Message Passing Protocol

In an Intel® Threading Building Blocks (Intel® TBB) flow graph, edges dynamically switch between a push and pull protocol for passing messages. An Intel TBB flow graph G = ( V, S, L ), where V is the set of nodes, S is the set of edges that are currently using a push protocol, and L is the set of edges that are currently using a pull protocol. For each edge (Vi, Vj), Vi is the predecessor / sender and Vj is the successor / receiver. When in the push set S, messages over an edge are initiated by the sender, which tries to put to the receiver. When in the pull set, messages are initiated by the receiver, which tries to get from the sender.

If a message attempt across an edge fails, the edge is moved to the other set. For example, if a put across the edge (Vi, Vj) fails, the edge is removed from the push set S and placed in the pull set L. This dynamic push/pull protocol is the key to performance in a non-preemptive tasking library such as Intel TBB, where simply repeating failed sends or receives is not an efficient option. The following graphic summarizes this dynamic protocol.

The dynamic push / pull protocol.
The dynamic push / pull protocol.


Certain graph nodes will discard messages if no successor accepts a push. Attaching these nodes to a successor that may reject a push may result in the loss of messages. For example, if a function_node f1 is attached to a rejecting serial function_node f2, and if f2 is active, a message pushed by f1 to f2 will be rejected, and because f1 does not buffer, it will be discarded.

Nodes that will not drop messages are those that accept try_get(). See the list of nodes in the section Forward, Buffering and Reception Policy.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.