Working notes on spark profiling

This page is just working notes, not really intended for public consumption (though you are welcome to peek). It records work on spark profiling, led by Tim Harris.

  • Add ticky calls, expressed as macros in HC files, which either generates instrumentation calls, or calls to spark things. The Haskell program isn't recompiled.
  • The instrumentation calls record, in an in-memory log, the following events, each time-stamped (allocation bytes or processor time)
    • thunk allocation( address of thunk, alloc site-id ) [hack to ensure site-id is unique across compilation units]
    • thunk entry( address )
    • thunk update( address )
    • start running thread( thread id, time )
    • stop running thread( thread id )
  • At GC time, process the in-memory log, generate unique ids for each thunk (stable across the whole run), output text version into log file
  • Off-line processing consumes log file and decides which allocation site should be a spark. Heuristics:
    • decent delay between allocation and entry
    • decent granularity
    • most instances are entered (e.g. 7/8)
  • Take log, use thread-switching info to generate a log for each individual thread, with time stamps virtualised to that thread's life only. Now we have a per-thread log.
  • Also use log to generate parallelism profiles under wildly optimistic assuptions of cost
  • Consider
    let x = z+1
        y = z+1
    in p + x + y
    If (+) evaluates left-right, the log will show that
    • x is expensive but y is cheap (because z is evaluated by x)
    • x isn't need until some time after its allocation (because of the cost of evaluating p)
    Hence we'll decide to spark x but not y... which is precisel what we want!!

But if (+) evaluates the right-left, we won't spark either x or y! (You can use seq to control this, of course.)

  • Note [Tension between thunks and parallelism]
          let t2 = fib 40
          in case fib 40 of r1 -> case t2 of r2 -> r1+r2
          case fib 40 of r1 -> case fib 40 of r2 -> r1+r2
    GHC will convert the former to the latter, which will lose sparking opportunities
  • Idea
    	case f x of (,) -> let y = e in body
    	let y = e in case f x of (,) -> body
    This affects (up or down) the number of variables saved across the case. But it's GOOD for parallelism because y is allocated sooner.
  • Idea: display info about thunks that are
    • always entered
    • never entered
    Feedback to programmer; give more clues to strictness analyser.


  • Making the profile information robust, that it can be used on the *source* program, perhaps after small modifications
  • Address Note [Tension between thunks and parallelism]
Last modified 13 years ago Last modified on Nov 9, 2006 12:48:40 PM