Gonaçalo Cunha (2007)

MSc Student


MSc dissertation: Consistent State Software Transactional Memory   
Period: October 2006 — October 2007
Grade: Very Good (by unanimity)
Papers: ComSIS 5:(2)'08 (DOI), JETC 2008, PADTAD'07 (DOI)

As the multicore CPUs start getting into everyone’s computers, concurrent programming must start covering, not only the scientific and enterprise applications, but also every computer application we all use in our daily lives. Since the introduction of software transactional memory, this topic has had a strong interest by the scientific community as it has the potential of greatly facilitating concurrent programming by hiding the concurrency issues under the transactional layer. This thesis builds on the TL2 STM engine, which is one of the top performing to date. We have explored different design alternatives focusing on performance and safety. With our research we have achieved performance improvements and better safety properties of the engine. We have also achieved a much better understanding of the design alternatives and their impacts. During the course of this thesis we have come across several tough concurrency bugs and we have created a list of testing patterns, which proved to be useful in finding and reproducing several problems. This thesis describes the cutting edge of STM engine technology, elaborates on the design of a new STM engine and reports on the experimental results obtained.