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digitalmars.D - Shared

reply dsimcha <dsimcha yahoo.com> writes:
I've reread the relevant TDPL chapter and I still don't quite understand the
following:

1.  What is shared?  Is it simply a piece of syntactic salt to make it hard to
share data across threads by accident, or is there more to it?

2.  Is it fully or mostly implemented?
Aug 01 2010
parent reply dsimcha <dsimcha yahoo.com> writes:
== Quote from dsimcha (dsimcha yahoo.com)'s article
 I've reread the relevant TDPL chapter and I still don't quite understand the
 following:
 1.  What is shared?  Is it simply a piece of syntactic salt to make it hard to
 share data across threads by accident, or is there more to it?
 2.  Is it fully or mostly implemented?

Sorry, accidentally submitted the post before I was done. 3. How does casting to and from shared work? Under what circumstances can unshared data be cast to shared? Under what circumstances can shared data implicitly be cast to unshared?
Aug 01 2010
next sibling parent Graham St Jack <Graham.StJack internode.on.net> writes:
On 02/08/10 02:16, dsimcha wrote:
 == Quote from dsimcha (dsimcha yahoo.com)'s article
    
 I've reread the relevant TDPL chapter and I still don't quite understand the
 following:
 1.  What is shared?  Is it simply a piece of syntactic salt to make it hard to
 share data across threads by accident, or is there more to it?
 2.  Is it fully or mostly implemented?
      

3. How does casting to and from shared work? Under what circumstances can unshared data be cast to shared? Under what circumstances can shared data implicitly be cast to unshared?

I too have had a lot of trouble using shared, but I am currently giving it another serious try. My observations so far are that the compiler's handling of it is a bit buggy, but that it seems to more-or-less work, and will be usable when the necessary library code is updated to use it - specifically Mutex, Condition and concurrency's Mailbox. You are not supposed to need to routinely cast to-and-from shared. Value and immutable types should implicitly convert to/from shared, and synchronized types should implicitly convert to shared. So for example, a string is ok because it is a value and a pointer to immutable data. I have found the following approach to work ok: import std.stdio; import std.traits; import std.conv; synchronized class Channel(T) if (!hasAliasing!T) { void add(T t) { } } alias Channel!string MyChannel1; alias shared MyChannel1 MyChannel; void main() { auto channel = new MyChannel(); channel.add("hello"); } The key trick for me was to use an alias to wrap the shared up with the data type. For some reason the compiler didn't like it when I used a templated type, but the second layer of aliases placated it - hopefully that is a bug that will be fixed soon. I hope that helps. -- Graham St Jack
Aug 02 2010
prev sibling parent "Steven Schveighoffer" <schveiguy yahoo.com> writes:
On Sun, 01 Aug 2010 12:46:58 -0400, dsimcha <dsimcha yahoo.com> wrote:

 == Quote from dsimcha (dsimcha yahoo.com)'s article
 I've reread the relevant TDPL chapter and I still don't quite  
 understand the
 following:
 1.  What is shared?  Is it simply a piece of syntactic salt to make it  
 hard to
 share data across threads by accident, or is there more to it?
 2.  Is it fully or mostly implemented?

Sorry, accidentally submitted the post before I was done. 3. How does casting to and from shared work? Under what circumstances can unshared data be cast to shared? Under what circumstances can shared data implicitly be cast to unshared?

Let me preface this by saying I don't actually use shared on a daily basis, but I'll try and respond how I think it works: 1. It indicates to the compiler that multiple threads have direct access to the data. But more importantly, the *lack* of shared means that exactly one thread has direct access to the data. I see shared not as great a feature as unshared is. For an example of optimizations that can be had with unshared data, see the LRU cache for lock-free array appending. I think in terms of technical details, reading from/writing to a shared piece of data requires either a lock, or the compiler will insert a memory barrier around the write to ensure the write is atomic as long as the data written is small enough (I'm very fuzzy on these details, I use the term memory barrier in complete ignorance). Declaring a global variable shared also makes it a true global (not thread-local). I don't know what was decided on for shared classes/structs, I vaguely remember that the consensus was to require declaring the entire class shared at class definition, but I could be wrong. 2. I do not think it's fully implemented, but I think the intention is that it's fully implemented, so submit bugs against what it doesn't do if you find any. 3. *NO* implicit casting of shared<->unshared is allowed for references. To do so would violate the shared transitivity. It is ok to copy value-types to/from shared. Think of the relationship between unshared and shared in the same way as the relationship between mutable and immutable. I think you can cast shared to unshared if you *know* that no other thread will be able to access the data pointed at by the shared value. For instance, you can never take a reference to a shared global and cast that reference to unshared, because globals are always available to all threads. You can cast unshared to shared if you know that you have no other unshared references to the same data in your local thread. This one can be much easier to prove. Neither cast is statically checked or verified, it's up to you as the programmer to ensure these properties. -Steve
Aug 02 2010