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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] STS Question

From: Eric Blossom
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] STS Question
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2007 11:32:47 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

On Fri, Aug 17, 2007 at 12:11:35PM -0400, Michael Dickens wrote:
> I'm in the process of debugging some OSX audio issue(s).  I've fixed  
> a few bugs in the OSX audio module (and also OSX/Darwin for USRP),  
> that might occur in unusual circumstances.  But I'm still seeing the  
> same issue: when using an audio source, I get audio overruns -  
> meaning that the audio data is coming in too fast - when the FG I'm  
> using has any significant processing, e.g. 2 or 3 FIR filtering  
> operations.  I'm using a Core 2 Duo iMac @ 2.16 GHz, and the CPU  
> utilization is ~50% of 1 processor, so I doubt that the issue is not  
> enough CPU time.
> This issue can be repeated, with enough waiting, when using any scope  
> or not, so it's not in the scope or message queue.

What's your test case?

Is there a USRP involved?  If so, then you have the "two clocks" problem.

> I've fixed the obvious multi-thread mutex protection issues in the  
> OSX audio module such that the audio source keeps generating data no  
> matter overflow or not, so I doubt that the OSX audio module is an  
> issue any longer.
> Thus I started reviewing "gr_single_threaded_scheduler::main_loop()"  
> from gr_single_threaded_scheduler.cc.  Starting on line 165, the code  
> reads
> +++++++++++++++
>     if (d->source_p ()){
>       // Invoke sources as a last resort.  As long as the previous pass
>       // made progress, don't call a source.
>       if (made_progress_last_pass){
>       LOG(*d_log << "  Skipping source\n");
>       goto next_block;
>       }
> +++++++++++++++
> I enabled debugging in the OSX audio module and logging in the  
> scheduler (and moved logging to std::cerr, so-as to get both outputs  
> in the same stream) and can thus review/"see" the data flow in from  
> the audio source and through the FG.
> With that code in place (not commented out), reviewing the debugging  
> output, the audio module is slowly accumulating extra data in its  
> buffers, which eventually leads to an overflow.  What seems to be  
> happening is that, because the scheduler is making progress with each  
> pass - just a little bit here and there-, and thus  
> "made_progress_last_pass" is 'true', the scheduler is not getting  
> source data often enough to avoid the overflow.  The scheduler "pipe"  
> bursts with new audio data, then trickles until nothing further can  
> be processed, which for some reason takes a "long" time, then bursts  
> again and repeats.

What's downstream in your flow graph?

> If I comment the "if (made_progress_last_pass){" part out, recompile  
> and reinstall, then I can run the exact same programs without audio  
> overruns.  Reviewing the log, the data is coming in as fast as it is  
> being processed - no more, no less.  The audio buffers never hold the  
> data long enough to overflow.  The scheduler "pipe" bursts with new  
> audio data, then reduces to a trickle for a bit until new audio data  
> is available, then bursts again.  The "burst" and "trickle" pattern  
> repeats much like with the code in place, but "much faster".
> Since the source is what regulates the FG throughput (and/or a  
> throttle, if needed), IMHO the source should be allowed to enter data  
> into the scheduler "pipe" as often as it needs to.  This would seem  
> to keep the scheduler's pipes "more full" than the current  
> implementation, reducing the chances of data overflow or underrun.

The reason that sources are called as a last resort is to avoid
stalling the pipeline while there is still progress that can be
made.  Removing the check for made_progress_last_pass will break
existing code.

> I have not tested this to see if it happens on Linux or Windows.

> Thoughts? Questions? - MLD

Build some very simple test cases and start with them.  E.g.,

  audio.source_c -> file.sink
  audio.source_c -> gr.add_const_ff -> file.sink

I suspect that there is still some problem in the audio source.
When work is called, does it return as much data as it can?


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