Re: [eigen] ThreadSafety of Eigen?

[ Thread Index | Date Index | More Archives ]

I am not familiar with such kind of problems, so could you be more precise.
Can you explain at which level it is to be considered.
For instance a lot of factorization algorithms: QR, LU, SVD etc, store
internal variables inside a class, so the usage of an object of one of
those classes is not thread-safe.
As this is obvious, I think the discussion does not apply there but
however I would really like to know more, where people expect to have
thread safety.

If I miss some point of the doc describing that, disregard this post
and please just send me the link.

- cheers,


On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 4:11 PM, Benoit Jacob <jacob.benoit.1@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> 2010/3/31 Björn Piltz <bjornpiltz@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
>> Some thoughts on the subject:
>> Benoit is saying that Eigen is reentrant - as it should be. That is what
>> most people mean by thread-safe, even if it isn't thread safe in the sense
>> that different threads can safely manipulate the same matrix.
>> However, this isn't entirely true.
>> <begin nitpicking>
>> There are a couple of problematic uses of static data in Eigen.
>> There are numerous uses of const static global or member variables. e.g
>> static _EIGEN_DECLARE_CONST_FAST_Packet4f(ZERO, 0);
> OK, i didn't think of that. As you say it's not problematic as it
> doesn't change.
>> or
>> class MatrixFunction{
>>   static const int Rows = Traits::RowsAtCompileTime;
> That one is a mistake: it should be an enum. Let's fix that. Making it
> a "static const int" is just giving the compiler the additional work
> of having to understand that it can optimize it away at compile time.
>> These are unproblematic, since these variables are initialized at program
>> start and never change. One only has to consider the "static initialization
>> order fiasco" - but that is hardly a risk here - and the runtime overhead at
>> startup, which should be minimal for these examples. There are a couple of
>> globals in src/Core/arch/AltiVec/PacketMath.h which haven't been marked as
>> const even though they should be, but that's an easy fix.
>> The finer subtleties occur in examples where static variables are declared
>> in a function. These variables will be initialized lazily. i.e. the first
>> time the function is called.
>> The use of static variables in blueNorm() in src/core/stablenorm.h is just
>> plain wrong. The good news is that this is the only example I found of
>> blatant non-reentrancy.
> (pinging Gael as I believe he copied that code from elsewhere)
>> MatrixBase<Derived>::blueNorm() const
>> {
>>   static int nmax = -1;
>>   static RealScalar b1, b2, s1m, s2m, overfl, rbig, relerr;
>>   if(nmax <= 0)
>>   {
>>     // calculate b1, b2, etc
>> ...
>>     nmax = nbig;
>>   }
> OK indeed this is not reentrant! Thanks for spotting it. For Gael.
>> An even subtler example would be:
>> QuaternionBase<Derived>::slerp(Scalar t, const QuaternionBase<OtherDerived>&
>> other) const
>> {
>>   static const Scalar one = Scalar(1) - NumTraits<Scalar>::epsilon();
>> ...
>> This example is almost certainly safe, at least as long Scalar is a POD. The
>> problem is that either the expression is so simple the compiler optimizes it
>> away - in which case there is no reason declaring it static - or it isn't.
> This one for Gael too :)
> Benoit
>> Then it might actually be inefficient, because  there is a runtime check,
>> which involves locking(GCC and MSVC treat these cases differently), to see
>> if the variable has been initialized or not.
>> The fact is that *there is no way to use lazily initialized non-POD static
>> variables that does not include locks or some atomic API*.
>> For reference,
>> see and
>> So, to return to blueNorm(), I see two ways of fixing this
>> A: Mark the function as non-reentrant. This would be Eigen's only such
>> function then, or
>> B: Put b1, b2 etc in a class, a global instance of which will be initialized
>> at startup. I think this initialization might be optimized away in programs
>> that never call the function(that needs to be checked).
>> Don't be tempted to stick to lazily initialization(through double-checked
>> locking or something equally clever), since it just isn't thread-safe.
>> To end this mail on a positive note: reentrancy is actually one of the
>> reasons I decided to switch to Eigen in the first place, after having used
>> numerous other libraries lacking in this respect.
>> best
>> Björn

Mail converted by MHonArc 2.6.19+