Author(s)Kuszmaul, Bradley C.; Leiserson, Charles E.
Arguably, one of the biggest deterrants for software developers who might otherwise choose to write parallel code is that parallelism makes their lives more complicated. Perhaps the most basic problem inherent in the coordination of concurrent tasks is the enforcing of atomicity so that the partial results of one task do not inadvertently corrupt another task. Atomicity is typically enforced through locking protocols, but these protocols can introduce other complications, such as deadlock, unless restrictive methodologies in their use are adopted. We have recently begun a research project focusing on transactional memory  as an alternative mechanism for enforcing atomicity, since it allows the user to avoid many of the complications inherent in locking protocols. Rather than viewing transactions as infrequent occurrences in a program, as has generally been done in the past, we have adopted the point of view that all user code should execute in the context of some transaction. To make this viewpoint viable requires the development of two key technologies: effective hardware support for scalable transactional memory, and linguistic and compiler support. This paper describes our preliminary research results on making “transactions everywhere” a practical reality.
Computer Science (CS);
transactional memory, scalable transactional memory, atomicity, parallel programming, hardware transactional memory, linguistic and compiler support