rcu self-detected stall messages on OMAP3, 4 boards

Paul E. McKenney paulmck at linux.vnet.ibm.com
Sat Sep 22 19:11:22 EDT 2012

On Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 10:25:59PM +0000, Paul Walmsley wrote:
> On Sat, 22 Sep 2012, Paul E. McKenney wrote:
> > And here is a patch.  I am still having trouble reproducing the problem,
> > but figured that I should avoid serializing things.
> Thanks, testing this now on v3.6-rc6.

Very cool, thank you!

>                                        One question though about the patch 
> description:
> > All this begs the question of exactly how a callback-free grace period
> > gets started in the first place.  This can happen due to the fact that
> > CPUs do not necessarily agree on which grace period is in progress.
> > If a CPU still believes that the grace period that just completed is
> > still ongoing, it will believe that it has callbacks that need to wait
> > for another grace period, never mind the fact that the grace period
> > that they were waiting for just completed.  This CPU can therefore
> > erroneously decide to start a new grace period.
> Doesn't this imply that this bug would only affect multi-CPU systems?  

Surprisingly not, at least when running TREE_RCU or TREE_PREEMPT_RCU.
In order to keep lock contention down to a dull roar on larger systems,
TREE_RCU keeps three sets of books: (1) the global state in the rcu_state
structure, (2) the combining-tree per-node state in the rcu_node
structure, and the per-CPU state in the rcu_data structure.  A CPU is
not officially aware of the end of a grace period until it is reflected
in its rcu_data structure.  This has the perhaps-surprising consequence
that the CPU that detected the end of the old grace period might start
a new one before becoming officially aware that the old one ended.

Why not have the CPU inform itself immediately upon noticing that the
old grace period ended?  Deadlock.  The rcu_node locks must be acquired
from leaf towards root, and the CPU is holding the root rcu_node lock
when it notices that the grace period has ended.

I have made this a bit less problematic in the bigrt branch, working
towards a goal of getting RCU into a state where automatic formal
validation might one day be possible.  And yes, I am starting to get some
formal-validation people interested in this lofty goal, see for example:

> The recent tests here have been on Pandaboard, which is dual-CPU, but my 
> recollection is that I also observed the warnings on a single-core 
> Beagleboard.  Will re-test.

Anxiously awaiting the results.  This has been a strange one, even by
RCU's standards.

Plus I need to add a few Reported-by lines.  Next version...

							Thanx, Paul

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