Nice to see people having a look at this. It's an early draft chapter that Sudha, one of the Multicore team, has been working on.
If you have feedback or suggestions I'm sure she'd welcome it on the draft's PR: https://github.com/prismlab/parallel-programming-in-multicor...
If you're new to Multicore OCaml the repo is at https://github.com/ocaml-multicore/ocaml-multicore . It has installation instructions near the bottom (easiest way is via OPAM).
The latest June update of our progress is available at https://discuss.ocaml.org/t/multicore-ocaml-june-2020/6047
For a technical deep dive on how Multicore OCaml works our recent ICFP paper has a lot of detail: https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.11663
Although there was a later PR that improved performance 40% just by moving code around to minimise allocations...  Unfortunate that such minor changes can have such dramatic impact.
Is there any use for ConcMinor at this point or is it at a dead-end?
I think we were all surprised by how well ParMinor performed. There's work on-going to see just how far ParMinor can scale and there's also a few tricks we might be able to do to make it scale even better.
Does this just mean better throughput, or also better latency?
Systems programmers in OCaml can apply techniques to achieve a low latency, but these are unlikely to scale as well under ParMinor. Indeed, with the latter, it is not going to be possible to have a low-latency domain and a non-low-latency domain coexist: the whole program has to be written in the low-latency style.
This is clear from the qualification “stop-the-world” for ParMinor, but worth to note for people who would read the claim out of context. There can be further qualitative differences in the GC design that are not measured by the benchmarks.
To be clear, the said systems programs are not going to see slowdown when run in a sequential setting (which is what I expect the majority of use cases will be). It is unlikely that these systems programs will immediately want to take advantage of parallelism. Moreover, Multicore OCaml aims to add support for shared-memory parallel programming to increase throughput of the program. Getting high throughput and maintaining very low latency is a big challenge generally, and can't just be solved by the runtime system. It needs a different way of writing programs altogether.
> Indeed, with the latter, it is not going to be possible to have a low-latency domain and a non-low-latency domain coexist: the whole program has to be written in the low-latency style.
This is wrong. If the low-latency code is written as it is (no allocations), then in ParMinor the low-latency domain will be responsive at the cost of increasing the latency on non-low-latency domain. Of course, no GC safe points should be inserted in those low-latency code. This design is not ossified.
Another details to remember is that ParMinor is a stop-the-world parallel minor collector. The major collection is concurrent mark-and-sweep which keeps the latency low. I'd recommend checking out the new concurrent GC for GHC which uses concurrent collection for the major heap, and parallel collection for the minor heap , which is similar to ParMinor.
Ultimately, Multicore OCaml aims to offer an easy way of helping 95% of the programs to take advantage of parallel execution for increasing throughput without compromising latency. It is quite hard to fully support different expert cases especially since they rely on the details of the existing runtime system, which may no longer hold when the runtime system changes.
I do not find realistic the suggestion that low-latency code could simply avoid safe points. To get a low latency, one in general avoids promoting values, but one still allocates on the minor heap. One can achieve much less without allocating at all, and moreover OCaml multicore adds extra safe points for a reason, even if they could be turned off.
In the end, what you write about details of the runtime system illustrates my point: the two minor collectors have qualitative differences regarding latency, that affect available programming styles, and this is not measured by the benchmarks.
Deferred relates to concurrency rather than parallelism, that you can have multiple overlapping computations. You can have concurrency without parallelism. OCaml has ways you can have parallel computations going on that don't hold the interpreter lock and I think some of the concurrent libraries can utilise this.
Multicore OCaml splits parallelism and concurrency, the former is via Domains and the latter is with Fibers. The paper I linked in my other comment on this thread touches on this a little but kc also has a short write-up of how you can use effects to write a scheduler for multicore's fibers: https://kcsrk.info/ocaml/multicore/2015/05/20/effects-multic...