Joshua Yanovski <> writes:
>> But worse, what happens if a count(*)
>> is in progress?  It might or might not have scanned this page already,
>> and there's no way to get the right answer in both cases.  Counter
>> updates done by VACUUM would have a similar race-condition problem.

> I don't think the first part really matters.  If the page was visible
> when COUNT(*) started and then got dirtied by some other transaction,
> any changes by the second transaction shouldn't alter the actual count
> in our transaction anyway, so whether we scan the page needlessly or
> not seems beside the point.

The question is not whether you scan a page "needlessly" or not, it's
whether you double-count the tuples on it.  I don't think it's possible to
be sure that when you add the central counter value into your local sum,
you are neither double-counting nor omitting pages whose all-visible state
changed while you were scanning the table.

                        regards, tom lane

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