gen_fsm:send_after | start_timer

Sean Hinde Sean.Hinde@REDACTED
Tue Jul 10 15:53:51 CEST 2001

> sysTimer:apply_after/4 does this:
> apply_after(Time, M, F, A) when integer(Time) ->
>     spawn_link(sysTimer, do_apply_after, 
>                [Time, M, F, A, self()]);
> apply_after(Name, M, F, A) ->
>     spawn_link(sysTimer, do_apply_after, 
>                [get_value(Name), M, F, A, self()]).
> do_apply_after(Time, M, F, A, LinkedPid) ->
>     put(arguments, [Time, M, F, A, LinkedPid]),
>     sleep(Time),
>     apply(M, F, A),
>     unlink(LinkedPid).

> and this version of apply_after/4 also supports named timers,
> which is very useful for protocol programming, as the standard
> timers must often be customizable.

This sounds like a nice feature. I just implemented a bunch of callbacks to
be able to change the timer values in my protocol module..

> I will not present sleep(), because I just found that it has been
> inefficiently (re-)implemented since the last time I looked.  ):
> Its efficient implementation is trivial.

In the latest stdlib I have access to (1.9.4) it is:

sleep(T) ->       
    after T -> ok 

This looks reasonably trivial :)

> The method of timer.erl to use a sorted list in order to offload
> the timer wheel in the emulator is a sub-optimization. We've
> verified that the timer wheel (timeout queue) in BEAM shows
> hardly no degradation at all even with 20,000 concurrent timers.

Nice to know.

> An erlang implementation simply cannot compete with the built-in
> timeout support, and apply_after should basically only do the
> required extra of spawning a process to give the function an
> execution context. Everything else is just garnish.

What about the performance difference between your apply_after and

Do you know if receive loops use the same timer wheel?

How about:

apply_after(T, M, F, A) ->
	erlang:start_timer(T, timer, {apply, M, F, A}).

%% Permanent loop registered as {local, timer}:

loop() ->
        {timeout, Ref, {apply, M, F, A}} ->
            spawn_link(?MODULE, do, [M, F, A, self()]),

do(M, F, A, Pid) ->
	apply(M, F, A).

This avoids having lots of extra processes lying around (but the timer isn't
linked to the requesting process).

- Sean

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