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Transactional Memory Should Be an Implementation Technique, Not a Programming Interface

Boehm, Hans-J.
HP Laboratories


Keyword(s): transactional memory, locks

Abstract: Transactional memory is often advocated as an easier- to-use replacement or locks that avoids any possibility of deadlock. Recently, as more care has been exercised in precisely specifying its semantics, a number of researchers have observed that probably the most attractive semantics for transactional memory systems is based on "single global lock atomicity", i.e. on the semantics of a single global lock. We argue that this should be taken one step further: The synchronization operations seen by the programmer should really just be locks, possibly with some syntactic sugar for easier programming with a single global lock. Use as a deadlock-free lock replacement does not require any rollback primitive, or any other constructs that expose properties of the implementation. And it appears that such extensions add considerable complexity.

6 Pages

Additional Publication Information:

External Posting Date: February 21, 2009 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: February 21, 2009 [Fulltext]

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