Skip to main content

Hyperthreaded Micro Threads for Aspect Oriented Programming

I recently discovered a series of articles written by Jon "Hannibal" Stokes on arstechnica.com. Usually, I stick to learning weird, exotic languages, but I'm really fascinated by his descriptions of modern processors. I'm especially fascinated by the idea of tuning modern day processors and programming techniques so that they take advantage of one another. For instance, C++'s use of automatic variables results in so many function calls, that if these function calls are not inlined, they can play hell on the pipeline, unless branch prediction works well.

Having read Hannibal's articles on hyperthreading, SMT, and the Itanium-64, IA-64, I became intriqued by the performance aspects of SMT on aspect oriented programming, AOP. AOP is currently confined mostly to the Java world, so it doesn't have a direct effect on the processor, per se, but I wondered if a natively compiled AOP compiler could better take advantage of an IA-64 processor. It would do this via explicitly parallel instruction computing, EPIC, and what I call micro threading.

Specifically, AOP permits a separation of concerns. Hence, a function that looks like this:

void do_f() {
log();
authenticate();
do_stuff();
log();
}

can be torn apart into something like:

void do_f() {
do_stuff();
}

// Blatant pseudo code.
match function do_* {
before { log(); authenticate(); }
after { log(); }
}

I propose that the above AOP could possibly be extended to:

match function do_* {
before { thread_fork log(); inline authenticate(); }
after { thread_fork log(); }
}

Hence, in the above example, for every function do_*, there would be a "micro" thread to take are of logging at the start of the function and another micro thread to take care of logging at the end of the function, but the authentication would be inlined. Thanks to EPIC, the compiler could give a hint to the processor and the OS that it would be best to run these micro threads at the same time as the main function. Paraphrasing the words of Intel, I'm creating code-level parallelism in places where there was none before. AOP was designed to make the programmer's life easier, but with the addition of hyperthreaded micro threads, it can possibly result in substantial performance increases as well.

Well, I hope the above made some sense. I most definitely welcome your comments. Hopefully, someone more intelligent than me can make it happen ;)

Comments

jjinux said…
I actually posted this "micro-article" on my Web site about two years ago. Now that I have a blog, I finally have a place for it. For any of you that have seen it, please forgive the duplication.

Popular posts from this blog

Ubuntu 20.04 on a 2015 15" MacBook Pro

I decided to give Ubuntu 20.04 a try on my 2015 15" MacBook Pro. I didn't actually install it; I just live booted from a USB thumb drive which was enough to try out everything I wanted. In summary, it's not perfect, and issues with my camera would prevent me from switching, but given the right hardware, I think it's a really viable option. The first thing I wanted to try was what would happen if I plugged in a non-HiDPI screen given that my laptop has a HiDPI screen. Without sub-pixel scaling, whatever scale rate I picked for one screen would apply to the other. However, once I turned on sub-pixel scaling, I was able to pick different scale rates for the internal and external displays. That looked ok. I tried plugging in and unplugging multiple times, and it didn't crash. I doubt it'd work with my Thunderbolt display at work, but it worked fine for my HDMI displays at home. I even plugged it into my TV, and it stuck to the 100% scaling I picked for the othe

ERNOS: Erlang Networked Operating System

I've been reading Dreaming in Code lately, and I really like it. If you're not a dreamer, you may safely skip the rest of this post ;) In Chapter 10, "Engineers and Artists", Alan Kay, John Backus, and Jaron Lanier really got me thinking. I've also been thinking a lot about Minix 3 , Erlang , and the original Lisp machine . The ideas are beginning to synthesize into something cohesive--more than just the sum of their parts. Now, I'm sure that many of these ideas have already been envisioned within Tunes.org , LLVM , Microsoft's Singularity project, or in some other place that I haven't managed to discover or fully read, but I'm going to blog them anyway. Rather than wax philosophical, let me just dump out some ideas: Start with Minix 3. It's a new microkernel, and it's meant for real use, unlike the original Minix. "This new OS is extremely small, with the part that runs in kernel mode under 4000 lines of executable code.&quo

Drawing Sierpinski's Triangle in Minecraft Using Python

In his keynote at PyCon, Eben Upton, the Executive Director of the Rasberry Pi Foundation, mentioned that not only has Minecraft been ported to the Rasberry Pi, but you can even control it with Python . Since four of my kids are avid Minecraft fans, I figured this might be a good time to teach them to program using Python. So I started yesterday with the goal of programming something cool for Minecraft and then showing it off at the San Francisco Python Meetup in the evening. The first problem that I faced was that I didn't have a Rasberry Pi. You can't hack Minecraft by just installing the Minecraft client. Speaking of which, I didn't have the Minecraft client installed either ;) My kids always play it on their Nexus 7s. I found an open source Minecraft server called Bukkit that "provides the means to extend the popular Minecraft multiplayer server." Then I found a plugin called RaspberryJuice that implements a subset of the Minecraft Pi modding API for B