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Making Lock-free Data Structures Verifiable with Artificial Transactions

Yuan, Xinhao; Williams-King, David Christopher; Yang, Junfeng; Sethumadhavan, Simha

Among all classes of parallel programming abstractions, lock-free data structures are considered one of the most scalable and efficient because of their fine-grained style of synchronization. However, they are also challenging for developers and tools to verify because of the huge number of possible interleavings that result from fine-grained synchronizations. This paper address this fundamental problem between performance and verifiability of lock-free data structures. We present TXIT, a system that greatly reduces the set of possible interleavings by inserting transactions into the implementation of a lock-free data structure. We leverage hardware transactional memory support from Intel Haswell processors to enforce these artificial transactions. Evaluation on six popular lock-free data structures shows that TXIT makes it easy to verify lock-free data structures while incurring acceptable runtime overhead. Further analysis shows that two inefficiencies in Haswell are the largest contributors to this overhead.

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Publisher
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Series
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-026-14
Published Here
January 30, 2015
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