Dynamic Optimization for Efficient Strong Atomicity

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Executive Summary

Transactional Memory (TM) is a promising concurrency control alternative to locks. Recent work has highlighted important memory model issues regarding TM semantics and exposed problems in existing TM implementations. For safe, managed languages such as Java, there is a growing consensus towards strong atomicity semantics as a sound, scalable solution. Strong atomicity has presented a challenge to implement efficiently because it requires instrumentation of non-transactional memory accesses, incurring significant overhead even when a program makes minimal or no use of transactions. To minimize overhead, existing solutions require either a sophisticated type system, specialized hardware, or static whole-program analysis. These techniques do not translate easily into a production setting on existing hardware.

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