#self-referential #tree #list #recursion #pinned #smart-pointers

orx-selfref-col

SelfRefCol is a core data structure to conveniently build safe and efficient self referential collections, such as linked lists and trees

10 stable releases

1.5.0 Apr 7, 2024
1.4.0 Mar 24, 2024
1.0.1 Feb 27, 2024

#377 in Data structures

Download history 164/week @ 2024-02-22 566/week @ 2024-02-29 176/week @ 2024-03-07 336/week @ 2024-03-14 146/week @ 2024-03-21 29/week @ 2024-03-28 109/week @ 2024-04-04 16/week @ 2024-04-11

865 downloads per month
Used in orx-linked-list

MIT license

225KB
3.5K SLoC

orx-selfref-col

orx-selfref-col crate orx-selfref-col documentation

SelfRefCol is a core data structure to conveniently build safe and efficient self referential collections, such as linked lists and trees.

Features

Safe

It is tricky to implement safe self referential collections. Rust's safety features are conservative in this case and encourages using wide smart pointers which lead to poor cache locality. To avoid this, one can use indices which is neither nice or safe.

SelfRefCol constructs its safety guarantees around the following:

  • memory locations of elements of the collection will never change unless explicitly changed due to the pinned elements guarantees of the underlying PinnedVec,
  • all references will be ensured to be among elements of the same collection.

In other words,

  • by keeping the references valid,
  • preventing to bring in external references, and
  • preventing to leak out references,

it is safe to build the self referential collection with regular & references.

orx-linked-list crate defines both singly and doubly linked lists based on SelfRefCol:

  • without any pointer dereferencing,
  • without any access by indices, and
  • with only a couple unsafe calls.

Note that the std::collections::linked_list::LinkedList implementation contains more than 60 unsafe code blocks.

Convenient

SelfRefCol, specializing in building self referential collections, provides (only) the required methods to builds such collections. This allows to avoid the need for general low level types or methods which are alien to the structure to be defined, such as NonNull, Box::from_raw_in, mem::replace, etc. Instead, the implementation can be concise, expressive and close to the pseudocode of the method.

This might be more clear with an example. Consider the following push_back method of the doubly linked list defined in orx-linked-list using SelfRefCol:

pub fn push_back(&mut self, value: T) {
    self.col
        .move_mutate(value, |x, value| match x.ends().back() {
            Some(prior_back) => {
                let new_back = x.push_get_ref(value);
                new_back.set_prev(&x, prior_back);
                prior_back.set_next(&x, new_back);
                x.set_ends([x.ends().front(), Some(new_back)]);
            }
            None => {
                let node = x.push_get_ref(value);
                x.set_ends([Some(node), Some(node)]);
            }
        });
}

Note that all words are relevant to a linked list, except for x, which is an internal mutability key which use used inside a non-capturing lambda to prevent reference leaks.

Efficient

The elements of the SelfRefCol are internally stored in a PinnedVec implementation, which is crucial for the correctness and safety of the references. Furthermore, in this way, elements of the collection are stored close to each other rather than being in arbitrary locations in memory. This provides better cache locality when compared to such collections where elements are stored by arbitrary heap allocations.

With the current benchmarks, orx-linked-list implementation using SelfRefCol is at least three times faster than the std::collections::linked_list::LinkedList.

Variants

Note that this core structure is capable of representing a wide range of self referential collections, where the variant is conveniently defined by expressive trait type definitions.

The represented collections have the following features:

  • Relations are represented by regular & references avoiding the need to use smart pointers such as Box, Rc, Arc, etc.
  • The collection makes sure that these references are set only among elements of the collections. In other words, no external references are allowed, or references of elements of the collection cannot leak out. This constructs the safety guarantees.
  • The elements of the collection are internally stored in a PinnedVec implementation, which is crucial for the correctness of the references. Furthermore, in this way, elements of the collection are stored close to each other rather than being in arbitrary locations in memory. This provides better cache locality when compared to such collections where elements are stored by arbitrary heap allocations.

The collection is defined by the following generic arguments:

  • T: type of the elements stored in the collection.
  • V: type of the Variant defining the structure of the collection with the following:
    • V::Storage: defines how the elements of T will be stored:
      • NodeDataLazyClose: elements are stored as Option<T> allowing lazy node closure or element removal;
      • NodeDataEagerClose: elements are stored directly as T.
    • V::Prev: defines how references to previous elements will be stored.
      • NodeRefNone: there is no previous reference of elements.
      • NodeRefSingle: there is either one or no previous reference of elements, stored as Option<&Node>.
      • NodeRefsArray: there are multiple possible previous references up to a constant number N, stored as [Option<&Node>; N].
      • NodeRefsVec: there are multiple possible previous references, stored as Vec<&Node>.
    • V::Next: defines how references to next elements will be stored:
      • Similarly, represented as either one of NodeRefNone or NodeRefSingle or NodeRefsArray or NodeRefsVec.
    • V::Ends: defines how references to ends of the collection will be stored:
      • Similarly, represented as either one of NodeRefNone or NodeRefSingle or NodeRefsArray or NodeRefsVec.
    • V::MemoryReclaim: defines how memory of closed nodes will be reclaimed:
      • MemoryReclaimNever will never claim closed nodes.
      • MemoryReclaimOnThreshold<D> will claim memory of closed nodes whenever the ratio of closed nodes exceeds one over 2^D.

Example

Consider the following four structs implementing Variant to define four different self referential collections. Note that the definitions are expressive and concise leading to efficient implementations.

use orx_selfref_col::*;

#[derive(Clone, Copy)]
struct SinglyListVariant;

impl<'a, T: 'a> Variant<'a, T> for SinglyListVariant {
    type Storage = NodeDataLazyClose<T>; // lazy close
    type MemoryReclaim = MemoryReclaimOnThreshold<2>; // closed nodes will be reclaimed when utilization drops below 75%
    type Prev = NodeRefNone; // previous nodes are not stored
    type Next = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one next node, if any
    type Ends = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one end, namely the front of the list
}

#[derive(Clone, Copy)]
struct DoublyListVariant;

impl<'a, T: 'a> Variant<'a, T> for DoublyListVariant {
    type Storage = NodeDataLazyClose<T>; // lazy close
    type MemoryReclaim = MemoryReclaimOnThreshold<3>; // closed nodes will be reclaimed when utilization drops below 87.5%
    type Prev = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one previous node, if any
    type Next = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one next node, if any
    type Ends = NodeRefsArray<'a, 2, Self, T>; // there are two ends, namely the front and back of the list
}

#[derive(Clone, Copy)]
struct BinaryTreeVariant;

impl<'a, T: 'a> Variant<'a, T> for BinaryTreeVariant {
    type Storage = NodeDataLazyClose<T>; // lazy close
    type MemoryReclaim = MemoryReclaimOnThreshold<1>; // closed nodes will be reclaimed when utilization drops below 50%
    type Prev = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one previous node, namely parent node, if any
    type Next = NodeRefsArray<'a, 2, Self, T>; // there are 0, 1 or 2 next or children nodes
    type Ends = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one end, namely the root of the tree
}

#[derive(Clone, Copy)]
struct DynamicTreeVariant;

impl<'a, T: 'a> Variant<'a, T> for DynamicTreeVariant {
    type Storage = NodeDataLazyClose<T>; // lazy close
    type MemoryReclaim = MemoryReclaimNever; // closed nodes will be left as holes
    type Prev = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one previous node, namely parent node, if any
    type Next = NodeRefsVec<'a, Self, T>; // there might be any number of next nodes, namely children nodes
    type Ends = NodeRefSingle<'a, Self, T>; // there is only one end, namely the root of the tree
}

NodeIndex

NodeIndex belongs in the intersection of the two features efficient and safe.

A NodeIndex is a struct holding a reference to an element of the collection. It provides constant time access to the element. Furthermore, a node index can be stored independently of the collection, elsewhere.

In this sense NodeIndex to a SelfRefCol is analogous to usize to standard Vec.

However, it puts a special emphasis on safety and correctness. The following invalid uses cannot happen with NodeIndex and SelfRefCol.

Cannot use a NodeIndex on a wrong SelfRefCol

This issue can be observed with usize but not with NodeIndex.

use orx_selfref_col::*;

let mut col1 = SelfRefCol::<Var, _>::new();
let a = col1.mutate_take('a', |x, a| x.push_get_ref(a).index(&x));

let col2 = SelfRefCol::<Var, _>::new();

assert!(!a.is_valid_for_collection(&col2)); // we cannot dereference 'a' with 'col2'!

Cannot use a NodeIndex after the corresponding element is removed

This issue can be observed with usize but not with NodeIndex.

let mut col = SelfRefCol::<Var, _>::new();
let [a, b, c, d, e, f, g] = col
    .mutate_take(['a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e', 'f', 'g'], |x, values| {
        values.map(|val| x.push_get_ref(val).index(&x))
    });

let removed_b = col.mutate_take(b, |x, b| b.as_ref(&x).close_node_take_data(&x)); // does not trigger reclaim yet

assert!(!b.is_valid_for_collection(&col)); // we cannot dereference 'b' as it is removed.

Cannot use a NodeIndex after a reorganization of the elements

This is a specific to SelfRefCol with lazy node closure, only when MemoryReclaimOnThreshold policy is used. It never happens for MemoryReclaimNever policy.

Once the node utilization drops down a determined value, the collection reorganizes its elements and reclaims the memory of the closed nodes. This invalidates all indices created beforehand, preventing any wrong access.

This is analogous to removing the first element of a vector while our index is pointing to the 3rd element. After the removal, the elements of the vector are reorganized, and our index is now pointing to a wrong element. NodeIndex does not allow such an access.

let mut col = SelfRefCol::<Var, _>::new();
let [a, b, c] = col.mutate_take(['a', 'b', 'c'], |x, values| {
    values.map(|val| x.push_get_ref(val).index(&x))
});

let removed_b = col.mutate_take(b, |x, b| b.as_ref(&x).close_node_take_data(&x)); // triggers reclaim, elements reorganized

assert!(!a.is_valid_for_collection(&col)); // all prior indices are invalidated!
assert!(!b.is_valid_for_collection(&col));
assert!(!c.is_valid_for_collection(&col));

Crates using SelfRefCol

The following crates use SelfRefCol to conveniently build the corresponding data structure:

License

This library is licensed under MIT license. See LICENSE for details.

Dependencies

~295KB