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On Avoiding Spare Aborts in Transactional Memory

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Executive Summary

This paper takes a step toward developing a theory for understanding aborts in Transactional Memory systems (TMs). Existing TMs may abort many transactions that could, in fact, commit without violating correctness. The authors call such unnecessary aborts spare aborts. They classify what kinds of spare aborts can be eliminated, and which cannot. They further study what kinds of spare aborts can be avoided efficiently. Specifically, they show that some unnecessary aborts cannot be avoided, and that there is an inherent tradeoff between the overhead of a TM and the extent to which it reduces the number of spare aborts.

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