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A Theory of Speculative Computation Gerard Boudol and Gustavo Petri

Summary: A Theory of Speculative Computation
G´erard Boudol and Gustavo Petri
INRIA, 06902 Sophia Antipolis, France
Abstract. We propose a formal definition for (valid) speculative com-
putations, which is independent of any implementation technique. By
speculative computations we mean optimization mechanisms that rely
on relaxing the flow of execution in a given program, and on guessing
the values read from pointers in the memory. Our framework for formal-
izing these computations is the standard operational one that is used
to describe the semantics of programming languages. In particular, we
introduce speculation contexts, that generalize classical evaluation con-
texts, and allow us to deal with out of order computations. Regarding
concurrent programs, we show that the standard DRF guarantee, assert-
ing that data race free programs are correctly implemented in a relaxed
semantics, fails with speculative computations, but that a similar guar-
antee holds for programs that are free of data races in the speculative
1 Introduction
Speculative computation [8,16] is an implementation technique that aims at
speeding up the execution of programs, by computing pieces of code in ad-


Source: Ábrahám, Erika - Fachgruppe Informatik, Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH)


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences