Author Archives: brucedawson

About brucedawson

I'm a programmer, working for Google, focusing on optimization and reliability. Nothing's more fun than making code run 10x as fast. Unless it's eliminating large numbers of bugs. I also unicycle. And play (ice) hockey. And sled hockey. And juggle. And worry about whether this blog should have been called randomutf-8.

Heap Snapshots–Tracing All Heap Allocations

I’ve recently started using heap snapshots on Windows to track heap allocations. I was able to use heap snapshots to record call stacks for all outstanding allocations in Chrome’s browser process over a full two weeks, letting me account for … Continue reading

Posted in Documentation, Performance, Programming, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , | 8 Comments

63 Cores Blocked by Seven Instructions

I seem to have a habit of writing about super powerful machines whose many cores are laid low by misuse of locks. So. Yeah. It’s that again. But this one seems particularly impressive. I mean, how often do you have … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

We Need a Carbon Tax, Now, That Goes Up Over Time

If we tax fossil fuels – making them more expensive – then the awesome power and creativity of the free market will create diverse alternatives and efficiencies with minimal additional government intervention.  We will ultimately save money, be healthier, and … Continue reading

Posted in Commuting, Environment | Tagged , , | 69 Comments

Taskbar Latency and Kernel Calls

I work quickly on my computer and I get frustrated when I am forced to wait on an operation that should be fast. A persistent nuisance on my over-powered home laptop is that closing windows on the taskbar is slow. … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , , | 34 Comments

O(n^2) in CreateProcess

So many possible introductions to this one: Windows 7: Sheesh, I sure am slow at creating processes Windows 10: Hold my beer… Or how about: A) How long does CreateProcess take on Windows? B) How long would you like it … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, xperf | Tagged | 27 Comments

Exercises in Emulation: Xbox 360’s FMA Instruction

Years ago I worked in the Xbox 360 group at Microsoft. We were thinking about releasing a new console, and we thought it would be nice if that console could run the games of the previous console. Emulation is always … Continue reading

Posted in Floating Point | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

When Your Profiler Lies

Last week I wrote about the performance consequences of inadvertently loading gdi32.dll into processes that are created and destroyed at very high rates. This week I want to share some techniques for digging deeper into this behavior, and the odd … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , | 20 Comments