CppCon 2014 ...Scaling Visualization in concurrent C++ programs—Fedor G Pikus

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While we wait for CppCon 2015 in September, we’re featuring videos of some of the 100+ talks from CppCon 2014. Here is today’s feature:

...Scaling Visualization in concurrent C++ programs

by Fedor G Pikus

(watch on YouTube) (watch on Channel 9)

Summary of the talk:

High performance is one of the main reasons programmers choose C++ for their applications. If you are writing in C++, odds are you need every bit of computing power your hardware can provide. Today, this means writing multi-threaded programs to effectively utilize the multiple CPU cores that the hardware manufacturers keep adding. Everyone knows that writing multi-threaded programs is hard. Writing correct multi-threaded programs is even harder. Only after spending countless hours debugging race conditions and weird intermittent bugs do many programmers learn that writing efficient multi-threaded programs is harder yet. Have you ever wanted to see what are all your threads doing when they should be busy computing? This talk will show you how.

We begin by studying several techniques necessary for collecting large amounts of data from the running program very efficiently, with little overhead and minimal disruption to the program itself. We will cover efficient thread-safe memory management and efficient thread-safe disk I/O. Along the way we dabble in lock-free programming just enough to meet our needs, lest the subject will spiral into an hour-long talk of its own. With all these techniques put together, we can collect information about what each thread is doing, which threads are computing and what exactly, and which threads are slacking off waiting on locks, and do it at the time scale of tens of microseconds if necessary. Then we process the collected data and create a timeline that shows exactly what the program was doing at every moment in time.

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