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Re: [Performance Timeline] Need higher resolution timers

From: Zhiheng Wang <zhihengw@google.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2011 15:54:25 -0700
Message-ID: <CAA1TnvVX7aiz9+z90X7PKPigmCB9BDhGvv1K2c9mFsNbXHsM3Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: James Simonsen <simonjam@chromium.org>
Cc: public-web-perf <public-web-perf@w3.org>
On Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 3:31 PM, James Simonsen <simonjam@chromium.org>wrote:

> Hi web-perf,
> So far, we've spec'd the Performance Timeline to use 64-bit ints of
> milliseconds. This has mostly been so that the times look like Date.now().
> It's also sufficient for network timing.
> However, looking longer term, there's a need for more precision. One
> example is graphics, where milliseconds are already insufficient for
> measuring frame rate.

   Do you have a more specific example?

> Down the road, as games and apps get more sophisticated, we can expect
> people to want to time things within a frame.

   IIRC, 50 msec is the threshold for human to detect any latency at all in
FPS games. An app can still measure some other ops
inside it. But overall, I am still not sure why an application really cares
to know the exact sub-millisecond delay.


> Switching to a double seems like the easiest solution to adding more
> resolution. However, I'm a bit worried we're running out of bits. Date.now()
> returns milliseconds since 1970 and we're currently spec'd to use the same
> offset. If we switch to double, we've already consumed 40 of the 52 bits
> available just measuring milliseconds since 1970. Getting to microsecond
> resolution leaves us with only 2 spare bits. That seems a bit tight.
> If we throw out that 1970 offset, we can get much higher resolution times.
> I propose we just measure time since initial root document navigation (and
> hope nobody leaves the same page open for 40 years). It could be stored as a
> double of milliseconds.
> James
Received on Monday, 22 August 2011 22:54:50 UTC

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