New in pg13: New leader_pid column in pg_stat_activity

By Julien Rouhaud 2 mins Comment

New leader_pid column in pg_stat_activity view

Surprisingly, since parallel query was introduced in PostgreSQL 9.6, it was impossible to know wich backend a parallel worker was related to. So, as Guillaume pointed out, it makes it quite difficult to build simple tools that can sample the wait events related to all process involved in a query. A simple solution to that problem is to export the lock group leader information available in the backend at the SQL level:

commit b025f32e0b5d7668daec9bfa957edf3599f4baa8
Author: Michael Paquier <>
Date:   Thu Feb 6 09:18:06 2020 +0900

Add leader_pid to pg_stat_activity

This new field tracks the PID of the group leader used with parallel
query.  For parallel workers and the leader, the value is set to the
PID of the group leader.  So, for the group leader, the value is the
same as its own PID.  Note that this reflects what PGPROC stores in
shared memory, so as leader_pid is NULL if a backend has never been
involved in parallel query.  If the backend is using parallel query or
has used it at least once, the value is set until the backend exits.

Author: Julien Rouhaud
Reviewed-by: Sergei Kornilov, Guillaume Lelarge, Michael Paquier, Tomas

With this change, you can now easily find all processes involved in a parallel query. For instance:

=# SELECT query, leader_pid,
  array_agg(pid) filter(WHERE leader_pid != pid) AS members
FROM pg_stat_activity
WHERE leader_pid IS NOT NULL
GROUP BY query, leader_pid;
       query       | leader_pid |    members
 select * from t1; |      31630 | {32269,32268}
(1 row)

Be careful, as mentionned in the commit message, if the leader_pid is the same as pid, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the backend is currently performing a parallel query, as once set this field is never reset. Also, to avoid extra ovherhead, no additional lock is held while outputting the data. It means that each row is processed independently. So, while quite unlikely, you can get in some circumstances inconsistent data, such as a parallel worker pointing to a pid that already disconnected.