Re: Share .cpp and .h along projects

"Ben Voigt [C++ MVP]" <rbv@nospam.nospam>
Mon, 20 Aug 2007 09:57:14 -0500
"Doug Harrison [MVP]" <> wrote in message

On Fri, 17 Aug 2007 15:14:50 -0500, "Ben Voigt [C++ MVP]"
<rbv@nospam.nospam> wrote:

volatile std::vector* g_sharedVector;


   std::vector* pvector = NULL;

   // this is a spin-wait, efficient on SMP, but on a single processor
system a yield should be inserted
   while (pvector == NULL) {
       pvector = InterlockedExchangePointerAcquire(&g_sharedVector,

   // use pvector in any way desired

With this sort of busy-waiting, it's more important than ever that "any
desired" translate to "as short a time as possible".

Agreed. But that's true for any access to synchronized resources.

   // with VC2005, can use "g_sharedVector = pvector;" instead
   InterlockedExchangePointerRelease(&g_sharedVector, pvector);

The sensible thing is to get rid of the pointers and use a
along with the vector object instead of this clumsy, inefficient, obscure,
limited alternative to the way people have been doing things since the
beginning of Windows NT.

That's a higher level of abstraction for doing exactly the same thing.

BTW, why _exactly_ did you use volatile in your declaration of
g_sharedVector? (Based on the declaration of
InterlockedExchangePointerAcquire, it shouldn't even compile.)

The compiler DOES apply those optimizations. If the code doesn't make
proper use of volatile and memory barriers to ensure that the correct data
is seen in other threads, then the code has a thread safety issue, not the

I'll say it again:

You can't require people to use volatile on top of synchronization.
Synchronization needs to be sufficient all by itself, and it is in any
compiler useful for multithreaded programming. All you need is

As you've become fixated on memory barriers, I'll add that using
synchronization objects takes care of whatever memory barriers may be
needed. Most multithreaded programming is done in terms of mutexes and the
like, and thinking about memory barriers is not necessary when using
mutexes and the like.

Splitting functions into separate DLLs to prevent the optimizations is not
the right thing to do. It is fragile. For example, at one time simply
using two different compilation units within the same module would prevent
optimization. Now there is Link-Time Code Generation. Also, the .NET JIT
compiler does cross-assembly inlining and even native compilation can make
deductions and optimize across external calls using aliasing analysis.

As I've said a couple of times by now, "If the compiler could look into
DLL, there would have to be some way to explicitly indicate that
lock/unlock are unsafe for this optimization." Do you understand I'm not
saying that the DLL approach is the be-all, end-all solution to the
problem? Do you understand what I meant when I said, "By putting
WaitForSingleObject, ReleaseMutex, and others in opaque system DLLs,
correct compiler behavior for MT programming WRT these operations
essentially comes for free." That means as long as the compiler doesn't
perform optimizations unsafe for multithreading around calls to these
functions, it does not need to define a way to mark their declarations
unsafe. It also means you don't have to use volatile, because the compiler

You keep making the same false claim. Here, let me show you a variant of
your code that is going to fail with an intelligent compiler, no peering
into the DLL necessary:

namespace {
    // assume the address of x is never taken
    int x; // needs to be volatile
    mutex mx;

// None of these touch x.
void lock(mutex&);
void unlock(mutex&);
void g(int);

void f1()


void f2()

As you stated "A compiler that can see into all these functions will observe
that none of lock, unlock, and g access x, so it can cache the value of x
across the mutex calls in f1." I tell you that because x has file-local
linkage and the address of x is not taken, aliasing analysis in current
compilers proves that none of lock, unlock, or g access x -- without seeing
into the functions.

Using DLLs to inhibit optimization is broken, Broken, BROKEN! Adding
"volatile" to the declaration of x fixes the problem.

must assume these functions can affect observable behavior involving the
objects you want to needlessly declare volatile, which as I've already
noted, is a huge performance killer plus completely impractical to use for
class objects.

It is *not* a performance killer when used correctly. Look at my original
example above and note that pvector is not declared volatile, only the
shared pointer is. Within the critical section all optimizations are

Using "volatile" is the only way to make code robust in the face of
improving optimizing compilers, and as a bonus, it is part of the C++

That's really quite funny. The C++ Standard does not address
multithreading, and it was recognized long ago that volatile is not the
answer or even a significant part of the answer. You might begin to
understand these things I've been talking about if you'd take the advice I
gave you a couple of messages ago:

You should google this group as well as comp.programming.threads for past
discussions on "volatile".

I've read several of those threads, some of which are in the hundreds of

If you won't do this but reply with more of the same, you will have the
last word.

Doug Harrison
Visual C++ MVP

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