April 08

On Wednesday, 7 April 2021 at 21:20:11 UTC, Sebastiaan Koppe wrote:

>

Having been inspired by the Senders/Receivers C++ proposal http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/docs/papers/2020/p0443r14.html I started an implementation here https://github.com/symmetryinvestments/concurrency [*]

I initially dismissed the proposal completely, and it took me at least a few months before I realized the beauty of it.

Now, I see them as fundamental building blocks in asynchronous code. They are cancelable, they avoid unnecessary allocations and synchronizations, and above all, they adhere to the principles of structured concurrency.

This is a good talk from eric niebler about them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-ExnuD6jms

[*] it are still early days but it implements a fair bit of useful asynchronous algorithms.

Thanks!

Looking into this a bit, I understand that this doesn't quite attempt to solve the same problems.

The document and the talk begins about how this is aimed to be a tool at doing parallel/asynchronous computations. Promises and async/await are mainly concerned about scheduling execution of code on the CPU asynchronously while avoiding waiting for blocking operations (network or I/O). Everything still runs on one thread.

I wasn't able to quickly divine if this approach allows avoiding the value copy as delegates do. If they do, would you mind explaining how (such as in the case that a promise/equivalent is resolved immediately, before a result handler is attached)?

April 08

On Wednesday, 7 April 2021 at 16:43:59 UTC, Vladimir Panteleev wrote:

>

You don't need an object pool at all with delegates. You can just pass a slice of an array on the stack.

Yes, I cloud just free it.

>

The paragraph you quoted discussed delegates, not promises. Promises do need a copy always, as I stated in my post.

I think it depends on the Promise lifetime and the Caller lifetime.

In my code the buffer do copy at caller lifetime finished like scope exit or __dtor, or it need a bigger capability.

If the Promise outlive the caller lifetime, I can not pass caller delegate as reject/resolve because the caller cloud be destroyed, in this case The callback accepted a copy slice result( when caller destroy the buffer the copy take place).

If you can pass caller delegate to promise(the caller live), then you can pass slice to promise. If the caller destroy before resolve/reject, then you code crashed or you need copy your template view.

A Buffer destroyed don't mean the memory is released, it can be moved into other instance, or hold by a Slice.

April 08

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 05:44:15 UTC, Calvin P wrote:

>

On Wednesday, 7 April 2021 at 16:43:59 UTC, Vladimir Panteleev wrote:

>

You don't need an object pool at all with delegates. You can just pass a slice of an array on the stack.

Yes, I cloud just free it.

>

The paragraph you quoted discussed delegates, not promises. Promises do need a copy always, as I stated in my post.

I think it depends on the Promise lifetime and the Caller lifetime.

In my code the buffer do copy at caller lifetime finished like scope exit or __dtor, or it need a bigger capability.

If the Promise outlive the caller lifetime, I can not pass caller delegate as reject/resolve because the caller cloud be destroyed, in this case The callback accepted a copy slice result( when caller destroy the buffer the copy take place).

If you can pass caller delegate to promise(the caller live), then you can pass slice to promise. If the caller destroy before resolve/reject, then you code crashed or you need copy your template view.

A Buffer destroyed don't mean the memory is released, it can be moved into other instance, or hold by a Slice.

The pointer is If the caller want provide memory to promise pass a buffer or slice instead array. Then the caller can control the lifetime of the buffer/slice.

And the buffer always get copy then the buffer/slice lifetime finished.

If this in a single thread event loop, then the buffer/slice destroy code will make sure the resource will be available for the promise object by made a copy. (or not copy if the caller owned stack array still live when promise resolved/rejected.)

April 08

On Wednesday, 7 April 2021 at 21:37:10 UTC, Andre Pany wrote:

>

The library looks majorly useful.

Thx, just the stoptoken alone has already saved my life.

>

I just noticed it has the license "proprietary" which makes usage just a little bit more complex in a business environment. Is there any reason for not using a common license?

I think it was an oversight, let me fix it.

April 08

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 05:42:28 UTC, Vladimir Panteleev wrote:

>

Thanks!

Looking into this a bit, I understand that this doesn't quite attempt to solve the same problems.

Indeed, it is much broader.

>

The document and the talk begins about how this is aimed to be a tool at doing parallel/asynchronous computations. Promises and async/await are mainly concerned about scheduling execution of code on the CPU asynchronously while avoiding waiting for blocking operations (network or I/O). Everything still runs on one thread.

Senders/Receivers doesn't impose a specific execution model, you can use it on coroutines, threads, fibers, etc. In the implementation I focused on threads cause that is what we needed, but there isn't anything preventing from building an fiber scheduler on top of this.

>

I wasn't able to quickly divine if this approach allows avoiding the value copy as delegates do. If they do, would you mind explaining how (such as in the case that a promise/equivalent is resolved immediately, before a result handler is attached)?

There is a section in the talk about promises and futures. https://youtu.be/h-ExnuD6jms?t=686

In short, they are eager. This means that they start running as soon as possible. That means the setValue of the promise and the attaching of the continuation can happen concurrently. Therefor space has to be allocated for the return value, as well as some sort of synchronization for the continuation handler.

Senders/Receivers on the other hand are lazy. They don't start until after the receiver has been attached. Because of that it needs no allocation for the value, doesn't need to type-erase the continuation, and there is no concurrent access on the continuation handler.

If you limit your program to a single thread you can avoid the concurrent access on the continuation handler, but that still leaves the value the promise produces, you still need to allocate that on the heap and ref count it.

Because Senders/Receivers are lazy, there is less shared state and the ownership is simpler. On top of that they can often use the stack of whoever awaits them.

April 08

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 07:39:44 UTC, Sebastiaan Koppe wrote:

>

In short, they are eager. This means that they start running as soon as possible. That means the setValue of the promise and the attaching of the continuation can happen concurrently. Therefor space has to be allocated for the return value, as well as some sort of synchronization for the continuation handler.

Senders/Receivers on the other hand are lazy. They don't start until after the receiver has been attached. Because of that it needs no allocation for the value, doesn't need to type-erase the continuation, and there is no concurrent access on the continuation handler.

If you limit your program to a single thread you can avoid the concurrent access on the continuation handler, but that still leaves the value the promise produces, you still need to allocate that on the heap and ref count it.

Because Senders/Receivers are lazy, there is less shared state and the ownership is simpler. On top of that they can often use the stack of whoever awaits them.

I see, thanks! So, if I understand correctly - to put it in layman terms, senders/receivers is just a structured way to chain together callables, plus propagating errors (as with promises), plus cancellation. I understand that setValue just calls the next continuation with its argument (as opposed to storing the value somewhere as its name might imply), which means that the value may reside on the stack of the sender's start function, and remain valid only until setValue exits. The API is also somewhat similar, and I understand the main distinction is that starting execution is explicit (so, and the end of your .then chain, there must be a .start() call OSLT).

>

Senders/Receivers doesn't impose a specific execution model, you can use it on coroutines, threads, fibers, etc. In the implementation I focused on threads cause that is what we needed, but there isn't anything preventing from building an fiber scheduler on top of this.

I see how you could write a fiber-based executor/scheduler, but, I don't see how you could use these as a base for a synchronous fiber API like async/await. With delegates (and senders/receivers), there is a known finite lifetime of the value being propagated. With async/await, the value is obtained as the return value of await, which does not really provide a way to notify the value's source of when it is no longer needed.

April 08

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 09:31:53 UTC, Vladimir Panteleev wrote:

>

I see, thanks! So, if I understand correctly - to put it in layman terms, senders/receivers is just a structured way to chain together callables, plus propagating errors (as with promises), plus cancellation. I understand that setValue just calls the next continuation with its argument (as opposed to storing the value somewhere as its name might imply), which means that the value may reside on the stack of the sender's start function, and remain valid only until setValue exits.
The API is also somewhat similar, and I understand the main distinction is that starting execution is explicit (so, and the end of your .then chain, there must be a .start() call OSLT).

Yes, but be aware that the callee of .start() has the obligation to keep the operational state alive until after one of the three receiver's functions are called.

Often, instead of calling .start you would call .sync_wait, or just return the sender itself (and have the parent take care of it).

>

I see how you could write a fiber-based executor/scheduler, but, I don't see how you could use these as a base for a synchronous fiber API like async/await. With delegates (and senders/receivers), there is a known finite lifetime of the value being propagated. With async/await, the value is obtained as the return value of await, which does not really provide a way to notify the value's source of when it is no longer needed.

Hmm, I see. But isn't that the limitation of async/await itself? I suppose the solution would be to build refcounts on top of the value, such that the promise hold a reference to the value (slot), as well as any un-called continuations. Which would tie the lifetime of the value to that of the promise and all its continuations.

Ultimately this is all caused by the promise's design. Specifically the fact that you can .then the same promise twice and get the same value. Senders/Receivers don't have this. You get the value/error/done exactly once. Calling start again is not allowed.

April 08

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 11:13:55 UTC, Sebastiaan Koppe wrote:

>

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 09:31:53 UTC, Vladimir Panteleev wrote:

>

I see, thanks! So, if I understand correctly - to put it in layman terms, senders/receivers is just a structured way to chain together callables, plus propagating errors (as with promises), plus cancellation. I understand that setValue just calls the next continuation with its argument (as opposed to storing the value somewhere as its name might imply), which means that the value may reside on the stack of the sender's start function, and remain valid only until setValue exits.
The API is also somewhat similar, and I understand the main distinction is that starting execution is explicit (so, and the end of your .then chain, there must be a .start() call OSLT).

Yes, but be aware that the callee of .start() has the obligation to keep the operational state alive until after one of the three receiver's functions are called.

Sorry, what does operational state mean here? Does that refer to the root sender object (which is saved on the stack and referenced by the objects implementing the intermediate steps/operations)? Or something else (locals referred by the lambdas performing the asynchronous operations, though I guess in that case DMD would create a closure)?

Also, does this mean that this approach is not feasible for @safe D?

>

Often, instead of calling .start you would call .sync_wait, or just return the sender itself (and have the parent take care of it).

I'm finding it a bit difficult to imagine how that would look like on a larger scale. Would it be possible to write e.g. an entire web app where all functions accept and return senders, with only the top-level function calling .start?

Or is there perhaps a small demo app making use of this as a demonstration? :)

> >

I see how you could write a fiber-based executor/scheduler, but, I don't see how you could use these as a base for a synchronous fiber API like async/await. With delegates (and senders/receivers), there is a known finite lifetime of the value being propagated. With async/await, the value is obtained as the return value of await, which does not really provide a way to notify the value's source of when it is no longer needed.

Hmm, I see. But isn't that the limitation of async/await itself? I suppose the solution would be to build refcounts on top of the value, such that the promise hold a reference to the value (slot), as well as any un-called continuations. Which would tie the lifetime of the value to that of the promise and all its continuations.

Logically, at any point in time, a promise either has un-called continuations, OR holds a value. As soon as it is fulfilled, it schedules all registered continuations to be called as soon as possible. (In reality there is a small window of time as the scheduler runs these continuations before they consume the value.)

We could avoid having to do reference counting or such with promises if we were to:

  1. Move the value into the promise, thus making the promise the value's owner

  2. Call continuations actually immediately (not "soon" as JavaScript promises do)

  3. Define that continuation functions may only use the value until they return.

With these modifications, it is sufficient to make the promise itself reference-counted (or, well, non-copyable). When it is no longer referenced / goes out of scope, all consumers of the value will have been called, and no more can be registered.

However, these modifications unfortunately do make such promises unusable for async/await. Here, the continuation is the fragment of the async function from that await and only until the next await (or the return). We can't really make any assumptions about the lifetime of the value in this case. (I think the same applies to fibers, too?)

The "call soon" requirement is interesting because it does help avoid an entire class of bugs, where something N levels deep removes the rug from under something N-10 levels deep, so I guess it's a trade-off between performance and potential correctness.

>

Ultimately this is all caused by the promise's design. Specifically the fact that you can .then the same promise twice and get the same value. Senders/Receivers don't have this. You get the value/error/done exactly once. Calling start again is not allowed.

Yeah, I see. They don't hold a copy of the value at all, but are just a protocol for passing them around to the next processing step.

April 10

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 11:55:37 UTC, Vladimir Panteleev wrote:

>

On Thursday, 8 April 2021 at 11:13:55 UTC, Sebastiaan Koppe wrote:

>

Yes, but be aware that the callee of .start() has the obligation to keep the operational state alive until after one of the three receiver's functions are called.

Sorry, what does operational state mean here? Does that refer to the root sender object (which is saved on the stack and referenced by the objects implementing the intermediate steps/operations)? Or something else (locals referred by the lambdas performing the asynchronous operations, though I guess in that case DMD would create a closure)?

Operational state is a term from the proposal, it is what is returned when you call .connect(receiver) on a Sender. It contains all the state needed to start the Sender, often including the receiver itself.

It is this state that requires an allocation when you are doing Futures. With senders/receivers it lives on the callee's stack. With that comes the responsibility to keep it alive.

In practice it is a non-issue though. You are unlikely to call .start() yourself, instead you often push the responsibility all the way up to void main, where you do a sync_wait to ensure all is done.

There are cases where you want to make the operational state live on the heap though (because it gets too big), and there are ways to do that.

>

Also, does this mean that this approach is not feasible for @safe D?

I certainly tried, but there are likely some safety-violations left. Undoubtedly some of those could be resolved by a more safety-capable engineer than me; I sometimes feel it is more complicated to write @safe code correctly than lock-free algorithms - which are notoriously hard - and sometimes it is not possible to express the wanted semantics.

Even so, even if there is some large unsafe hole in this library, I rather have it than not. There is a lot of upside in being able to write asynchronous algorithms separate from the async tasks themselves. Just like the STL separated the algorithms from the containers, senders/receivers separate the algorithms from the async tasks. That is so valuable to me I gladly take a little possible unsafety. Although obviously I certainly welcome any improvements on that front!

> >

Often, instead of calling .start you would call .sync_wait, or just return the sender itself (and have the parent take care of it).

I'm finding it a bit difficult to imagine how that would look like on a larger scale. Would it be possible to write e.g. an entire web app where all functions accept and return senders, with only the top-level function calling .start?

Yes, except the top-level function would call .sync_wait. The main reason is because that awaits completion.

The key part is expressing the web server as a Sender, and then run it till completion. A web server is a bit special in that it spawns additional sub-tasks as part of its execution. You can use a Nursery() for that, which is a Sender itself, but allows adding additional senders during its execution. Then you just model each request as a Sender and add it to the Nursery. They can be short lived or long lived tasks. When it is time for shutdown the StopToken is triggered, and that will stop the listening thread as well as any running sub-tasks as well (like open requests or websockets, etc.).

>

Or is there perhaps a small demo app making use of this as a demonstration? :)

Nothing public at the moment sorry, but I plan to open source our webserver in time.

> >

Hmm, I see. But isn't that the limitation of async/await itself? I suppose the solution would be to build refcounts on top of the value, such that the promise hold a reference to the value (slot), as well as any un-called continuations. Which would tie the lifetime of the value to that of the promise and all its continuations.

Logically, at any point in time, a promise either has un-called continuations, OR holds a value. As soon as it is fulfilled, it schedules all registered continuations to be called as soon as possible. (In reality there is a small window of time as the scheduler runs these continuations before they consume the value.)

I think it is possible to attach a continuation after the promise has already completed.

promise = getFoo();
getBar().then(x => promise.then(y => print(x*y));

The one thing I miss most from promises though, is cancellation. With senders/receivers you get that (almost) for free, and it is not at all difficult to properly shutdown (parts of) your application (including sending shutdown notifications to any clients).

Next ›   Last »
1 2