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Subject: Re: [OMPI devel] [RFC] Low pressure OPAL progress
From: Jeff Squyres (jsquyres_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-06-09 11:31:39

I'll throw in my random $0.02. I'm at the Forum this week, so my
latency on replies here will likely be large.

1. Ashley is correct that we shouldn't sleep. A better solution would
be to block waiting for something to happen (rather than spin). As
Terry mentioned, we pretty much know how to do this -- it's just that
no one has done it yet. The full solution would then be: if we spin
for a while (probably MCA-param settable) with nothing happening,
switch to the blocking mode and continue waiting. I'm happy to pass
on the information on how we've imagined that this should be done, if
you want.

2. Note that your solution presupposes that one MPI process can detect
that the entire job is deadlocked. This is not quite correct. What
exactly do you want to detect -- that one process may be imbalanced on
its receives (waiting for long periods of time without doing
anything), or that the entire job is deadlocked? The former may be ok
-- it depends on the app. If the latter, it requires a bit more work
-- e.g., if one process detects that nothing has happened for a long
time, it can initiate a collective/distributed deadlock detection
algorithm with all the other MPI processes in the job. Only if *all*
processes agree, then you can say "this job is deadlocked, we might as
well abort." IIRC, there are some 3rd party tools / libraries that do
this kind of stuff...? (although it might be cool / useful to
incorporate some of this technology into OMPI itself)

3. As Ralph noted, how exactly do you know when "nothing happens for a
long time" is a bad thing? a) some codes are structured that way --
that they'll have no MPI activity for a long time, even if they have
pending non-blocking receives pre-posted. b) are you looking within
the scope of *one* MPI blocking call? I.e., if nothing happens
*within the span of one blocking MPI call*, or are you looking if
nothing happens across successive calls to opal_progress() (which may
be few and far between after OMPI hits steady state when using non-TCP
networks)? It seems like there would need to be a [thread safe]
"reset" at some point -- indicating that something has happened. That
either would be when something has happened, or that a blocking MPI
call has exited, or ....? Need to make sure that that "reset" doesn't
get expensive.

4. Note, too, that opal_progress() doesn't see *all* progress - the
openib BTL doesn't use opal_progress to know when OpenFabrics messages
arrive, for example.

On Jun 9, 2009, at 6:43 AM, Ralph Castain wrote:

> Couple of other things to help stimulate the thinking:
> 1. it isn't that OMPI -couldn't- receive a message, but rather that
> it -didn't- receive a message. This may or may not indicate that
> there is a problem. Could just be an application that doesn't need
> to communicate for awhile, as per my example. I admit, though, that
> 10 minutes is a tad long...but I've seen some bizarre apps around
> here :-)
> 2. instead of putting things to sleep or even adjusting the loop
> rate, you might want to consider using the orte_notifier capability
> and notify the system that the job may be stalled. Or perhaps adding
> an API to the orte_errmgr framework to notify it that nothing has
> been received for awhile, and let people implement different
> strategies for detecting what might be "wrong" and what they want to
> do about it.
> My point with this second bullet is that there are other response
> options than hardwiring putting the process to sleep. You could let
> someone know so a human can decide what, if anything, to do about
> it, or provide a hook so that people can explore/utilize different
> response strategies...or both!
> Ralph
> On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 6:52 AM, Sylvain Jeaugey <sylvain.jeaugey_at_[hidden]
> > wrote:
> I understand your point of view, and mostly share it.
> I think the biggest point in my example is that sleep occurs only
> after (I was wrong in my previous e-mail) 10 minutes of inactivity,
> and this value is fully configurable. I didn't intend to call sleep
> after 2 seconds. Plus, as said before, I planned to have the library
> do show_help() when this happens (something like : "Open MPI
> couldn't receive a message for 10 minutes, lowering pressure") so
> that the application that really needs more than 10 minutes to
> receive a message can increase it.
> Looking at the tick rate code, I couldn't see how changing it would
> make CPU usage drop. If I understand correctly your e-mail, you
> block in the kernel using poll(), is that right ? So, you may well
> loose 10 us because of that kernel call, but this is a lot less than
> the 1 ms I'm currently loosing with usleep. This makes sense -
> although being hard to implement since all btl must have this ability.
> Thanks for your comments, I will continue to think about it.
> Sylvain
> On Tue, 9 Jun 2009, Ralph Castain wrote:
> My concern with any form of sleep is with the impact on the proc -
> since opal_progress might not be running in a separate thread, won't
> the sleep apply to the process as a whole? In that case, the process
> isn't free to continue computing.
> I can envision applications that might call down into the MPI
> library and have opal_progress not find anything, but there is
> nothing wrong. The application could continue computations just
> fine. I would hate to see us put the process to sleep just because
> the MPI library wasn't busy enough.
> Hence my suggestion to just change the tick rate. It would
> definitely cause a higher latency for the first message that arrived
> while in this state, which is bothersome, but would meet the stated
> objective without interfering with the process itself.
> LANL has also been looking at this problem of stalled jobs, but from
> a different approach. We monitor (using a separate job) progress in
> terms of output files changing in size plus other factors as
> specified by the user. If we don't see any progress in those terms
> over some time, then we kill the job. We chose that path because of
> the concerns expressed above - e.g., on our RR machine, intense
> computations can be underway on the Cell blades while the Opteron
> MPI processes wait for us to reach a communication point. We -want-
> those processes spinning away so that, when the comm starts, it can
> proceed as quickly as possible.
> Just some thoughts...
> Ralph
> On Jun 9, 2009, at 5:28 AM, Terry Dontje wrote:
> Sylvain Jeaugey wrote:
> Hi Ralph,
> I'm entirely convinced that MPI doesn't have to save power in a
> normal scenario. The idea is just that if an MPI process is blocked
> (i.e. has not performed progress for -say- 5 minutes (default in my
> implementation), we stop busy polling and have the process drop from
> 100% CPU usage to 0%.
> I do not call sleep() but usleep(). The result if quite the same,
> but is less hurting performance in case of (unexpected) restart.
> However, the goal of my RFC was also to know if there was a more
> clean way to achieve my goal, and from what I read, I guess I should
> look at the "tick" rate instead of trying to do my own delaying.
> One way around this is to make all blocked communications (even SM)
> to use poll to block for incoming messages. Jeff and I have
> discussed this and had many false starts on it. The biggest issue
> is coming up with a way to have blocks on the SM btl converted to
> the system poll call without requiring a socket write for every
> packet.
> The usleep solution works but is kind of ugly IMO. I think when I
> looked at doing that the overhead increased signifcantly for certain
> communications. Maybe not for toy benchmarks but for less
> synchronized processes I saw the usleep adding overhead where I
> didn't want it too.
> --td
> Don't worry, I was quite expecting the configure-in requirement.
> However, I don't think my patch is good for inclusion, it is only an
> example to describe what I want to achieve.
> Thanks a lot for your comments,
> Sylvain
> On Mon, 8 Jun 2009, Ralph Castain wrote:
> I'm not entirely convinced this actually achieves your goals, but I
> can see some potential benefits. I'm also not sure that power
> consumption is that big of an issue that MPI needs to begin chasing
> "power saver" modes of operation, but that can be a separate debate
> some day.
> I'm assuming you don't mean that you actually call "sleep()" as this
> would be very bad - I'm assuming you just change the opal_progress
> "tick" rate instead. True? If not, and you really call "sleep", then
> I would have to oppose adding this to the code base pending
> discussion with others who can corroborate that this won't cause
> problems.
> Either way, I could live with this so long as it was done as a
> "configure-in" capability. Just having the params default to a value
> that causes the system to behave similarly to today isn't enough -
> we still wind up adding logic into a very critical timing loop for
> no reason. A simple configure option of --enable-mpi-progress-
> monitoring would be sufficient to protect the code.
> Ralph
> On Jun 8, 2009, at 9:50 AM, Sylvain Jeaugey wrote:
> What : when nothing has been received for a very long time - e.g. 5
> minutes, stop busy polling in opal_progress and switch to a usleep-
> based one.
> Why : when we have long waits, and especially when an application is
> deadlock'ed, detecting it is not easy and a lot of power is wasted
> until the end of the time slice (if there is one).
> Where : an example of how it could be implemented is available at
> Principle
> =========
> opal_progress() ensures the progression of MPI communication. The
> current algorithm is a loop calling progress on all registered
> components. If the program is blocked, the loop will busy-poll
> indefinetely.
> Going to sleep after a certain amount of time with nothing received
> is interesting for two things :
> - Administrator can easily detect whether a job is deadlocked : all
> the processes are in sleep(). Currently, all processors are using
> 100% cpu and it is very hard to know if progression is still
> happening or not.
> - When there is nothing to receive, power usage is highly reduced.
> However, it could hurt performance in some cases, typically if we go
> to sleep just before the message arrives. This will highly depend on
> the parameters you give to the sleep mechanism.
> At first, we can start with the following assumption : if the sleep
> takes T usec, then sleeping after 10000xT should slow down Receives
> by a factor less than 0.01 %.
> However, other processes may suffer from you being late, and be
> delayed by T usec (which may represent more than 0.01% for them).
> So, the goal of this mechanism is mainly to detect far-too-long-
> waits and should quite never be used in normal MPI jobs. It could
> also trigger a warning message when starting to sleep, or at least a
> trace in the notifier.
> Details of Implementation
> =========================
> Three parameters fully control the behaviour of this mechanism :
> * opal_progress_sleep_count : number of unsuccessful opal_progress()
> calls before we start the timer (to prevent latency impact). It
> defaults to -1, which completely deactivates the sleep (and is
> therefore equivalent to the former code). A value of 1000 can be
> thought of as a starting point to enable this mechanism.
> * opal_progress_sleep_trigger : time to wait before going to low-
> pressure-powersave mode. Default : 600 (in seconds) = 10 minutes.
> * opal_progress_sleep_duration : time we sleep at each further
> unsuccessful call to opal_progress(). Default : 1000 (in us) = 1 ms.
> The duration is big enough to make the process show 0% CPU in top,
> but low enough to preserve a good trigger/duration ratio.
> The trigger is voluntary high to keep a good trigger/duration ratio.
> Indeed, to prevent delays from causing chain reactions, trigger
> should be higher than duration * numprocs.
> Possible Improvements & Pitfalls
> ================================
> * Trigger could be set automatically at max(trigger, duration *
> numprocs * 2).
> * poll_start and poll_count could be fields of the opal_condition_t
> struct.
> * The sleep section may be exported in a #define and reported in all
> the progress pathes (I'm not sure my patch is good for progress
> threads for example)
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Jeff Squyres
Cisco Systems