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Old 12-17-2008, 11:50 PM   #1
LXer
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LXer: This week at LWN: Dueling performance monitors


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Low-level optimization of performance-critical code can be a challenging task. At this point, one assumes, the potential for algorithmic improvements in the targeted code has been realized; what is left is trying to locate and address problems like cache misses, mis-predicted branches, and so on. Such problems can be impossible to find by just looking at the code; one needs support from the hardware. The good news is that contemporary hardware provides that support; most processors can collect a wide range of performance data for analysis. The bad news is that, despite the fact that processors have been able to collect that data for many years, there has never been support for this kind of performance monitoring in the mainline kernel. That situation may be about to change, but, first, the development community will have to make a choice between a venerable out-of-tree implementation and an unexpected competitor.

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