Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#1 motivation/justification for threading in GUI

In most multi-threading domains, the driving force is often one of throughput, latency and parallelism. Yet The most prevalent motivation goes "processor clock speed is reaching a plateau, so the only way ahead is multi-core. Without multi-threading, the multiple cores lay waste." This is like scale-out vs scale-up. This is the resource "utilization" argument. Any resource underutilized is a "guilt" and shame to some managers.

In GUI space, however, the real motivation is not "utilization" per se but Responsiveness.

I have seen many GUI apps that can't keep up with the live market data rate -- latency.

I have seen many GUI apps that leave a long ugly trail when you move/resize a window.

Most GUI threading problems and techniques are related to Responsive not performance or throughput. Even "latency" is not really appropriate. In latency sensitive systems, Latency is often measured in clock cycles and microseconds, sometimes sub-micro, but Responsiveness doesn't need that. Such latency techniques can lead to over-engineering.

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http://www.linkedin.com/in/tanbin