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Python SimpleActionServer stops unexpectedly (deadlock!)

asked 2012-12-12 03:13:10 -0600

Miguel S. gravatar image

updated 2014-01-28 17:14:32 -0600

ngrennan gravatar image

Hi all,

I'm writing a small piece of code that leverages actionlib, specifically SimpleActionServer. The main intricacy is that I register a preempt callback, but then I set_preempted on another thread (see code below).

However, when the rate of requests is relatively high (~1Hz) sometimes actionlib stops processings new requests. It does not crash, it does not print nor log anything, it just idles.

Below is a simplified version of my code:

class Node():

    def __init__(self):   
        self.server = actionlib.SimpleActionServer(
            auto_start=False )

        #Variables so that preemption works
        self.myLock = threading.Lock()
        self.taskID = None

        #register preempt callbacks
        self.server.register_preempt_callback( self.stop )

        #Start actionlib

    def run(self, goal):      
        with self.myLock:
            self.taskID =  startTask() #Launch task in another thread

        #Wait for task to be completed or killed
        if not (self.taskID is None):
            wait( self.taskID ) #Wait for task to finish

        #Do not allow task to be preempted from now
        with self.myLock:
            self.taskID = None

        # Get actionlib result
        result = ActionResult()

        if not valid(result): #valid() defined elsewhere
            self.server.set_aborted( result )        
        elif self.server.is_preempt_requested() :
            self.server.set_preempted( result )
        else :
            self.server.set_succeeded( result )

        # Sometimes actionlib will stop processing new requests after this!!

    def stop( self ):
        with self.myLock:
            if ( not ( self.taskID is None ) and self.server.is_preempt_requested() ):
                killTask( self.taskID ) # Function defined elsewhere
                self.taskID = None

Am I using actionlib in an invalid way? Could this be an actionlib bug?

Thanks, Miguel S.

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Just curious, which ROS distro are you using?

130s gravatar image 130s  ( 2012-12-15 13:17:11 -0600 )edit

It's Fuerte on Ubuntu 12.04

Miguel S. gravatar image Miguel S.  ( 2012-12-17 00:18:10 -0600 )edit

Can you interrupt the program and get a backtrace?

tfoote gravatar image tfoote  ( 2012-12-25 14:42:38 -0600 )edit

@tfoote See my answer. @IsaacSaito Also present in Groovy in Ubuntu 12.04.

Miguel S. gravatar image Miguel S.  ( 2013-07-12 09:02:54 -0600 )edit

1 Answer

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answered 2013-07-12 09:01:13 -0600

Miguel S. gravatar image

For a few months I sidestepped this problem. But today I've found the deadlock. I reckon there's a bug in

I wasn't able to get the python debugger to produce the stack traces that explained the problem. But after looking at the roslog debug messages and the source code, I came up with the following reconstruction of the events:

Thread A (rospy's message dispatcher?)

  • Deadlocked in: self.execute_condition.acquire()
  • In function: SimpleActionServer.internal_goal_callback() [] which was called from: ActionServer.internal_goal_callback() []
  • This thread has ActionServer.lock and wants to acquire SimpleActionServer.lock (condition variable was initialised with the latter lock).

Thread B (SimpleActionServer's executeLoop thread)

  • Deadlocked in: with self.action_server.lock
  • In function ServerGoalHandle.set_accepted() [] which was called from: SimpleActionServer.accept_new_goal()[] which was called from: SimpleActionServer.executeLoop()[] which at that point is holding SimpleActionServer.lock
  • This thread wants ActionServer.lock and has SimpleActionServer.lock

In summary, if if a new goal arrives at the same time executeLoop is trying to get a previous (but still new, SimpleActionServer will deadlock.

I suspect the solution involves calling accept_new_goal() [] without holding SimpleActionServer.lock. My intuition is that simply setting a flag will do, but I will have to study the code a bit more to make sure there no side-effects.

I will try to code the solution myself unless someone fixes it quicker :)

Best, Miguel S.

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Thanks for debugging into it. I've opened a ticket here:

tfoote gravatar image tfoote  ( 2013-07-12 11:19:18 -0600 )edit

Issue has just been fixed! :)

Miguel S. gravatar image Miguel S.  ( 2013-07-23 07:13:36 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2012-12-12 03:13:10 -0600

Seen: 626 times

Last updated: Jul 12 '13