Efficient Support for In-Place Metadata in Transactional Memory

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.


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.


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