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Semantics of Transactional Memory and Automatic Mutual Exclusion

Summary: Semantics of Transactional Memory
and Automatic Mutual Exclusion
Mart´in Abadi Andrew Birrell Tim Harris Michael Isard
Microsoft Research, Silicon Valley
University of California, Santa Cruz Microsoft Research, Cambridge
abadi@microsoft.com birrell@microsoft.com tharris@microsoft.com misard@microsoft.com
Software Transactional Memory (STM) is an attractive basis for
the development of language features for concurrent programming.
However, the semantics of these features can be delicate and prob-
lematic. In this paper we explore the tradeoffs between semantic
simplicity, the viability of efficient implementation strategies, and
the flexibility of language constructs. Specifically, we develop se-
mantics and type systems for the constructs of the Automatic Mu-
tual Exclusion (AME) programming model; our results apply also
to other constructs, such as atomic blocks. With this semantics as
a point of reference, we study several implementation strategies.
We model STM systems that use in-place update, optimistic con-
currency, lazy conflict detection, and roll-back. These strategies are
correct only under non-trivial assumptions that we identify and an-


Source: Abadi, Martín - Department of Computer Science, University of California at Santa Cruz
Harris, Timothy - Systems & Networking Group, Microsoft Research Cambridge (UK)
Hunt, Galen - Operating Systems Group, Microsoft Research


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences