Data Management

Transactional Memory With Strong Atomicity Using Off-the-Shelf Memory Protection Hardware

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Executive Summary

This paper introduces a new way to provide strong atomicity in an implementation of transactional memory. Strong atomicity lets one offer clear semantics to programs, even if they access the same locations inside and outside transactions. It also avoids differences between hardware-implemented transactions and software-implemented ones. One's approach is to use off-the-shelf page-level memory protection hardware to detect conflicts between normal memory accesses and transactional ones. This page-level mechanism ensures correctness but gives poor performance because of the costs of manipulating memory protection settings and receiving notifications of access violations. However, in practice, one shows how a combination of careful object placement and dynamic code update allows one to eliminate almost all of the protection changes.

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