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Subject: Re: New colony proposal - feedback requested
From: Patrice Roy (patricer_at_[hidden])
Date: 2020-05-03 11:29:07


It's been in LEWG a few times already, and presented (extremely well) by
Nico Josuttis in an evening session (JAX?). SG14 has seen it a few times
already. Since I haven't been able to attend recent meetings, I don't know
where it stands with LEWG today, however.

Le sam. 2 mai 2020 à 20:55, Tony V E via SG14 <sg14_at_[hidden]> a
écrit :

> What stage is this proposal at? Where has it been seen so far? LEWGI?
> LEWG? SGXX?
> Where will it be seen next?
>
>
> Sent from my BlackBerry portable Babbage Device
> Original Message
> From: Jens Maurer via SG14
> Sent: Saturday, May 2, 2020 3:39 PM
> To: Matthew Bentley
> Reply To: sg14_at_[hidden]
> Cc: Jens Maurer; Low Latency:Game
> Dev/Financial/Trading/Simulation/Embedded Devices
> Subject: Re: [SG14] New colony proposal - feedback requested
>
> On 02/05/2020 07.05, Matthew Bentley wrote:
> > First of all, thanks Jens for the thorough overview - please consider
> any points I don't comment on below as accepted criticism and as things I
> will action upon:
> >
> > On Fri, 1 May 2020 at 22:21, Jens Maurer <Jens.Maurer_at_[hidden] <mailto:
> Jens.Maurer_at_[hidden]>> wrote:
> >
> > - Please suggest stable labels and a location in the standard
> > where the additional container should go.
> >
> >
> > When you say "stable labels", do you mean numbered headings as in
> "26.3.8.5 deque specialized algorithms".
>
> All sections in the standard have labels, e.g. [basic.def.odr].
> Please make a suggestion for each of the (sub)sections you add.
>
> Also, please give a pointer where in the (numerical) order
> of sections you want your new sections about colony to
> appear.
>
> > - The "Skipfield" template parameter is not specified.
> > Which restrictions apply? (For example, can it be void,
> > an array of unknown bound, an abstract base class, a function
> > type, or a non-copyable class type?)
> >
> >
> > I don't think it's necessary to leave it anything other than
> implementation-defined? The reference implementation must use unsigned
> integral types, but I don't want to obviate future potential improvements
> on implementations, that could, for example, use a floating-point type
> (somehow).
>
> If this is not a type that the user can/should influence, then it
> shouldn't be a template parameter for colony in the first place.
>
> > - Would it be useful to give the default template argument
> > for Skipfield a user-visible name? We also use the public
> > name std::allocator for the default argument of Allocator etc.
> >
> >
> > Since the type is meant to be implementation-defined, I'm unsure how to
> do this.
>
> "implementation-defined"? What benefit does the user gain from
> knowing what type it is?
>
> > - "const size_type min/max_block_capacity"> drop "const"; it's ignored
> in a non-defining function declaration anyway.
> >
> >
> > There's plenty of use of const in the existing standard, for containers,
> not sure what is different about what I'm doing. For example:
> > "iterator insert(const_iterator position, size_type n, const T& x);"
> > under 26.3.8.1 Class template deque overview.
>
> const T& is "reference to const T", which is not a top-level const.
> However, "const size_type" is a top-level const, and those
> get ignored when forming function types. See [dcl.fct] p5.
> The definition of "top-level cv-qualifier" is in
> [basic.type.qualifier] p6.
>
> > - The synopsis should show "assign" member functions near "operator=".
> >
> >
> > There are no assign member functions. I was following the path of other
> unordered containers by not including them. Is there an obvious reason for
> including them? Implementation would be clear();reserve();insert().
>
> The existing unordered_* containers are associative containers.
> In contrast, "colony" seems very much like a deque, which does
> have assign member functions (because the memory allocated for
> the blocks might be reused).
>
> > - " // Since this could be derived from --end() depending on
> implementation, and that could result in undefined behaviour in a colony
> with no insertions and unbounded iterators, whether this is noexcept is
> implementation-defined"
> >
> > "Since" is rationale that doesn't belong in normative text. Do you want
> to say
> > noexcept( see below ) , or what?
> >
> > Why is "rbegin() const" not so marked? Same question for crbegin().
> >
> >
> > I assumed the reader would be able to extrapolate from one to the
> others. Plus it's a large block of text. Maybe should go in a footnote and
> use a reference marker.
>
> "extrapolate" makes no sense in a specification intended for an
> ISO standard. If you want to say something, you need to say it
> explicitly.
>
> In particular for noexcept, we want to be rather conservative.
> So, if you don't want to prescribe "noexcept" for all implementations,
> this should never be noexcept.
>
> > Why do we need this funny restriction anyway? Can the implementation
> > specialize reverse_iterator<colony::iterator> to do the right thing and
> > avoid the undefined behavior for rbegin() with no runtime cost and no
> > insane code cost? If so, that should be required, not
> implementation-defined.
> >
> >
> > The only way to avoid that behaviour is to store a permanent reference
> to the current back element in-code, which would need to be updated in many
> places, and that's costly. I don't like reverse iterators for performance
> reasons and I personally wouldn't ever sacrifice overall performance to
> obtain an undefined-behaviour free function for rbegin. I want to give
> implementors the same ability. Frankly, as an unordered-insert container,
> the relevance of reverse_iterators is sparse at-best.
>
> So, maybe you don't want to provide reverse iterators
> at all, since clients shouldn't really rely on iteration
> order anyway.
>
> > - In general, the standard doesn't do "get_" and "set_" prefixes for
> getting/setting values.
> > Instead, we have
> > name_for_value(x) to set a value
> > name_for_value() to retrieve the value
> >
> >
> > I don't think that's clear, but okay.
>
> The story is a bit different if there's a lot of work involved
> with the "set" part.
>
> > If you need to return several values, use a struct with nice member
> names.
> >
> >
> > ... Why. How is creating an arbitrary struct type, having the user
> instantiate one, and then have to get rid of it, any better than
> passing-by-reference. It's a waste of time for both the implementor and the
> user.
>
> You can use structured bindings in the caller, which makes your call a lot
> more compact plus gets you the right lifetimes for the variables:
>
> auto [min,max] = my_colony.block_parameters();
>
> Plus you have at least a chance of avoiding allocating
> memory for min and max, which is a lot harder with
> a reference.
>
> I don't care for the (small) implementation effort.
> See the range-based algorithms in clause 25, where this
> pattern is rather pervasive.
>
> > - similar for get_index_from_iterator; Why can't we use
> std::distance(begin(), it)
> > instead?
> > (We have "Complexity: Same as distance specialized algorithm, see
> below.", so there
> > seems to be no benefit.)
> >
> >
> > If you read the implementation
>
> I don't care for the implementation. I care for the specification that
> aspires
> to be in the standard.
>
> > you'll find there's a lot of code you can get rid of when you have the
> assumption of counting from begin(), which makes for a faster function.
> Whether an implementor decides to act on that is up to them.
>
> If that's so much of a win, can't you just run-time check whether the first
> iterator in std::distance is begin() ? Or is the "begin" information lost
> at that point?
>
> > ctor p6:
> >
> > "If n is larger than min_block_capacity, the capacity of the first block
> created will be the smaller of n or max_block_capacity."
> >
> > If you want the min/max block capacity to have any normative impact,
> > you need to establish an actual abstract model you can tie into.
> > Otherwise, why does the capacity of some block matter at all?
> >
> >
> > Because the length of the block affects potential cache locality. The
> abstract model is described in Design Decisions.
>
> As I said, I'm only reading the specification. And this "block capacity"
> business
> appears in the specification without an overarching model that would make
> sense to
> me. That needs to be fixed (e.g. by adding a paragraph or two after the
> class synopsis),
> or any mention of "block capacity" needs to go.
>
> The C++ abstract machine has no way of expressing "cache locality", btw.
>
> > - Why do we need MoveInsertable for "reserve" anyway? Aren't we just
> allocating
> > a new memory block of the desired size, without any moves?
> >
> > That's an open question that I want addressed, so thanks for bringing it
> up - see 'questions for the committee' section.
>
> Fine. Answer: Let's have "reserve" only handle memory pre-allocation.
> If you want compaction or rearrangement of the elements, provide a
> different
> function (such as the set(min,max) function you already have).
>
> > "Complexity: Implementation-defined. One strong strategy involves using
> the standard library's sort function to sort an array of pointers to colony
> elements by the value of the elements they point to, and would have
> std::sort()'s complexity."
> >
> > This is, of course, idle chatter. If there is a reasonable
> implementation
> > strategy that is O(n log n), we should simply require that complexity
> and be
> > done with it.
>
> > That also is an open question. See Questions for Committee section.
>
> Any sorting near O(n^2) is not worth talking about, so you should simply
> prescribe O(n log n) with a "remarks" paragraph that this might allocate
> memory (which might cause std::bad_alloc to be thrown).
>
> > - approximate_memory_use p19
> > "Complexity: Implementation-defined. Should typically be constant."
> >
> > If there is a reasonable implementation strategy to make this constant,
> then make it so
> > in the spec.
> >
> >
> > Constant relies on the same code (maintaining sequential memory block
> numbers or alternatively having vector of memory blocks rather than
> linked-list) that allows operators >/</>=/<= to exist. If the committee
> decides that they don't want those, you would have to maintain those just
> to allow for constant implementation of this function, which I'm not in
> favour of. However I see benefit to retaining >/</>=/<= , so adopting a
> wait-and-see attitude at this point.
>
> I'm not seeing any mention of relational operators in the specification
> section,
> so they don't exist. Also, there is no related "question for the
> committee".
>
> > - Why is reinitialize needed? Can't you just do my_colony =
> colony(min_block_size, max_block_size) ?
> > Oh, we don't have that constructor, but it seems we should definitely
> have it.
> >
> >
> > That constructor is not possible as it creates overload conflict with
> the fill constructor when using integers.
>
> Well, if you make a struct for min/max for the get_parameters() function,
> you can use that struct for the constructor as well, avoiding the
> ambiguity.
>
> > - get_iterator_from_pointer p1: "pointer is not invalid" : The name of
> the parameter is element_pointer
> > (which is a bit verbose, though, just call it "p"). I think we need a
> precondition that the pointer
> > points to an element of *this.
> >
> > - In general, I think we need to be more clear which operations
> invalidate iterators,
> > and we should do so in an overall introductory paragraph of the
> normative wording.
> >
> >
> > This is in the first appendix, but I'm happy to move it upwards if you
> can name the section you think it should be in.
>
> It should be right after the class synopsis.
>
> > and of course the lengthy explanation of the complexity doesn't belong
> here. Just say O(n)
> >
> >
> > Where? You mean in the technical spec? Or in the paper in general?
>
> As I said, I'm only reading the specification part of your paper. Any
> explanations (which are good to have, in general) should go somewhere
> above, maybe near "Design Decisions".
>
> Jens
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