Conf42: Golang 2021

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Concurrency primitives of Golang - how to use and how not to

Piyush Verma
CTO @ last9.io

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Every marginally, sophisticated Golang code that I write needs refactoring to solve race and deadlocks. The concurrency primitives like atomic, sync, channels, and waitGroups have their uses and fail. The lack of understanding ends up with a lot of rewrites. This talk aims to solve that.

I have seen more Go code shipped as glue programs and binaries than actual web servers, usually intended to do the heavy-lifting of data transfers shortly and reliably. With such clinical needs comes a need to handle concurrency and parallelism. And each time more than one worker is doing a job, there will be contention and starvation. A lack of useful design principle guides ends up in Engineers writing non-performant, race-condition prone codes or ending up refactoring.

To provide an example, some of the things I wish I had known: - the real difference of when to use a Channel, a waitGroup, an atomic, or a mutex - one shouldn’t be using a wg.Add() inside a goroutine. - How does one solve the problem of multiple listeners waiting on an event? - How atomic Int operations can synchronize multiple workers signaling completion of work.

The talk is not limited to the above scenarios. It intends to cover a few of these constructs to reduce the refactoring that Golang engineers have to go through while also building a better understanding of distributed systems’ design patterns.

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