Some tips of using “pool” in programming

In the past weeks, I am dived into utilizing CUDA APIs to operate on multiple GPUs. Among my work, one is a “memory pool” module which manages allocating/freeing memories from different devices. In this post, I want to share some thoughts about “pool”, an interesting tech in programming.

The “pool” works like a “cache”: it allocates some resource beforehand; if the application wants it, the “pool” picks up a available one for it. One classical example is the “database connection pool”: the “pool” preallocates some TCP connections and keep them alive, and this will save client from handshaking with server every time. The other instance is “memory pool”, which I implemented recently. The “pool” keeps the freed memory, and not really release it to device. Based on my benchmark test, the application’s performance can get a 100% improvement in extreme case.

The other function of using “pool” is for debugging purpose. Still use my “memory pool” as an demonstration: for every memory pointer, there are a device ID (which GPU this memory is allocated from) and memory size accompanied with it. So you can know the whole life of this block memory clearly from analyzing trace log. This has saved me from notorious “an illegal memory access was encountered” error many times in multiple GPU programming.

Last but not least, although the number of this “memory pool”‘s code lines is merely ~100, I already use following data structures: queue, vector, pair and map. Not mention the mutex and lock, which are essential to avoid nasty data-race issues. So writing this model is a good practice to hone my programming craft.

Enjoy coding!

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