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kern/45631: ABA problem in subr_pcq.c?

>Number:         45631
>Category:       kern
>Synopsis:       ABA problem in subr_pcq.c?
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       serious
>Priority:       low
>Responsible:    kern-bug-people
>State:          open
>Class:          sw-bug
>Submitter-Id:   net
>Arrival-Date:   Sat Nov 19 00:15:00 +0000 2011
>Originator:     Dennis Ferguson
>Release:        5.99.52
NetBSD 5.99.52 NetBSD 5.99.52 (GENERIC) #0: Wed Jun  8 
01:49:43 PDT 2011
Either the lockless queuing algorithm in subr_pcq.c has an ABA problem, or I'm 
misunderstanding something fundamental and need to be told to get lost.

Suppose pcq_put() is called when the queue is empty.  In this case we will have

    pcq->pcq_producer == pcq->pcq_consumer

and all pointers in the ring buffer will be NULL.  Now suppose that pcq_put() 
is executed up to the point indicated below, after

    producer = pcq->pcq_producer;

but before the attempt to write *producer, and then is interrupted by something 

         * Get our starting point,  While we are doing this, it is
         * imperative that pcq->pcq_base/pcq->pcq_limit not change
         * in value.  If you need to resize a pcq, init a new pcq
         * with the right size and swap pointers to it.
        membar_consumer();      /* see updates to pcq_producer */
        producer = pcq->pcq_producer;
        for (;;) {
                 * Preadvance so we reduce the window on updates.
                pcq_entry_t * const
                          new_producer = pcq_advance(pcq, producer);

====> stops here =====>
                 * Try to fill an empty slot
                if (NULL == atomic_cas_ptr(producer, NULL, item)) {

At this point it has read pcq->pcq_producer, but hasn't done anything else.

Now suppose two things happen during that interrupt:

- Another thread calls pcq_put() (multiple producers are allowed according to 
pcq(9)) and adds something else to the queue.  When it completes this we'll 

    pcq->pcq_producer == producer + 1;
    *producer != NULL;       /* A->B */

- The consumer now runs and calls pcq_get() to remove the thing just added.  
When it finishes we'll have:

    pcq->pcq_consumer == pcq->pcq_producer == producer + 1;
    *producer == NULL;       /* B->A */

- The original call to pcq_put() now resumes.  It will execute the following 

                if (NULL == atomic_cas_ptr(producer, NULL, item)) {
                         * We need to use atomic_cas_ptr since another thread
                         * might have inserted between these two cas operations
                         * and we don't want to overwrite a producer that's
                         * more up-to-date.
                         * Tell them we were able to enqueue it.
                        return true;

The first CAS operation will succeed because *producer == NULL again.  The 
second CAS will fail (since pcq->pcq_producer != producer) but this is ignored. 
 It then returns success, but in fact the queue still looks empty from the 
point of view of the consumer since

    *pcq->pcq_consumer == NULL

at this point.  The item queued might get consumed eventually, but it won't 
until pcq->pcq_consumer has wrapped around the entire ring.  The item is 
orphaned until this happens.

The reason I began to look at this with suspicion is that I believe the call to 
membar_consumer() at the start of pcq_put() is spurious (why would it want to 
ensure that previous loads complete prior to the load of pcq->pcq_producer when 
nothing it does depends on any previous loads, let alone their ordering with 
respect to pcq->pcq_producer?) but the ABA issue is a way more serious problem, 
if I'm not just confused.
See above.  I don't know how to arrange for that to happen in real life, but if 
(when?) it does things will break.
I'm not sure, but I see papers all the time correcting bugs like this in 
parallel algorithms which have been used for a decade.  It might be better to 
stick to well-vetted textbook algorithms rather than rolling one's own.

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