On 14.09.2011 23:29, Robert Haas wrote:
On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 7:47 AM, Robert Haas<robertmh...@gmail.com>  wrote:
I've been thinking about this too and actually went so far as to do
some research and put together something that I hope covers most of
the interesting cases.  The attached patch is pretty much entirely
untested, but reflects my present belief about how things ought to

And, here's an updated version, with some of the more obviously broken
things fixed.


+ * A compiler barrier need not (and preferably should not) emit any actual
+ * machine code, but must act as an optimization fence: the compiler must not
+ * reorder loads or stores to main memory around the barrier.  However, the
+ * CPU may still reorder loads or stores at runtime, if the architecture's
+ * memory model permits this.
+ *
+ * A memory barrier must act as a compiler barrier, and in addition must
+ * guarantee that all loads and stores issued prior to the barrier are
+ * completed before any loads or stores issued after the barrier.  Unless
+ * loads and stores are totally ordered (which is not the case on most
+ * architectures) this requires issuing some sort of memory fencing
+ * instruction.

This seems like a strange way to explain the problem. I would suggest structuring those paragraphs along the lines of:

A PostgreSQL memory barrier guarantees that any loads/stores before the barrier are completely finished and visible to other CPUs, before the loads/stores after the barrier are performed.

That involves two things: 1. We must stop the compiler from rearranging loads/stores across the barrier. 2. We must stop the CPU from reordering the loads/stores across the barrier.

Do we have any use for compiler barriers that are not also memory barriers? If not, I would suggest not exposing the pg_compiler_barrier() macro, but keep that as an implementation detail in the implementations of pg_memory_barrier().

Some examples on the correct usage of these barriers would be nice, too.

  Heikki Linnakangas
  EnterpriseDB   http://www.enterprisedb.com

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