[erlang-questions] Message-sending performance

David King dking@REDACTED
Fri Sep 7 20:29:29 CEST 2007

I've noticed that I can send 100,000 messages from one process to  
another very quickly (less than a second), but if I have two process  
send 50,000 messages each to a given process, it receives them very  
slowly (in my test, 36s). I found this using the mapreduce  
implementation in Joe's book where potentially thousands of processes  
are spawned and many (potentially very small) messages are sent.

I assume that this is because the message queue is locked while  
sending and receiving messages. Is there any way to work around this  
so that having multiple processes sending many messages each isn't so  
slow? In my case I'd like the sender and receiver to be working  
simultaneously, so having each sender process send one large list  
isn't quite as efficient

Here it is with one process:

(nodename@REDACTED)11> message_streamer:stream_messages(100000).
Receiving 10000 at 63356401790
Receiving 20000 at 63356401790
Receiving 30000 at 63356401790
Receiving 40000 at 63356401790
Receiving 50000 at 63356401790
Receiving 60000 at 63356401790
Receiving 70000 at 63356401790
Receiving 80000 at 63356401790
Receiving 90000 at 63356401790
Done sending 100000 messages
Receiving 100000 at 63356401790
100000 messages in 1s, 1.00000e+5 msg/s

And here it is with two processes:

(nodename@REDACTED)9> message_streamer:stream_messages(100000).
Receiving 10000 at 63356401639
Receiving 20000 at 63356401643
Receiving 30000 at 63356401650
Receiving 40000 at 63356401660
Receiving 50000 at 63356401673
Done sending 50000 messages
Receiving 60000 at 63356401673
Receiving 70000 at 63356401673
Receiving 80000 at 63356401673
Receiving 90000 at 63356401673
Receiving 100000 at 63356401673
Done sending 50000 messages
100000 messages in 36s, 2777.78 msg/s

In the multiple-process case, it actually slows down as more messages  
are sent until one of the processes completes, and then it receives  
them all very quickly. Here's the code:

--- code begins ---


stream_messages(N) ->


   lists:foreach(fun(Sublist) ->
                     spawn_link(fun() ->
                         lists:foreach(fun(Which) ->
                                           Self ! {msg,Which}
                         io:format("Done sending ~p messages~n", 
                   end, Split_List),
   lists:foreach(fun(Which) ->
                     case Which rem (N div 10) of
                         0 ->
                           io:format("Receiving ~p at ~p ~n", 
                         _ -> ok
                     receive {msg,Which} -> ok end
   Time=case myapp_util:now()-Start of
            0 -> 1;
            X -> X
   io:format("~p messages in ~ps, ~p msg/s~n",[N,Time,N/Time]).

%% splits a list into equal parts
%% split_list([1,2,3,4,5,6],2) -> [[1,2,3],[4,5,6]]
split_list(List,Pieces) ->
   lists:reverse(split_list(List,Length div Pieces,Length,[])).

split_list([], _Per_Piece, 0, Acc) ->
split_list(List, Per_Piece, Length, Acc) when Length>=Per_Piece ->
   {Short,Long} = lists:split(Per_Piece,List),
   split_list(Long, Per_Piece, Length-Per_Piece, [ Short | Acc ]);
split_list(List, Per_Piece, Length, Acc) when Length <Per_Piece ->
   {Short,Long} = lists:split(Length, List),
   split_list(Long, Per_Piece, Length-Length, [ Short | Acc ]).
--- code ends ---

myapp_util:now() just looks like:
now() ->

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