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cl-skip-list

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cl-skip-listdata-structures

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I found this library a few weeks ago. It implements a Skip List data structure. Which is a lock-free and has O(log n) for lookup, insert and delete operations.

I wondered if this library will have a better performance in situation when you have to access a dictionary from multiple threads?

Here is a simple benchmark. We ll create 10 threads and do 10 millions lookup of a value in the dictionary filled by 6600 symbols from the keywords package.

I'm testing on SBCL 2.0.2 with (declaim (optimize (debug 1) (speed 3))) options running on the Macbook with 12 cores.

Let's run this benchmark using a standard Common Lisp hash table and a lock:

POFTHEDAY> (let ((hash (make-hash-table))
                 (lock (bt:make-lock))
                 (num-operations 10000000)
                 (num-threads 10))
             (do-external-symbols (s :keyword)
               (setf (gethash s hash)
                     (symbol-name s)))
             (setf (gethash :foo hash)
                   "FOO")
             ;; Now it is time to define a worker function
             (flet ((worker ()
                      (loop with result = nil
                            repeat num-operations
                            do (bt:with-lock-held (lock)
                                 (setf result
                                       (gethash :foo hash)))
                            finally (return result))))
               ;; We'll create N workers and measure a total time required to finish them all
               (let* ((started-at (get-internal-real-time))
                      (workers (loop repeat num-threads
                                     collect (bt:make-thread #'worker))))
                 (loop for worker in workers
                       do (bt:join-thread worker))
                 ;; Calculate the total time
                 (/ (- (get-internal-real-time) started-at)
                    internal-time-units-per-second))))
2399/100 (23.99)

And now a lock free version using cl-skip-list:

POFTHEDAY> (let ((hash (cl-skip-list:make-skip-list :key-equal #'eql))
                 (num-operations 10000000)
                 (num-threads 10))
             (do-external-symbols (s :keyword)
               (cl-skip-list:skip-list-add hash
                                           s
                                           (symbol-name s)))
             (unless (cl-skip-list:skip-list-lookup hash :foo)
               (cl-skip-list:skip-list-add hash
                                           :foo
                                           "FOO"))
             ;; Now it is time to define a worker function
             (flet ((worker ()
                      (loop with result = nil
                            repeat num-operations
                            do (setf result
                                     (cl-skip-list:skip-list-lookup hash :foo))
                            finally (return result))))
               ;; We'll create N workers and measure a total time required to finish them all
               (let* ((started-at (get-internal-real-time))
                      (workers (loop repeat num-threads
                                     collect (bt:make-thread #'worker))))
                 (loop for worker in workers
                       do (bt:join-thread worker))
                 ;; Calculate the total time
                 (/ (- (get-internal-real-time) started-at)
                    internal-time-units-per-second))))
45799/1000 (45.799)

As you see, the version with a lock is twice faster: 46 seconds against 24.

Are there any reasons to use a lock-free data structure if it does not get you any speed gains?


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