Infoscience

Journal article

Operation-Level Wait-Free Transactional Memory with Support for Irrevocable Operations

Transactional memory (TM) aims to be a general purpose concurrency mechanism. However, operations which cause side-effects cannot be easily managed by a TM system, in which transactions are executed optimistically. In particular, networking, I/O, and some system calls cannot be executed within a transaction that may abort and restart (e.g., due to conflicts). Thus, many TM systems let transactions become irrevocable, i.e., they are guaranteed to commit. Supporting this in TM is a challenge, but there exist fast and highly parallel TM systems that allow for irrevocable transactions. However, no such system so far provides guarantees that all transactional operations terminate in a finite time. In this paper, we show that support for irrevocable operations does not entail inherent waiting. We present a TM algorithm that guarantees wait-freedom for any transactional operation. The algorithm is based on the weakest synchronization primitive possible (test-and-set), and guarantees opacity and strong progressiveness. To experimentally evaluate the algorithm, we developed a proof-of-concept TM system and tested it using the STMBench7 benchmark.

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