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Subject: Re: [OMPI devel] SM init failures
From: George Bosilca (bosilca_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-03-27 17:17:32

Talking with Aurelien here @ UT we think we came-up with a possible
way to get such an error. Before explaining this let me set the bases.

There are 2 critical functions used in setting up the shared memory
file. One is ftruncate the other one mmap. Here are two snippets from
these functions documentation (with the interesting part between _).

- ftruncate: . If it was _previously shorter than length, it is
unspecified whether the file is changed or its size increased_. If the
file is extended, the extended area appears as if it were zero-filled.

- mmap: _The range of bytes starting at off and continuing for len
bytes shall be legitimate for the possible (not necessarily current)
offsets in the file_, shared memory object, or [TYM] typed memory
object represented by fildes.

As you can see ftruncate can succeed without increasing the size of
the file to what we specified. Moreover, there is no way to know if
the size was really increased or not, as ftruncate will return zero in
all cases (except the really fatal ones). On the other hand, mmap
suppose that the len is a legitimate length (as I guess it has no way
to check that).

In our specific case, if the file system is full then ftruncate might
not do what we expect it to do, and mmap will be just happy to map the
file to some memory. Later on when we really access the memory ...
guess what ... we lamentably fail with a segfault as there is no such

We only see one way around this. It will not prevent us from
segfaulting but at least we can segfault in a known place, and we can
put a message in the FAQ about this. The solution is to touch the last
byte in the mmaped region which will force the operating system to
really allocate the whole memory region. If this cannot succeed then
we segfault, and if it can then we're good for the remaining of the


On Mar 27, 2009, at 13:30 , Tim Mattox wrote:

> Eugene,
> I think I remember setting up the MTT tests on Sif so that tests
> are run both with and without the coll_hierarch component selected.
> The coll_hierarch component stresses code paths and potential
> race conditions in its own way. So, if the problems are showing up
> more frequently for the test runs with the coll_hierarch component
> enabled, then I would check the communicator creation code paths.
> Now that I'm at SiCortex, I don't have time to look into these IU MTT
> failures not that I had a bunch of time while at IU ;-), but you can
> get
> to a lot of information with some work in the MTT reporter web page.
> Also, hopefully Josh will have a little time to look into it.
> Good luck! -- Tim
> On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:15 AM, Eugene Loh <Eugene.Loh_at_[hidden]>
> wrote:
>> Josh Hursey wrote:
>>> Sif is also running the coll_hierarch component on some of those
>>> tests
>>> which has caused some additional problems. I don't know if that
>>> is related
>>> or not.
>> Indeed. Many of the MTT stack traces (for both 1.3.1 and 1.3.2 and
>> that
>> have seg faults and call out do involve collectives
>> and/or
>> have in their stack traces. I could well
>> imagine this
>> is the culprit, though I do not know for sure.
>> Ralph Castain wrote:
>>> Hmmm...Eugene, you need to be a tad less sensitive. Nobody was
>>> attempting
>>> to indict you or in any way attack you or your code.
>> Yes, I know, though thank you for saying so. I was overdoing the
>> defensive
>> rhetoric trying to be funny, but I confess it's nervous humor.
>> There was
>> stuff in the sm code that I couldn't see how it was 100% robust.
>> Nevertheless, I let that style remain in the code with my changes...
>> perhaps even pushing it a little bit. My putbacks include a
>> comment or two
>> to that effect. E.g.,
>> #523
>> . I understand why the occasional failures that Jeff and Terry saw
>> did not
>> hold up 1.3.1, but I'd really like to understand them and fix
>> them. But at
>> 0.01% fail rate (<0.001% for me... I've never seen it in 100Ks of
>> runs), all
>> I can do about etiology and fixes is speculate.
>> Okay, joke overdone and nervousness no longer funny. Indeed,
>> annoying. I
>> stop.
>>> Since we clearly see problems on sif, and Josh has indicated a
>>> willingness to help with debugging, this might be a place to
>>> start the
>>> investigation. If asked nicely, they might even be willing to
>>> grant access
>>> to the machine, if that would help.
>> Maybe a starting point would be running IU_Sif without
>> coll_hierarch and
>> seeing where we stand.
>> And, again, my gut feel is that the failures are unrelated to the
>> 0.01%
>> failures that Jeff and Terry were seeing.
>> _______________________________________________
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>> devel_at_[hidden]
> --
> Tim Mattox, Ph.D. -
> timattox_at_[hidden] || timattox_at_[hidden]
> I'm a bright...
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