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Dias, R. J., T. M. Vale, and J. M. Lourenço, "Efficient Support for In-Place Metadata in Transactional Memory", Proceedings of the 18th International Euro-Par Conference on Parallel Processing, Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, 2012. Abstracteuropar12.pdf

Software Transactional Memory (STM) algorithms correctness rely on metadata associated with the memory locations accessed during the transaction life-time. STM implementations may store this metadata either in-place, by wrapping the memory cells in a container that includes the memory cell itself and the corresponding metadata, or out-place, by resorting to a mapping function that associates the memory cell address to an external table with the corresponding metadata. The implementation techniques for these two approaches are very different and each STM framework is usually biased towards one of them, only allowing the efficient implementation of algorithms that fall into the appropriate category, and inhibiting the fair comparison with STM algorithms falling into the other. In this paper we introduce a technique that supports the use of in-place metadata without requiring to wrap memory cells, thus providing STM algorithms with direct access to the transactional metadata and overcoming the bias. The proposed technique is available as an extension to the DeuceSTM framework and allows the efficient implementation of a wide range of STM algorithms, thus enabling their fair (unbiased) comparison in a common STM infrastructure. We illustrate the benefits of our approach by analyzing its impact in two popular TM algorithms with two different transactional workloads, TL2 and multi-versioning, which bias to out-place and in-place respectively.

Dias, R. J., J. Seco, and J. M. Lourenço, "Snapshot Isolation Anomalies Detection in Software Transactional Memory", Proceedings of INForum Simpósio de Informática (InForum 2010), Braga, Portugal, Universidade do Minho, 2010. AbstractINForum-dias-2010.pdf

Some performance issues of transactional memory are caused by unnecessary abort situations where non serializable and yet non conflicting transactions are scheduled to execute concurrently. Smartly relaxing the isolation properties of transactions may overcome these issues and attain considerable performance improvements. However, it is known that relaxing isolation restrictions may lead to runtime anomalies. In some situations, like database management systems, developers may choose that compromise, hence avoiding anomalies explicitly. Memory transactions protect the state of the program, therefore execution anomalies may have more severe consequences in the semantics of programs. So, the compromise between a relaxed isolation strategy and enforcing the necessary program correctness is harder to setup. The solution we devise is to statically analyse programs to detect the kind of anomalies that emerge under snapshot isolation. Our approach allows a compiler to either warn the developer about the possible snapshot isolation anomalies in a given program, or possibly inform automatic correctness strategies to ensure Serializability.

Dias, R. J., J. M. Lourenço, and N. Preguiça, "Efficient and Correct Transactional Memory Programs Combining Snapshot Isolation and Static Analysis", Proceedings of the 3rd USENIX Conference on Hot Topics in Parallelism (HotPar'11), Berkeley, USA, Usenix Association, May, 2011. Abstracthotpar2011.pdf

Concurrent programs may suffer from concurrency anomalies that may lead to erroneous and unpredictable program behaviors. To ensure program correctness, these anomalies must be diagnosed and corrected. This paper addresses the detection of both low- and high-level anomalies in the Transactional Memory setting. We propose a static analysis procedure and a framework to address Transactional Memory anomalies. We start by dealing with the classic case of low-level dataraces, identifying concurrent accesses to shared memory cells that are not protected within the scope of a memory transaction. Then, we address the case of high-level dataraces, bringing the programmer's attention to pairs of memory transactions that were misspecified and should have been combined into a single transaction. Our framework was applied to a set of programs, collected form different sources, containing well known low- and high-level anomalies. The framework demonstrated to be accurate, confirming the effectiveness of using static analysis techniques to precisely identify concurrency anomalies in Transactional Memory programs.

Dias, R. J., V. Pessanha, and J. M. Lourenço, "Precise Detection of Atomicity Violations", Haifa Verification Conference, Haifa, Israel, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, Nov 2012. Abstracthvc2012.pdf

Concurrent programs that are free of unsynchronized ac- cesses to shared data may still exhibit unpredictable concurrency errors called atomicity violations, which include both high-level dataraces and stale-value errors. Atomicity violations occur when programmers make wrong assumptions about the atomicity scope of a code block, incorrectly splitting it in two or more atomic blocks and allow them to be interleaved with other atomic blocks. In this paper we propose a novel static analysis algorithm that works on a dependency graph of program variables and detects both high-level dataraces and stale-value errors. The algorithm was implemented for a Java Bytecode analyzer and its effectiveness was evaluated with some well known faulty programs. The results obtained show that our algorithm performs better than previous approaches, achieving higher precision for small and medium sized programs, making it a good basis for a practical tool.

Dias, R. J., J. M. Lourenço, and G. Cunha, "Developing libraries using software transactional memory", Comput. Sci. Inf. Syst., vol. 5, issue 2, no. 2, pp. 103–117, 2008. Abstractcomsis_final.pdf

Software transactional memory is a promising programming model that adapts many concepts borrowed from the databases world to control concurrent accesses to main memory (RAM). This paper discusses how to support revertible operations, such as memory allocation and release, within software libraries that will be used in software memory transactional contexts. The proposal is based in the extension of the transaction life cycle state diagram with new states associated to the execution of user-defined handlers. The proposed approach is evaluated in terms of functionality and performance by way of a use case study and performance tests. Results demonstrate that the proposal and its current implementation are flexible, generic and efficient

Dias, R. J., J. M. Lourenço, and J. C. Seco, Detection of Snapshot Isolation Anomalies in Software Transactional Memory: A Statical Analysis Approach, , no. UNL-DI-5-2011: Departamento de Informática FCT/UNL, 2011. Abstract

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Dias, R. J., T. M. Vale, and J. M. Lourenço, "Efficient support for in-place metadata in Java software transactional memory", Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, vol. 25, no. 17, pp. 2394–2411, 2013. Abstractccpe2013-dias.pdfWebsite

Software transactional memory (STM) algorithms associate metadata with the memory locations accessed during a transaction's lifetime. This metadata may be stored in an external table by resorting to a mapping function that associates the address of a memory cell with the table entry containing the corresponding metadata (out-place or external strategy). Alternatively, the metadata may be stored adjacent to the associated memory cell by wrapping the cell and metadata together (in-place strategy). The implementation techniques to support these two approaches are very different and each STM framework is usually biased towards one of them, only allowing the efficient implementation of STM algorithms which suit one of the approaches and inhibiting a fair comparison with STM algorithms suiting the other. In this paper, we introduce a technique to implement in-place metadata that does not wrap memory cells, thus overcoming the bias and allowing STM algorithms to directly access the transactional metadata. The proposed technique is available as an extension to Deuce and enables the efficient implementation of a wide range of STM algorithms and their fair (unbiased) comparison in a common STM framework. We illustrate the benefits of our approach by analyzing its impact in two popular transactional memory algorithms with several transactional workloads, TL2 and multiversioning, each befitting out-place and in-place, respectively.

Dias, R. J., D. Distefano, J. C. Seco, and J. M. Lourenço, "Verification of Snapshot Isolation in Transactional Memory Java Programs", Proceedings of the 26th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Beijing, China, 11-16 June, 2012. Abstractecoop12.pdf

This paper presents an automatic verification technique for transactional memory Java programs executing under snapshot isolation level. We certify which transactions in a program are safe to execute under snapshot isolation without triggering the write-skew anomaly, opening the way to run-time optimizations that may lead to considerable performance enhancements. Our work builds on a novel deep-heap analysis technique based on separation logic to statically approximate the read- and write-sets of a transactional memory Java program. We implement our technique and apply our tool to a set of micro benchmarks and also to one benchmark of the STAMP package. We corroborate known results, certifying some of the examples for safe execution under snapshot isolation by proving the absence of write-skew anomalies. In other cases our analysis has identified transactions that potentially trigger previously unknown write-skew anomalies.>

Dias, R. J., J. Lourenço, and G. Cunha, "Developing Libraries Using Software Transactional Memory", CoRTA 2008: Proceedings of the Conference on Compilers, Related Technologies and Applications, Bragança, Portugal, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança - ESTG, 2008. Abstractcorta_2008.pdf

Software transactional memory (STM) is a promising programming model that adapts many concepts borrowed from the databases world to control concurrent accesses to main memory (RAM) locations. This paper aims at discussing how to support apparently irreversible operations within a memory transaction.

Dias, R. J., and J. M. Lourenço, "Unifying Memory and Database Transactions", Proceedings of the 15th International Euro-Par Conference on Parallel Processing, Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, pp. 349–360, 2009. Abstracteuropar2009-umadt.pdf

Software Transactional Memory is a concurrency control technique gaining increasing popularity, as it provides high-level concurrency control constructs and eases the development of highly multi-threaded applications. But this easiness comes at the expense of restricting the operations that can be executed within a memory transaction, and operations such as terminal and file I/O are either not allowed or incur in serious performance penalties. Database I/O is another example of operations that usually are not allowed within a memory transaction. This paper proposes to combine memory and database transactions in a single unified model, benefiting from the ACID properties of the database transactions and from the speed of main memory data processing. The new unified model covers, without differentiating, both memory and database operations. Thus, the users are allowed to freely intertwine memory and database accesses within the same transaction, knowing that the memory and database contents will always remain consistent and that the transaction will atomically abort or commit the operations in both memory and database. This approach allows to increase the granularity of the in-memory atomic actions and hence, simplifies the reasoning about them.

Dias, R. J., D. Distefano, J. M. Lourenço, and J. C. Seco, StarTM: Automatic Verification of Snapshot Isolation in Transactional Memory Java Programs, , no. UNL-DI-6-2011: Departamento de Informática FCT/UNL, 2011. Abstractddls11.pdf

This paper presents StarTM , an automatic verification tool for transactional memory Java programs executing under relaxed isolation levels. We certify which transactions in a program are safe to execute under Snapshot Isolation without triggering the write-skew anomaly, opening the way to run-time optimizations that may lead to considerable performance enhancements.
Our tool builds on a novel shape analysis technique based on Separation Logic to statically approximate the read- and write-sets of a transactional memory Java program. This technique is particularly challenging due to the presence of dynamically allocated memory.
We implement our technique and apply our tool to a set of intricate examples. We corroborate known results, certifying some of the examples for safe execution under Snapshot Isolation by proving the absence of write-skew anomalies. In other cases we identify transactions that potentially trigger the write-skew anomaly.

Dias, R. J., T. M. Vale, and J. M. Lourenço, "Framework Support for the Efficient Implementation of Multi-version Algorithms", Transactional Memory. Foundations, Algorithms, Tools, and Applications, vol. 8913: Springer International Publishing, pp. 166–191, 2015. Abstracttransactional_memory-dias_vale_lourenco.pdf

Software Transactional Memory algorithms associate metadata with the memory locations accessed during a transactions lifetime. This metadata may be stored in an external table and accessed by way of a function that maps the address of each memory location with the table entry that keeps its metadata (this is the out-place or external scheme); or alternatively may be stored adjacent to the associated memory cell by wrapping them together (the in-place scheme). In transactional memory multi-version algorithms, several versions of the same memory location may exist. The efficient implementation of these algorithms requires a one-to-one correspondence between each memory location and its list of past versions, which is stored as metadata. In this chapter we address the matter of the efficient implementation of multi-version algorithms in Java by proposing and evaluating a novel in-place metadata scheme for the Deuce framework. This new scheme is based in Java Bytecode transformation techniques and its use requires no changes to the application code. Experimentation indicates that multi-versioning STM algorithms implemented using our new in-place scheme are in average 6 × faster than when implemented with the out-place scheme.

Dikaiakos, M., O. Rana, S. Ur, and J. M. Lourenço, "Topic 1: Support Tools and Environments", Euro-Par 2008 Parallel Processing, vol. 5168, Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer-Verlag, pp. 1–2, 2008. Abstract

The spread of systems that provide parallelism either «in-the-large» (grid infrastructures, clusters) or «in-the-small» (multi-core chips), creates new opportunities for exploiting parallelism in a wider spectrum of application domains. However, the increasing complexity of parallel and distributed platforms renders the programming, the use, and the management of these systems a costly endeavor that requires advanced expertise and skills. Therefore, there is an increasing need for powerful support tools and environments that will help end-users, application programmers, software engineers and system administrators to manage the increasing complexity of parallel and distributed platforms.

Duarte, V., J. M. Lourenço, and J. C. Cunha, "Supporting on-line distributed monitoring and debugging", On-Line Monitoring Systems and Computer Tool Interoperability, Commack, NY, USA, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., pp. 43–59, 2003. Abstractpdcp.pdf

Monitoring systems have traditionally been developed with rigid objectives and functionalities, and tied to specific languages, libraries and run-time environments. There is a need for more flexible monitoring systems which can be easily adapted to distinct requirements. On-line monitoring has been considered as increasingly important for observation and control of a distributed application. In this paper we discuss monitoring interfaces and architectures which support more extensible monitoring and control services. We describe our work on the development of a distributed monitoring infrastructure, and illustrate how it eases the implementation of a complex distributed debugging architecture. We also discuss several issues concerning support for tool interoperability and illustrate how the cooperation among multiple concurrent tools can ease the task of distributed debugging.

Duarte Vitor, Lourenço João M., C. J. C., "Supporting On-line Distributed Monitoring and Debugging", Parallel and Distributed Computing Practices, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 43–59, 2001. Abstractpdcp.pdfWebsite

Monitoring systems have traditionally been developed with rigid objectives and functionalities, and tied to specific languages, libraries and run-time environments. There is a need for more flexible monitoring systems which can be easily adapted to distinct requirements. On-line monitoring has been considered as increasingly important for observation and control of a distributed application. In this paper we discuss monitoring interfaces and architectures which support more extensible monitoring and control services. We describe our work on the development of a distributed monitoring infrastructure, and illustrate how it eases the implementation of a complex distributed debugging architecture. We also discuss several issues concerning support for tool interoperability and illustrate how the cooperation among multiple concurrent tools can ease the task of distributed debugging.

Duro, N., R. Santos, J. M. Lourenço, H. Paulino, and J. Martins, "Open Virtualization Framework for Testing Ground Systems", Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Parallel and Distributed Systems (PADTAD'10), New York, NY, USA, ACM, pp. 67–73, 2010. Abstractpadtad-duro-2010.pdf

The recent developments in virtualization change completely the panorama of the Hardware/OS deployment. New bottlenecks arise in the deployment of application stacks, where IT industry will spend most of the time to assure automation. VIRTU tool aims at managing, configuring and testing distributed ground applications of space systems on a virtualized environment, based on open tools and cross virtualization support. This tool is a spin-off of previous activities performed by the European Space Operations Center (ESOC) and thus it covers the original needs from the ground data systems infrastructure division of the European Space Agency. VIRTU is a testing oriented solution. Its ability to group several virtual machines in an assembly provides the means to easily deploy a full testing infrastructure, including the client/server relationships. The possibility of making on-demand request of the testing infrastructure will provide some infrastructure optimizations, specially having in mind that ESA maintains Ground Control software of various missions, and each mission cam potentially have a different set of System baselines and last up to 15 years. The matrix array of supported system combinations is therefore enormous and any improvement on the process provides substantial benefits to ESA, by reducing the effort and schedule of each maintenance activity. The ESOC's case study focuses on the development and validation activities of infrastructure or mission Ground Systems solutions. The Ground Systems solutions are typically composed of distributed systems that could take advantage of virtualized environments for testing purposes. Virtualization is used as way to optimize maintenance for tasks such as testing new releases and patches, test different system's configurations and replicate tests. The main benefits identified are related to deployment test environment and the possibility to have on-demand infrastructure.