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* [PATCH] Documentation: CPU load calculation description
@ 2007-02-26 11:26 malc
  0 siblings, 0 replies; only message in thread
From: malc @ 2007-02-26 11:26 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: linux-kernel; +Cc: akpm

From: Vassili Karpov <av1474@comtv.ru>

Describes how/when the information exported to `/proc/stat' is calculated,
and possible problems with this approach.

Signed-off-by: Vassili Karpov <av1474@comtv.ru>
---
diff --git a/Documentation/cpu-load.txt b/Documentation/cpu-load.txt
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..287224e
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/cpu-load.txt
@@ -0,0 +1,113 @@
+CPU load
+--------
+
+Linux exports various bits of information via `/proc/stat' and
+`/proc/uptime' that userland tools, such as top(1), use to calculate
+the average time system spent in a particular state, for example:
+
+    $ iostat
+    Linux 2.6.18.3-exp (linmac)     02/20/2007
+
+    avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
+              10.01    0.00    2.92    5.44    0.00   81.63
+
+    ...
+
+Here the system thinks that over the default sampling period the
+system spent 10.01% of the time doing work in user space, 2.92% in the
+kernel, and was overall 81.63% of the time idle.
+
+In most cases the `/proc/stat' information reflects the reality quite
+closely, however due to the nature of how/when the kernel collects
+this data sometimes it can not be trusted at all.
+
+So how is this information collected?  Whenever timer interrupt is
+signalled the kernel looks what kind of task was running at this
+moment and increments the counter that corresponds to this tasks
+kind/state.  The problem with this is that the system could have
+switched between various states multiple times between two timer
+interrupts yet the counter is incremented only for the last state.
+
+
+Example
+-------
+
+If we imagine the system with one task that periodically burns cycles
+in the following manner:
+
+ time line between two timer interrupts
+|--------------------------------------|
+ ^                                    ^
+ |_ something begins working          |
+                                      |_ something goes to sleep
+                                     (only to be awaken quite soon)
+
+In the above situation the system will be 0% loaded according to the
+`/proc/stat' (since the timer interrupt will always happen when the
+system is executing the idle handler), but in reality the load is
+closer to 99%.
+
+One can imagine many more situations where this behavior of the kernel
+will lead to quite erratic information inside `/proc/stat'.
+
+
+/* gcc -o hog smallhog.c */
+#include <time.h>
+#include <limits.h>
+#include <signal.h>
+#include <sys/time.h>
+#define HIST 10
+
+static volatile sig_atomic_t stop;
+
+static void sighandler (int signr)
+{
+     (void) signr;
+     stop = 1;
+}
+static unsigned long hog (unsigned long niters)
+{
+     stop = 0;
+     while (!stop && --niters);
+     return niters;
+}
+int main (void)
+{
+     int i;
+     struct itimerval it = { .it_interval = { .tv_sec = 0, .tv_usec = 1 },
+                             .it_value = { .tv_sec = 0, .tv_usec = 1 } };
+     sigset_t set;
+     unsigned long v[HIST];
+     double tmp = 0.0;
+     unsigned long n;
+     signal (SIGALRM, &sighandler);
+     setitimer (ITIMER_REAL, &it, NULL);
+
+     hog (ULONG_MAX);
+     for (i = 0; i < HIST; ++i) v[i] = ULONG_MAX - hog (ULONG_MAX);
+     for (i = 0; i < HIST; ++i) tmp += v[i];
+     tmp /= HIST;
+     n = tmp - (tmp / 3.0);
+
+     sigemptyset (&set);
+     sigaddset (&set, SIGALRM);
+
+     for (;;) {
+         hog (n);
+         sigwait (&set, &i);
+     }
+     return 0;
+}
+
+
+References
+----------
+
+http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/2/12/6
+Documentation/filesystems/proc.txt (1.8)
+
+
+Thanks
+------
+
+Con Kolivas, Pavel Machek

-- 
vale

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