The new emerging NLE for GNU/Linux

Dec 20, 2012 on #lumiera 20:00 - 23:23 UTC


  • cehteh

  • ichthyo

  • Benny

  • Hendrik

Summary written by ichthyo

Doxygen woes

Hendik pointed out an example where the handling and presentation of extracted documentation was confusing. It turned out that didn’t recognise some documentation comments and thus retained those within the pretty printed source. Basically this was known and documented behaviour, but confusing still the less.

ichthyo slightly tweaked the configuration. Moreover, currently he creates and uploads the API-doc manually and irregularly , so the content on the website is quite outdated at times. Automatic publishing was previously done by builddrone; cehteh promised to finish and install an improved version…

We all agree that we somehow dislike Doxygen, but aren’t aware of reasonable alternatives.


  • ichthyo will fix the comments not recognised by Doxygen

  • we reconfirm that we do not want to create all our documentation based on Doxygen

FrOSCon aftermath

The visits, hiking together, and the meeting at FrOSCon was refreshing and reassuring. In the end, all went well. Everyone survived the after-froscon party and Benny’s car is fixed and working again.

Benny proposes to create a page with some pictures, just to retain some traces of this event. Ichthyo is a bit reluctant, since he didn’t care especially about documentation this time, but he promises to look what usable images he’s gotten.


  • create a page with some images

  • conclusion about FrOSCon? “it was fun” …

Scheduler: Interface and requirements

Benny showed interest to work on that topic. The first step would be to build or use a priority queue textbook implementation as starting point. Some time ago, cehteh included a suitable implementation in his cehlib,a collection of basic C library routines, mostly extracted from Lumiera’s library. ichthyo integrates this priority queue into the Lumiera tree.

The rest of the meeting was an extended discussion touching and affirming the most relevant issues and considerations of the scheduler implementation to be expected.

  • the core scheduler has to be kept rather simple

  • the actual job function is wrapped into an extended function, which is tightly integrated with the scheduler’s implementation. This approach allows to implement more elaborate strategies, without increasing the complexity of the actual scheduler.

  • handling of dependencies between jobs is considered as one of the tricky requirements

  • the intention is to pre-process and transform prerequisites in lists of dependent jobs

  • support for prerequisites prompts us to provide some mechanism for “conditionals”

  • notably, the data required for processing will become available asynchronously.

  • thus, the scheduler must include some form of polling to detect when prerequisites are finally met and unblock dependent jobs as a consequence.

  • our scheduling works strictly ordered by time. There is no throttling. But we provide multiple scheduler queues, which use different “thread classes”

  • a given job can be in multiple queues at the same time; first invocation wins.

  • we intend to employ work stealing

  • some special kinds of scheduling are not time bound (e.g. background rendering, “freewheeling” rendering). But we use time bound delivery as the fundamental model and treat these as corner cases

  • “the scheduler” as a service and sub-system encompasses more than just the low-level implementation of a priority queue. We need an integrated manager or controller to provide the more high-level services required by the “player” subsystem in Proc-Layer.

  • we need a mechanism to obsolete or supersede jobs, which are already planned, but not yet triggered. The reason lies in the interactive nature of the Player.

  • the implementation needs to be worked out; this is an internal detail of the scheduler (seen as a subsystem), but likely it is not implemented in the low-level scheduler queue. One promising implementation approach is to use special “group leader” marker jobs.

  • when jobs are superseded, the switch from the old to the new version should happen in a clean way; there are several options how to achieve that in practice

  • jobs will not only be constrained by their deadline; rather, we’ll allow to define a time window, during which a job must be triggered for regular execution.

see below for a slightly shortened transcript of these discussions


  • The scheduler service has a high-level interface

  • there are multiple really simple, low-level scheduler queues

  • some kind of manager or controller connects both levels

  • superseding of planned jobs can be implemented through “group leader” jobs

  • the RfC should be augmented accordingly

Next meeting

The next meeting will be Thursday October 10, 20:00 UTC

IRC Transcript

☉Transcript☉ — Discussion of details --
[2013-09-12 22:55:00] <ichthyo> bennI_  you said you might look into that topic, as time permits, of course
[2013-09-12 22:49:29] <cehteh> .. scheduler .. shall I explain what I have in mind for the backend lowest level?
[2013-09-12 22:55:12] <cehteh> a low level job should be very very simple, that is: a single pointer to a
                               'job function' and a list of prerequisite jobs (and maybe little more)
[2013-09-12 22:55:57] <cehteh> all things like rescheduling, aborting, etc. are on the lowest level handled over
                               this single job function which gets a parameter about the state/condition on which
                               its run (in time, aborting, expired, ....)
[2013-09-12 22:57:22] <cehteh> anything more, especially dispatching on different functions to handle the actual state
                               should be implemented on a level above (and maybe already in C++ by Proc) then
[2013-09-12 22:57:41] <bennI_> but the job function is just a call back function, defined elsewhere
[2013-09-12 22:57:48] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-12 22:58:16] <bennI_> so it's the jobs that are being scheduled
[2013-09-12 22:58:26] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-12 22:58:58] <ichthyo> basically yes, but as you said, this low-level job function also has to handle
                                the state and maybe dispatch to the right high-level function. A different function
                                for working, than for aborting, for example
[2013-09-12 22:59:45] <cehteh> yes, but want to leave that out of the scheduler itself, that's handled on a higher level
[2013-09-12 22:59:45] <ichthyo> so that is kind of a thin layer on top of the basic scheduler
☉Transcript☉ — dependant jobs and conditionals --
[2013-09-12 22:59:46] <bennI_> what about the dependent jobs?
[2013-09-12 23:00:03] <ichthyo> thats the most important question I think, since *that* is something special
[2013-09-12 23:00:19] <cehteh> yes dependencies need to be handled by the scheduler
[2013-09-12 23:00:52] <ichthyo> well... at least the scheduler needs to poll them in some way
[2013-09-12 23:01:01] <ichthyo> poll or notify or re-try or the like
[2013-09-12 23:01:03] <cehteh> one question: shall jobs be in the priority queue even if their dependencies
                               are not yet satisfied? ... I'd tend to say yes

[2013-09-12 23:01:11] <bennI_> so we're not going to have a scheduler with simple jobs
[2013-09-12 23:01:31] <cehteh> the scheduler must maintain lists of dependencies. Nodes for these lists are likely
                               to be allocated by the small object allocator I've written some time ago;
                               because 2 different jobs can depend on a single other job and other more complex
                               cross dependencies

[2013-09-12 23:02:54] <cehteh> dependencies are the results of jobs
[2013-09-12 23:03:04] <ichthyo> so you propose to pre-process that prerequisites and rather store them
                                as dependencies internally?
[2013-09-12 23:03:11] <cehteh> a 'job' might be a no-op if the resource is available
[2013-09-12 23:03:04] <bennI_> but these prerequisites are IN the scheduler
[2013-09-12 23:03:10] <bennI_> not in the higher level?
[2013-09-12 23:03:41] <ichthyo> bennI_ the scheduler needs only to be aware that there is some kind of dependency
[2013-09-12 23:03:43] <cehteh> yes the scheduler needs to be aware of dependencies so anything needs to be abstracted somehow,
                               that's why I'd like to say anything is a 'job', even if that's technically not completely true
                               because something might be a 'singleton instance' and no job needs to be run to create it
[2013-09-12 23:04:21] <ichthyo> on that level indeed, yes
[2013-09-12 23:04:45] <ichthyo> any more fancy functionality is encapsulated within that simple job abstraction
[2013-09-12 23:06:18] <cehteh> as long some resource (which can become a prerequisite/dependency of any other job) exists
                               it has some ultra-lightweight job structure associated with it

[2013-09-12 23:06:45] <ichthyo> now, for example, lets consider the loading of data from a file.
                                How does this work in practice? do we get a callback when the data arrives?
                                and where do we get that callback? guess in another thread.
                                and then, how do we instruct the scheduler so that the jobs dependant on the
                                arrival of that data can now become active?
[2013-09-12 23:08:07] <cehteh> note that we do memory mapping, we never really load data as in calling read()
                               but we might create prefetch jobs which complete when data is in memory.
                               The actual loading is done by the kernel
[2013-09-12 23:08:24] <ichthyo> yes, my understanding too
[2013-09-12 23:08:38] <ichthyo> but it is asynchronous, right?
[2013-09-12 23:08:42] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-12 23:08:58] <bennI_> from the schedulers perspective, it's juts a callback, so it is defined elsewhere
                               i.e., data loading and details are implemented elsewhere in the callback itself

[2013-09-12 23:09:43] <ichthyo> But... there is a problem: not the scheduler invokes that callback,
                                someone else (triggered by the kernel) invokes this callback, and
                                this must result in the unblocking of the dependant jobs, right?
[2013-09-12 23:10:35] <bennI_> the scheduler just has the callback waiting, then when all conditions are met
                               it just gets scheduled
[2013-09-12 23:10:21] <cehteh> nope
[2013-09-12 23:10:54] <cehteh> note: we need a 'polling' state for a job
[2013-09-12 23:10:57] <ichthyo> so the scheduler polls a variable, signalling that the data is there (or isn't yet)
[2013-09-12 23:11:14] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-12 23:11:22] <cehteh> but even if not we can ignore the fact; then our job might block,
                               in practice that should happen *very* rarely
[2013-09-12 23:11:37] <ichthyo> we could abstract that as a very simple conditional
                                the scheduler is polling some conditional
[2013-09-12 23:11:47] <bennI_> unless the presence of the data for the job is a precondition
[2013-09-12 23:12:28] <ichthyo> bennI_: yes, the presence of the data *is* a precondition for a render job
                                thus the scheduler must not start the render job, unless the data is already there
[2013-09-12 23:13:11] <bennI_> so the job cannot be 'scheduled' until data is present -- this is one of the preconditions
[2013-09-12 23:12:47] <cehteh> loading data:   have a job calling posix_memadvice(..WILLNEED) soon enough
                               before calling the job which needs the data
                               if we can not afford blocking, then we can poll the data with mincore()
                               and if the data is not there abort the job or take some other action.
                               I prolly add some (rather small budget) memory locking to the backend too
[2013-09-12 23:14:13] <ichthyo> OK, but then this would require some kind of re-trying or polling of jobs.
                                do we want this? I mean a job can start processing, once the data is there
                                and we are in the pre defined time window
[2013-09-12 23:15:08] <cehteh> then if *really* needed you can make a job which locks the data in ram
                               (that is really loading it and only completes when its loaded)
                               this way you can avoid polling too. But that's rather something we should
                               do only for really important things
[2013-09-12 23:15:39] <ichthyo> urghs, that would block the thread, right? so polling sounds more sane
[2013-09-12 23:16:22] <cehteh> blocking the thread is no issue as we have a thread pool and this thread pool
                               should later be aware that some threads might be blocking.
                               (I planned to add some thread class for that)
[2013-09-12 23:16:36] <bennI_> what about having 2 jobs: one is the load, the other is a precondition,
                               i.e., the presence of the data
[2013-09-12 23:16:52] <cehteh> bennI_: yes exactly like that
[2013-09-12 23:16:53] <ichthyo> bennI_ yes that was what I was thinking too
[2013-09-12 23:17:05] <ichthyo> one job to prepare / trigger the loading
                                one job to verify the data is there (this is a conditional)
[2013-09-12 23:17:19] <cehteh> but either one can block .. we a free to decide which one blocks
[2013-09-12 23:17:28] <bennI_> so we have two stupid jobs, where onne can only happen if the other happens
[2013-09-12 23:17:29] <ichthyo> and then the actual calculation job
[2013-09-12 23:18:22] <cehteh> well the scheduler on the lowest level should be unaware of all that
                               .. just dead dumb scheduling. All logic is rolled on higher levels
                               that allows us for more smart things depending on the actual use case,
                               different strategies for different things
[2013-09-12 23:17:50] <bennI_> we could even have only ONE job: it has a linked lists of jobs
                               but why not -- instead of ONE job, it can have a linked list of small jobs
                               once it's scheduled, maybe only one job gets run, i.e. data gets loaded.
                               the next schedule of the same job, loads the actual file, then the dependency
[2013-09-12 23:20:36] <cehteh> bennI_: first is a priqueue which schedules jobs by time
                               maybe aside of that there is a list of jobs ready to run
                               and a list of jobs not ready to run b/c their dependencies are not satisfied
[2013-09-12 23:22:21] <cehteh> (mhm ready to run? maybe not, just run it!)
[2013-09-12 23:22:49] <bennI_> ok, so the jobs themselves are going to be a bit more complex
                               I think we'll need a bit of trial and error; we cannot possibly envisage
                               everything right now. Maybe some of the jobs will not be a simple linked list,
                               but a tree
[2013-09-12 23:22:36] <cehteh> OK plan:
                               scheduler first picks job from the priqueue and checks if all dependencies are met
                               either way it calls the job function, either with "in time" or with "missing dependencies"
[2013-09-12 23:23:44] <bennI_> dumping some branches altogether?
[2013-09-12 23:24:30] <cehteh> then if state is "missing dependencies" the job function *might* insert the job
                               into the list of blocked jobs (or cancel the job or call anything else)
                               whenever a job completes, it might release one or more jobs from the 'blocked' list,
                               maybe even move them to a delayed list, and then the scheduler (after handling the priqueue)
                               picks any jobs from this delayed list up and runs them
[2013-09-12 23:25:02] <ichthyo> OK
[2013-09-12 23:25:39] <bennI_> do ALL jobs get equally scheduled
                               or do dependent jobs only enter in a linked list of jobs for one scheduled job,
                               if you know what I mean...
[2013-09-12 23:27:16] <cehteh> bennI_: jobs are scheduled by the priqueue which is ordered by time .. plus maybe some small
                               integer so you can give a order to jobs ought to be run at the same time
                               we have no job priorities otherwise, but we will have (at least) 2 schedulers
                               one is for the hard jobs which must be run in time, and one is for background task
                               and one (but these rather needs special attention) will be some realtime scheduler
                               which does the hard timing stuff, like switching video frames or such, but that's
                               not part of the normal processing
[2013-09-12 23:28:03] <bennI_> yes, but some jobs are not jobs in themselves, only depend on other jobs
[2013-09-12 23:28:16] <bennI_> do these su, dependent jobs get priqued?
[2013-09-12 23:29:23] <ichthyo> bennI_: I think this is a question of design. Both approaches will work, but it depends
                                on the implementer of the scheduler to prefer one approach over the other
[2013-09-12 23:30:12] <cehteh> bennI_: my idea was that each job might be in both queues (in-time and background)
                               so for example when the system is reasonable idle a job might be first scheduled
                               by the 'background' scheduler because its normal scheduled time is way ahead
☉Transcript☉ — various modes of scheduling --
[2013-09-12 23:30:23] <ichthyo> cehteh: we certainly get a third (or better a fourth) mode of operation:
                                the "freewheeling" calculation. This is what we use on final rendering.
                                Do any calculation as soon as possible, but without any timing constraints
[2013-09-12 23:31:31] <cehteh> ichthyo: the freewheeling is rather simple: just put jobs with time==0
                               into the background scheduler
[2013-09-12 23:32:10] <ichthyo> OK, so it can be implemented as a special case of background scheduling,
                                where we just use all available resources to 100%
[2013-09-12 23:32:36] <cehteh> or not time=0 but time==now
[2013-09-12 23:32:59] <cehteh> because other jobs should eventually be handled too
                               anyways I think that's not becoming complicated
[2013-09-12 23:33:42] * ichthyo nods
[2013-09-12 23:34:24] <ichthyo> only the meaning is a bit different, not so much the implementation
                                background == throttle resource usage
                                freewheeling == get me all the power that is available
[2013-09-12 23:36:52] <cehteh> background wont throttle, it just doesn't get scheduled when there are
                               more important things to do
[2013-09-12 23:37:19] <ichthyo> mhm, might be, not entirely sure
[2013-09-12 23:37:35] <cehteh> there is no point in putting something into the background queue
                               if we never need the stuff. But it should have some safety margin there
                               and maybe a different thread class (OS priority for the thread)
[2013-09-12 23:38:11] <ichthyo> for example: user works with the application and plays back,
                                but at the same time, excess resources are used for pre-rendering
[2013-09-12 23:38:19] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-12 23:38:21] <ichthyo> but without affecting the responsiveness.
                                thus we don't want to use 100% of the IO bandwidth for background
[2013-09-12 23:38:53] <cehteh> then schedule less or more sparse background jobs
[2013-09-12 23:39:35] <cehteh> but we cant really throttle IO in a more direct way, since that's obligation
                               of the kernel and we can only hint it
[2013-09-12 23:39:54] <ichthyo> ok, but someone has to do that.
                                Proc certainly can't do that, it can only give you a whole bunch of jobs
                                for background rendering
[2013-09-12 23:40:07] <cehteh> the job function might be aware if its scheduled because of in-time or
                               background queue and adjust itself
[2013-09-12 23:40:57] <cehteh> we only schedule background jobs if nothing else is to do
[2013-09-12 23:41:18] <ichthyo> what means "nothing else"?
                                for example, if we're waiting for data to arrive, can we meanwhile schedule
                                background calculation (non-IO) jobs?
[2013-09-12 23:41:45] <cehteh> and if I/O becomes the bottleneck some logic to throttle background jobs
                               might be implemented on the higher level job functions...
[2013-09-12 23:42:12] <cehteh> I abstracted "thread classes" in the worker pool remember
[2013-09-12 23:42:23] * ichthyo nods
[2013-09-12 23:42:33] <cehteh> these are not just priorities but define rather the purpose of a thread
                               we can have "background IO" thread classes there .. and if a job gets scheduled
                               from the background queue it might query the IO load and rather abort/delay the job

[2013-09-12 23:43:51] <ichthyo> another thing worth mentioning
[2013-09-12 23:43:55] <ichthyo> the planning of new jobs happens within jobs
                                there are some special planning jobs from time to time
                                but that certainly remains opaque for the scheduler

[2013-09-12 23:44:15] <cehteh> the scheduler should not be aware/responsible for any other resource managemnt
[2013-09-12 23:44:38] <bennI_> you can feed a nice to the scheduler, but the scheduler only uses the nice value
                               to reshuffle. Someone else must decide when to issue a nice
[2013-09-12 23:45:47] <cehteh> bennI_: there is no 'nice' value our schedulers are time based
                               niceness is defined by the 'thread classes' which can define even more
                               (io priority, aborting policies,...) -- even (hard) realtime and OS scheduling policies
☉Transcript☉ — questions of architecture --
[2013-09-12 23:45:31] <ichthyo> as I see it: we have several low-level priqueues.
                                And we have a high-level scheduler interface. Some facility in between decides
                                which low-level queue to use. Proc will only state the rough class of a job,
                                i.e. timebound, or background. Thus these details are kept out of the low-level
                                (actual) scheduler (implementation), but are configured close to the scheduler,
                                when we add jobs
[2013-09-12 23:48:16] <cehteh> the creator of a job (proc in most case) tells what purpose a job has
                               (numbercrunching, io, user-interface, foo, bar): that's a 'threadclass'
                               the actual implementation of threadclasses are defined elsewhere

[2013-09-12 23:49:09] <ichthyo> from Proc-Layer's perspective, all these details happen within the
                                scheduler as a black box. Proc only states a rough class (or purpose) of the job.
                                When the job is added, this gets translated into using a suitable thread class,
                                and we'll put the job in the right low-level scheduler queue
[2013-09-12 23:49:44] <cehteh> actually for each job you can do 2 of such things .. as i mentioned earlier,
                               each job can be in both queues, so you can define time+threadclass for background
                               and for in-time scheduler ... with a little caveat about priority inversion,
                               threadclass should be the same when you insert something in both queues,
                               only for freewheeling or other special jobs they might differ
[2013-09-12 23:51:52] <cehteh> bennI_: btw implementation detail I didnt tell you yet..
                               you know "work stealing schedulers" ?
                               we absolutely want that :)
[2013-09-12 23:52:09] <ichthyo> yes ;-)
                                its a kind of load balancing -- a very simple and clever one
[2013-09-12 23:52:11] <cehteh> that is: each OS thread has its own scheduler.
                               each job running on a thread which creates new thread puts these on the scheduler
                               of its own thread and only if a thread has nothing else to do, and the system
                               is not loaded, then it steals jobs from other threads. That gives far more locality
                               and much less contention.
[2013-09-12 23:56:23] <cehteh> another detail:  we need to figure out if we need a pool of threads for each
                               threadclass OR if switching a thread to another threadclass is more performant.
[2013-09-12 23:56:45] <ichthyo> *this* probably needs some experimentation
[2013-09-12 23:56:49] <cehteh> yes

[2013-09-12 23:57:32] <ichthyo> OK, so please let me recap one thing: how we handle prerequisites
[2013-09-12 23:58:00] <ichthyo> namely, (1) we translate them into dependent jobs (jobs that follow)
                                and (2) we have conditional jobs, which are polled regularly,
                                until they signal that a condition is met (or their deadline has passed)

[2013-09-12 23:58:59] <cehteh> ichthyo: I think job creation is a (at least) 2 step process .. first you create
                               the job structure, fill in any data (jobs it depends on). These 'jobs it depends on'
                               might be just created of course .. and then when done you unleash it to the scheduler
[2013-09-12 23:59:39] <ichthyo> indeed
[2013-09-12 23:59:52] <ichthyo> on high-level, I hand over jobs as "transactions" or batches
                                then, the scheduler-frontend might do some preprocessing and re-grouping
                                and finally hands over the right data structures to the low-level interface

[2013-09-13 00:00:35] <cehteh> after you given it to the scheduler, shall the scheduler dispose it when done
                               (I mean really done) or give it back to you
[2013-09-13 00:00:49] <ichthyo> never give it back
[2013-09-13 00:00:52] <cehteh> OK
[2013-09-13 00:00:56] <ichthyo> it is really point-and-shot
[2013-09-13 00:00:58] <ichthyo> BUT -- there is a catch
                                mind me
                                we need to be able to "change the plan"
[2013-09-13 00:01:18] <cehteh> there must be no catch .. if there is one, then you have to get it back :)
[2013-09-13 00:01:33] <ichthyo> for example
[2013-09-13 00:01:37] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-13 00:01:46] <cehteh> but that's completely on your side
[2013-09-13 00:01:52] <ichthyo> no
[2013-09-13 00:02:00] <ichthyo> lets assume Proc has given the jobs for the next second to the scheduler
                                that is 25 frames * 3 jobs per frame * number of channels.
                                then, 20 ms later, the User in the GUI hits the pause button
[2013-09-13 00:02:52] <ichthyo> now we need a way to "call back" *exactly those* jobs,
                                no other jobs (other timelines)
[2013-09-13 00:03:19] <ichthyo> so we need a "scope", and we need to be able to "cancel" or "retarget"
                                the jobs already given to the scheduler. But never *individual* jobs,
                                always whole groups of jobs
[2013-09-13 00:03:00] <cehteh> you prolly create a higher level "render-job" class.
                               Now, if you want to be able to abort or move it then you have a flag there
                               (and/or maybe a backpointer to the low level job)
[2013-09-13 00:04:05] <ichthyo> no
[2013-09-13 00:04:10] <cehteh> wait
[2013-09-13 00:04:20] <ichthyo> I am absolutely sure I don't keep any pointer to the low level job
                                since I don't have any place to manage that.
                                it is really point and shot
[2013-09-13 00:04:39] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-13 00:05:15] <cehteh> you don't need to manage .. this is just a tag
[2013-09-13 00:05:24] <ichthyo> but some kind of flag or tag would work indeed, yes
[2013-09-13 00:06:02] <cehteh> your job function just handles that
                               if (self->job == myself) .... else oops_i_got_dumped()
                               of course self->job needs to be protected by some mutex
[2013-09-13 00:07:14] <ichthyo> I think that is an internal detail of the scheduler (as a subsystem)
[2013-09-13 00:07:29] <cehteh> now when you reschedule you just create a new (low level)job .. and tag
                               the higher level job with that job and unleash it
[2013-09-13 00:07:34] <ichthyo> the *scheduler* wraps the actual job into a job function, of course
[2013-09-13 00:08:15] <cehteh> so this self->job is just a tag about the owner, no need to manage
                               you only need to check for equality and maybe some special case like NULL for aborts
                               no need to release or manage it
[2013-09-13 00:08:57] <ichthyo> well yes. but that is not Proc
                                not Proc or the Player is doing that, but the scheduler (in the wider sense) is doing that
                                since in my understanding, only the scheduler has access to the jobs, after they
                                have been handed over
[2013-09-13 00:09:41] <cehteh> well proc creates the job
[2013-09-13 00:09:47] <cehteh> yes
[2013-09-13 00:10:12] <cehteh> but you certainly augment the low level job structure with some higher level data
[2013-09-13 00:10:30] <ichthyo> yes
[2013-09-13 00:10:49] <ichthyo> and the scheduler itself will certainly also put some metadata into the job descriptor struct
[2013-09-13 00:10:50] <bennI_> then throw them at the scheduler and say goodby?
[2013-09-13 00:10:53] <cehteh> there you just add a mutex and a tag (job pointer)
[2013-09-13 00:11:16] <ichthyo> I'd like to see that entirely as an implementation detail within the scheduler
[2013-09-13 00:11:23] <cehteh> the job descriptor must become very small
[2013-09-13 00:11:28] <ichthyo> since it highly depends on thread management and the like
[2013-09-13 00:11:50] <cehteh> no need
[2013-09-13 00:12:15] <ichthyo> essentially, Proc will try to keep out of that discussion
[2013-09-13 00:12:16] <cehteh> it can become an implementation detail of some middle layer .. above the scheduler
☉Transcript☉ — how to handle aborting/superseding --
[2013-09-13 00:12:19] <bennI_> how is the proc going to say 'stop some job'
[2013-09-13 00:12:28] <ichthyo> yes that's the question. That's what I'm getting at
[2013-09-13 00:12:49] <ichthyo> Proc will certainly never ask you to stop a specific job
                                this is sure.
[2013-09-13 00:12:54] <bennI_> Proc doesn't have a handle or the like
[2013-09-13 00:13:09] <ichthyo> BUT -- Proc will ask you to re-target / abort or whatever all jobs within a certain scope
                                and this scope is given with the job definition as a tag
[2013-09-13 00:13:15] <cehteh> only proc knows to stop something but you need  some grip on it .. and of course that are
                               the proc own datastructures (higher level job descriptors)
[2013-09-13 00:13:34] <ichthyo> as said -- proc tags each job with e.g. some number XXX
                                and then it might come to the scheduler and say:
                                please halt all jobs with number XXX
[2013-09-13 00:14:09] <cehteh> the 'tag' can be the actual job handle .. even if you don't own it any more
[2013-09-13 00:14:32] <bennI_> 'IT' ?
                               the proc?
[2013-09-13 00:14:44] <cehteh> why number .. why not the low level job pointer?
                               that is guaranteed to be a valid unique number for each job
[2013-09-13 00:15:06] <ichthyo> cehteh: since Proc never retains knowledge regarding individual jobs
[2013-09-13 00:15:17] <cehteh> uhm -- when you create a job it does
[2013-09-13 00:15:24] <bennI_> 'cause the Proc layer wants to give the job to the scheduler and say goodby,
                               I know nothing about you anymore
[2013-09-13 00:15:35] <ichthyo> exactly. Proc finds out what needs to be calculated, creates those job descriptors,
                                tags them as a group and then throws it over the wall
[2013-09-13 00:15:52] <bennI_> but proc can't throw it over the wall
[2013-09-13 00:16:10] <bennI_> it has a vested interessted in the job, i.e. abort!!!
[2013-09-13 00:16:05] <cehteh> OK but I see this "tags these as groups" as layer above the dead simple scheduler
                               I dont really like the idea to implement that on the lowest level, but the job-function
                               can add a layer above and handle this
[2013-09-13 00:17:19] <ichthyo> no, you don't need to implement it on the lowest level, of course
                                but basically its is an internal detail of "the scheduler"
[2013-09-13 00:17:50] <cehteh> nah .. "the manager" :)
[2013-09-13 00:17:57] <ichthyo> :-D
[2013-09-13 00:18:01] <cehteh> the scheduler doesnt care
[2013-09-13 00:18:07] <bennI_> who handles the layer?
[2013-09-13 00:18:18] <ichthyo> anyway, then "the manager" is also part of "the scheduler" damn it ;-)
[2013-09-13 00:18:26] <bennI_> is it the WALL where the proc thows over the job
[2013-09-13 00:18:31] <cehteh> it just schedules .. and if a job is canceled then the job-function
                               has to figure that out and make a no-op
[2013-09-13 00:18:28] <ichthyo> Backend handles that layer. "The scheduler" is a high level thing
                                it contains multiple low-level schedulers, priqueues and all the management stuff,
                                and "the scheduler" as a subsystem can arrange this stuff in an optimal way.
                                No one else can.
[2013-09-13 00:18:49] <bennI_> stop -- I see this as a slight problem
[2013-09-13 00:19:20] <bennI_> ...and all the management stuff?
[2013-09-13 00:19:15] <cehteh> bennI_: we never wanted to remove jobs from the priority queue,
                               because that's relative expensive
[2013-09-13 00:19:43] <bennI_> yes, removing jobs is not really a schedulers job
[2013-09-13 00:20:07] <ichthyo> true, no doubt
[2013-09-13 00:20:18] <ichthyo> but as a client I just expect this service
[2013-09-13 00:20:23] <bennI_> its that mystically 'layer' or manager?
[2013-09-13 00:20:29] <ichthyo> yes
[2013-09-13 00:20:43] <ichthyo> and this mystical manager needs internal knowledge how the scheduler works
[2013-09-13 00:20:45] <cehteh> so the logic is all in the job function ..
[2013-09-13 00:20:47] <bennI_> as a client you can expect the manager to do this
[2013-09-13 00:20:55] <bennI_> but the manager belongs not to the scheduler
[2013-09-13 00:21:00] <ichthyo> but the client doesn't need internal knowledge how the scheduler works
[2013-09-13 00:21:11] <ichthyo> thus, clearly, the manager belongs to the scheduler, not the client
[2013-09-13 00:22:43] <bennI_> this will not be directly implemented within the scheduler
[2013-09-13 00:23:15] <ichthyo> bennI_: absolutely, this is not in the low-level scheduler.
                                But it is closer to the low-level scheduler, than it is to the player

[2013-09-13 00:21:26] <bennI_> ok, WHO wants to stop or abort jobs?
[2013-09-13 00:21:46] <cehteh> proc :>
[2013-09-13 00:21:48] <ichthyo> the player
[2013-09-13 00:22:11] <ichthyo> more precisely: the player doesn't want to stop jobs, but he wants to change the playback mode
[2013-09-13 00:22:29] <cehteh> ichthyo: do you really need a 'scope' or can you have a 'leader' which you abort
                               This leader is practically implemented as a job which is already finished but others wait on it
[2013-09-13 00:22:44] <ichthyo> such a leader would likely be a solution
[2013-09-13 00:23:35] <cehteh> ichthyo: agreed
[2013-09-13 00:24:03] <ichthyo> cehteh: actually I really don't care *how* it is implemented.
                                Proc can try to support that feature with giving the right information
                                grouping or tagging would be one option
[2013-09-13 00:24:26] <ichthyo> just look at the requirement from the player:
                                consider the pause button or loop playing, while the user moves the loop boundaries
[2013-09-13 00:24:50] <ichthyo> or think at scrubbing where the user drags the "playhead" marker while it move
[2013-09-13 00:24:19] <cehteh> I opt for the leader implementation
                               because that needs no complicated scope lookup and can be implemented with the facilities
                               already there. But that still means that someone has to manage this leaders,
                               i.e. a small structure above the low level jobs (struct{mutex; enum state})
                               and these leaders then have an identity/handle/pointer you need to care for
[2013-09-13 00:27:00] <ichthyo> let's say, *someone* has to care
[2013-09-13 00:27:12] <cehteh> ahh

[2013-09-13 00:27:50] <bennI_> I think we're going to need an intermediate layer between the job creator and the scheduler
[2013-09-13 00:27:59] <ichthyo> yes, my thinking too
[2013-09-13 00:28:13] <bennI_> 'cause not only the job creator has access to the jobs,
                               some one else will also want to kill jobs, which is not the job creator
                               and how is the job killer supposed to know WHICH tag, or handle, of a job to kill
[2013-09-13 00:29:25] <cehteh> we use a strict ownership paradigm
                               if someone else wants to operate on something it has to be its owner
[2013-09-13 00:30:22] <ichthyo> yes, and thus this management tasks need to be done within "the scheduler" in the wider sense
[2013-09-13 00:30:31] <cehteh> but that's not really a problem here
                               Proc creates jobs and this (slightly special) leader job and hands it over to the player
[2013-09-13 00:30:52] <ichthyo> wait, the other way round
[2013-09-13 00:30:53] <cehteh> or other way around the player creates this leader and asks Proc to fill out the rest for it
[2013-09-13 00:30:58] <bennI_> but the killer, who is not the creator, doesn't own the job
                               but the scheduler KNOIWS NOTHING about jobs, only dependencies
[2013-09-13 00:31:13] <cehteh> but someone knows the leader; you just 'kill' the leader
☉Transcript☉ — clean switch when superseding planned jobs --
[2013-09-13 00:31:44] <ichthyo> the player only requests "all jobs in this timeline and for this play process"
                                to be superseded by new jobs, and this is expressed by some tag or number or handle
                                or whatever (the player doesn't care)
[2013-09-13 00:32:38] <ichthyo> so please note, it is not even just killing, effectively it is superseding,
                                but this is probably irrelevant for the scheduler, since the scheduler just
                                sees new jobs coming in afterwards

[2013-09-13 00:34:24] <ichthyo> unfortunately there is one other, nasty detail:
                                we need that switch for the superseding to happen in a clean manner.
[2013-09-13 00:34:42] <ichthyo> This doesn't need to happen immediately, nor does it need to happen even at the same time
                                in each channel. But it cant't be that the old version for a frame job and the new version
                                of a frame job will both be triggered. It must be the old version, and then a clean switch,
                                and from then on the new version, otherwise we'll get lots of flickering and crappy noise
                                on the sound tracks
[2013-09-13 00:36:16] <cehteh> eh?
[2013-09-13 00:36:29] <ichthyo> yes, new and old can't be interleaved
[2013-09-13 00:36:38] <cehteh> that never happens
[2013-09-13 00:36:45] <ichthyo> ok, then fine...
[2013-09-13 00:36:49] <cehteh> because of the 'functional' model
[2013-09-13 00:37:03] <cehteh> you never render into the same buffer if the buffer is still in use
                               in the worst, the invalidated jobs already runs and the actual job is out of luck
[2013-09-13 00:37:34] <ichthyo> well, we talked a thousand times about that:
                                this doesn't work for the output, since we don't and never can't manage the output buffers
[2013-09-13 00:38:02] <cehteh> I think that will work for output as well
[2013-09-13 00:38:16] <ichthyo> I know, cehteh that you want to think that ;-)
[2013-09-13 00:38:22] <cehteh> even if I cant, they are abstracted and interlocked
[2013-09-13 00:38:44] <ichthyo> but actually it is the other way round. You use some library for output, and this
                                just gives *us* some buffer managed by the library, and then we have to ensure
                                that our jobs exactly match the time window and dispose the data into this buffer
[2013-09-13 00:39:15] <cehteh> yes but we have can have only one job at a time writing to that buffer
[2013-09-13 00:39:28] <ichthyo> this is the nasty corner case where our nice concept collides with the rest of the world ;-)
[2013-09-13 00:39:32] <cehteh> these jobs are atomic -- at least we should make these atomic
[2013-09-13 00:40:00] <ichthyo> yes, that's important
[2013-09-13 00:40:21] <cehteh> even if that means rendering an invalidated frame that's better than rendering garbage
[2013-09-13 00:40:40] <ichthyo> of course
[2013-09-13 00:41:17] <ichthyo> but anyway, it is easy for the scheduler to ensure that either the old version runs,
                                or that all jobs belonging to the old version are marked as cancelled and only then
                                the processing of the new jobs takes place
                                that is kind of a transactional switch
                                such is really easy for the implementation of the scheduler to ensure.
                                But it is near impossible for anyone else in the system to ensure that
[2013-09-13 00:42:22] <cehteh> I really see no problem .. of course I would like if all buffers are under our control,
                               but even if not, or if we need to make a memcpy .. still this resource is abstracted
                               and only one writer can be there and all readers are blocked until the writer job is finished
[2013-09-13 00:43:35] <cehteh> reader in this case might be a hard-realtime buffer-flip by the player
[2013-09-13 00:44:15] <ichthyo> I also think this isn't really a problem, but something to be aware off.
                                Moreover at some point we need to tell the output mechanism where the data is
                                and there are two possibilities:
                                (1) within the callback which is activated by the output library,
                                    we copy the data from an intermediary buffer
                                (2) our jobs immediately render into the address given by the output mechanism
[2013-09-13 00:45:45] <ichthyo> (1) looks simpler, but incurs an additional memcopy -- not really much of a problem
[2013-09-13 00:46:33] <ichthyo> but for (1), when such a switch happens, at the moment when the output library prompts us
                                to deliver, we need to know from *which* internal buffer to get the data
[2013-09-13 00:46:38] <cehteh> i'd aim for both varieties .. and make that somehow configurable
[2013-09-13 00:46:48] <ichthyo> yes, that would be ideal
[2013-09-13 00:46:49] <cehteh> nothing needs to be fixed there
                               ideally we might even mmap output buffers directly on the graphics card memory
                               and manage that with our backend and tell the output lib (opengl) what to display.
                               I really want to have this very flexible
[2013-09-13 00:47:14] * ichthyo thinks the same
☉Transcript☉ — define jobs by time window --
[2013-09-13 00:47:39] <ichthyo> this leads to another small detail: we really need a *time window* for
                                the activation of jobs, i.e. a start time, and a deadline
                                start time == not activate this job before time xxx
                                and deadline == mark this job as failed if it can't be started before this deadline
                                do you think such a start or minimum time is a problem for the scheduler implementation ?
                                it is kind of an additional pre-condition
                                The reason is simple. If we get our scheduling to work very precise,
                                we can dispose of a lot of other handover and blocking mechanisms
[2013-09-13 00:51:40] <cehteh> I was thinking about that too
                               Initially I once had the idea to have the in-time scheduler scheduled by start time
                               and the background scheduler by "not after" -- but prolly both schedulers should
                               just have time+span, making them both the same.
[2013-09-13 00:53:03] <ichthyo> fine