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  1. JDK
  2. JDK-8290025

Remove the Sweeper



    • Enhancement
    • Resolution: Fixed
    • P4
    • 20
    • 8, 11, 17, 19, 20
    • hotspot
    • None
    • b13


      When the world was still young, the sweeper was built to unload bad smelling nmethods. While it has been going through various revisions, the GCs got support for class unloading, and the need for the GCs to get rid of nmethods with a different unpleasant scent.

      The two systems would now compete for unloading nmethods, and the responsibility of throwing away nmethods would blur. The sweeper was still good at throwing away nmethods faster as it only needs to scan stacks, and not do a full GC.

      With the advent of Loom, the situation has gotten even worse. The stacks are now also in the Java heap. The sweeper is unable to throw away nmethods without the liveness analysis of a full GC, which also performs code cache unloading, but isn't allowed to actually delete nmethods due to races with the sweeper. In a way we have the worst of both worlds, where both the sweeper and GC are crippled, unable to unload nmethods without the help of the other. And there are a very large number of complicated races that the JVM needs to deal with, especially with concurrent code cache unloading not interfering with concurrent sweeping. And concurrent sweeping not interfering with the application.

      The sweeper cycle exposes 2 flavours of nmethods that are "dead" to the system. So whenever nmethods are used, we have to know they are not dead. But we typically don't have the tools to really know they are not dead. For example, one might think grabbing the CodeCache_lock and using an iterator that only walks is_alive() nmethods would help make sure you don't get dead nmethods in your iterator. However, that is not the case, because the CodeCache_lock can't be held across the entire zombie transition due to "reasons" that are not trivial to actually change. Because of this, code has to deal with nmethods flipping around randomly to a dead state.

      I propose to get out of this sad situation, by removing the sweeper. If we need a full GC anyway to remove nmethods, we might as well let the GC do everything. This removes the notion of is_zombie(), is_unloaded() and hence is_alive() from the JVM. It also removes the notion of the orthogonal but related nmethodLocker to keep nmethods around, without preventing them from dying. We instead throw away nmethods the way we throw away pretty much anything else in the unloading GC code:
      1. Unlink
      2. Global sync
      3. Throw away
      4. Profit!
      This way, if you get a reference to an nmethod, it won't go away until the next safepoint poll, and will not flip around liveness due to concurrent transitions.


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              eosterlund Erik Ă–sterlund
              eosterlund Erik Ă–sterlund
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