Re: power-efficient scheduling design

From: Daniel Lezcano
Date: Wed Jun 12 2013 - 05:50:32 EST

On 06/12/2013 02:27 AM, David Lang wrote:
> On Mon, 10 Jun 2013, Daniel Lezcano wrote:
>> Some SoC can have a cluster of cpus sharing some resources, eg cache, so
>> they must enter the same state at the same moment. Beside the
>> synchronization mechanisms, that adds a dependency with the next event.
>> For example, the u8500 board has a couple of cpus. In order to make them
>> to enter in retention, both must enter the same state, but not necessary
>> at the same moment. The first cpu will wait in WFI and the second one
>> will initiate the retention mode when entering to this state.
>> Unfortunately, some time could have passed while the second cpu entered
>> this state and the next event for the first cpu could be too close, thus
>> violating the criteria of the governor when it choose this state for the
>> second cpu.
>> Also the latencies could change with the frequencies, so there is a
>> dependency with cpufreq, the lesser the frequency is, the higher the
>> latency is. If the scheduler takes the decision to go to a specific
>> state assuming the exit latency is a given duration, if the frequency
>> decrease, this exit latency could increase also and lead the system to
>> be less responsive.
>> I don't know, how were made the latencies computation (eg. worst case,
>> taken with the lower frequency or not) but we have just one set of
>> values. That should happen with the current code.
>> Another point is the timer allowing to detect bad decision and go to a
>> deep idle state. With the cluster dependency described above, we may
>> wake up a particular cpu, which turns on the cluster and make the entire
>> cluster to wake up in order to enter a deeper state, which could fail
>> because of the other cpu may not fulfill the constraint at this moment.
> Nobody is saying that this sort of thing should be in the fastpath of
> the scheduler.
> But if the scheduler has a table that tells it the possible states, and
> the cost to get from the current state to each of these states (and to
> get back and/or wake up to full power), then the scheduler can make the
> decision on what to do, invoke a routine to make the change (and in the
> meantime, not be fighting the change by trying to schedule processes on
> a core that's about to be powered off), and then when the change
> happens, the scheduler will have a new version of the table of possible
> states and costs
> This isn't in the fastpath, it's in the rebalancing logic.

As Arjan mentionned it is not as simple as this.

We want the scheduler to take some decisions with the knowledge of idle
latencies. In other words move the governor logic into the scheduler.

The scheduler can take decision and the backend driver provides the
interface to go to the idle state.

But unfortunately each hardware is behaving in different ways and
describing such behaviors will help to find the correct design, I am not
raising a lot of issues but just trying to enumerate the constraints we

What is the correct decision when a lot of pm blocks are tied together
and the

In the example given by Arjan, the frequencies could be per cluster,
hence decreasing the frequency for a core will decrease the frequency of
the other core. So if the scheduler takes the decision to put one core
into a specific idle state, regarding the target residency and the exit
latency when the frequency is at max (the other core is doing
something), and then the frequency decrease, the exit latency may
increase in this case and the idle cpu will take more time to exit the
idle state than expected thus adding latency to the system.

What would be the correct decision in this case ? Wake up the idle cpu
when the frequency change to re-evaluate an idle state ? Provide idle
latencies for the min freq only ? Or is it acceptable to have such
latency added when the frequency decrease ?

Also, an interesting question is how do we get these latencies ?

They are all written in the c-state tables but we don't know the
accuracy of these values ? Were they measured with freq max / min ?

Were they measured with a driver powering down the peripherals or without ?

For the embedded systems, we may have different implementations and
maybe different latencies. Would be makes sense to pass these values
through a device tree and let the SoC vendor to specify the right values
? (IMHO, only the SoC vendor can do a correct measurement with an

I know there are lot of questions :)

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