[IPython-dev] Coordinating the XREQ and SUB channels

Brian Granger ellisonbg@gmail....
Thu Jul 15 12:44:10 CDT 2010

On Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 9:23 AM, Evan Patterson <epatters@enthought.com> wrote:
> I've added a 'flush' method to the KernelManager here:
> http://github.com/epatters/ipython/commit/2ecde29e8f2a5e7012236f61819b2f7833248553
> It works, although there may be a more intelligent way to do it. That being
> said, I tried a number of different things, and none of the others worked.

The only issue that I see with this is that if the SUB channel keeps
getting incoming message, flush will not return immediately.

> Brian: since the 'flush' method must be called explicitly by clients, this
> won't break our model or extra induce latencies for clients that want to
> take a more sophisticated approach to SUB channel monitoring.

That is true, so I think it this helps you to get going, it is worth
using for now.  But, I still don't see why we reorder the messages in
the frontend based on the parent_ids.  Just so you know, Fernando and
I have set aside time starting this Sunday to work extensively on
this.  At that time we can talk more about this issue.



> Evan
> On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Evan Patterson <epatters@enthought.com>
> wrote:
>> On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 2:10 PM, Brian Granger <ellisonbg@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 10:56 AM, Evan Patterson <epatters@enthought.com>
>>> wrote:
>>> > Hi guys,
>>> >
>>> > I've been making decent progress at connecting my FrontendWidget to a
>>> > KernelManager. I have, however, encountered one fairly serious problem:
>>> > since the XREQ and SUB channels of the KernelManager are in separate
>>> > threads, there is no guarantee about the order in which signals are
>>> > emitted.
>>> > I'm finding that 'execute_reply' signals are frequently emitted
>>> > *before* all
>>> > the output signals have been emitted.
>>> Yes, that is definitely possible and we really don't have control over
>>> it.  Part of the difficulty is that the SUB/SUB channel does buffering
>>> of stdout/stderr (just like sys.stdout/sys.stderr).  While it will
>>> make your application logic more difficult, I think this is something
>>> fundamental we have to live with.  Also, I wouldn't be surprised if
>>> the same were true of the regular python shell because of the
>>> buffering of stdout.
>> I'm not sure it's fair to call this problem fundamental (if we ignore the
>> corner case of the threads in the kernel). After all, output and execution
>> completion happen in a very predictable order in the kernel; it's only our
>> use of multiple frontend-side channel threads that has complicated the
>> issue.
>> In a regular same-process shell, this wouldn't be a problem because you
>> would simply flush stdout before writing the new prompt. It makes sense to
>> be able to request a flush here, I think. A 'flush' in this case would just
>> consist of the making the SubChannel thread active, so that its event loop
>> would pick up whatever it needs to. I believe calling time.sleep(0) once in
>> the XReqChannel before sending an execute reply will be sufficient. The
>> latency introduced should be negligible. I'll experiment with this.
>>> > It seems to me that we should be enforcing, to the extent that we can
>>> > (i.e.
>>> > ignoring threads in the kernel for now), the assumption that when
>>> > 'execute_reply' is signaled, all output has been signaled. Is this
>>> > reasonable?
>>> I don't think so.  I would write the frontend to allow for arbitrary
>>> timing of the execute_reply and the SUB messages.  You will have to
>>> use the parent_id information to order things properly in the GUI.
>>> Does this make sense.  I think if we try to impose the timing of the
>>> signals, we will end up breaking the model or introducing extra
>>> latencies.  Let us know if you have questions.  I know this will
>>> probably be one of the more subtle parts of the frontend logic.
>> Yes, this is something that will be quite difficult to get right. For
>> frontend implementors who are interested only in console-style interaction,
>> it doesn't make sense for them to have worry about this.
>> Evan
>>> Cheers,
>>> Brian
>>> > Evan
>>> >
>>> --
>>> Brian E. Granger, Ph.D.
>>> Assistant Professor of Physics
>>> Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
>>> bgranger@calpoly.edu
>>> ellisonbg@gmail.com

Brian E. Granger, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Physics
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo

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