must either go directly
> >to off-chip memory or communicate to other processors that it (and it
> >alone) owns the increment target.

> 	The cache coherency mechanism automatically prevents two or
> 	more processors that have cached the same area of memory from
> 	simultaneously modifying data in that area.
> The same cache coherency mechanism that prevents ordinary "unlocked"
> instructions from simulanteously modifying the same cache line on
> two different processors also provides the guarantee with "locked"
> instructions.  There's no additional hardware locks involved, and no
> additional communication required.

The cache coherency mechanism is what Scott described as
"communicat[ing] to other processors that it (and it alone) owns the
increment target".  The cache coherency mechanism is not a trivial
thing at all.  It introduces its own hazards and delays, and it is
getting more complicated all the time as processors and caches get
faster and larger.  Some time ago, cpu's hit their megahertz limits
and that's why we're using multicores now.  Some PL researchers think
cache coherency is going to be the next limit, and are advocating
languages like Erlang, which avoid use of shared memory and have
separate heaps per thread; or alternatively, approaches like the MS
Singularity research OS which relies on something like a linear type
system to statically ensure that a given object is accessible to only
one thread at a time.  (That approach allows transferring objects
between threads with no locks or copying required).

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