On Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 9:37 AM, Peter Geoghegan <pe...@2ndquadrant.com> wrote:
> On 9 February 2012 13:50, Robert Haas <robertmh...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I'm also more than slightly concerned that we are losing sight of the
>> forest for the trees.  I have heard reports that sorting large amounts
>> of data is many TIMES slower for us than for a certain other database
>> product.  I frankly wonder if this entire patch is a distraction.
>> When inlining is the tool of choice for further performance
>> improvement, it suggests that we're pretty much out of ideas, and that
>> whatever we get out of inlining - be it 6% or 30% - will be the end.
>> I don't like that idea very much.
> If you're talking about the product I think you're talking about,
> well, their contracts forbid any actual benchmarks, so we won't have
> any hard figures, but I find it intuitively difficult to believe that
> the difference is that large, mostly because I've demonstrated that
> the performance of qsort is a pretty good proxy for the performance of
> a query like "select * from foo order by bar", and qsort can't be too
> far from optimal. Besides, didn't you yourself say "I've been
> skeptical of this patch for a number of reasons, the major one of
> which is that most workloads spend only a very small amount of time in
> doing qucksorts"?

Emphasis on "large" amounts of data.

I've said from the beginning that the small-sort case is less
interesting to me: it's nice to make it faster, but nobody's going to
quit using PostgreSQL because a quicksort takes 8ms instead of 6ms.
It's when we start talking about operations that take minutes or hours
that the differences become material.

> I have a new plan. I think you'll like it:
> * drop the type specific specialisations entirely.


> * drop qsort_arg (the original, unspecialised version). We now have
> exactly the same number of source code copies of qsort as before: 2.

This may be useful elsewhere some day, but I suppose we can always
pull it back out of git if we need it.

> * gut the comparison of the leading sort key only from
> comparetup_heap, comparetup_index_btree, etc (I collectively refer to
> these functions as tuple-class encapsulating comparators, distinct
> from their comparator proper).
> * Instantiate two specialisations of qsort_arg: single key and
> multiple key (exactly the same number as has already been agreed to,
> since we lost the generic version). However, there is one key
> difference now: we call one of the tuple class encapsulating functions
> through a function pointer if the first comparison gives equality - .
> Early indications are that this is almost as much of a win as the
> single-key case. So the code effectively does this (but through a
> function pointer):
> #define MULTI_ADDITIONAL_CODE(COMPAR)                                         
>                                   \
> {                                                                             
>                                                                           \
>        return comparetup_heap(aT, bT, state);                                 
>                                  \
> }
> This works because most comparisons won't actually need to look at the
> second key, and because the cut-down tuple-class encapsulating
> comparator that is used in the last revision of the patch doesn't
> actually make any assumption about the particular tuple-class
> encapsulating comparator in use.
> It may not even be worth-while having a separate copy of the qsort
> function for the multiple key case, so the question of binary bloat
> becomes entirely irrelevant, as there would be a net gain of zero
> copies of qsort_arg.

I'm not sure I entirely follow all this, but I'll look at the code
once you have it.  Are you saying that all the comparetup_yadda
functions are redundant to each other in the single-key case?

Robert Haas
EnterpriseDB: http://www.enterprisedb.com
The Enterprise PostgreSQL Company

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