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Transactional Memory − A Short Introduction

Transactional memory (TM) is a new computation paradigm in which processes of an application communicate using lightweight, in-memory transactions. Basically, a process that wants to access a shared data structure executes some operations on this structure inside a transaction. When the transaction commits, all these operations appear as if they took place instantaneously, at some single, unique point in time. When the transaction aborts, however, all the operations are roll-backed and their effects are never visible to other transactions.

The TM paradigm is argued to be as easy to use as coarse-grained locking, and nearly as efficient on multi-core systems as hand-crafted, fine-grained locking. It is thus not surprising to see a large body of work dedicated towards implementing the paradigm and exploring its limitations.

How Good is a Transactional Memory Implementation?

We evaluate transactional memory (TM) implementations, both on theoretical and experimental ground. We ask:

  • What are the inherent limitations and trade-offs of transactional memory,
  • How expensive are some of the guarantees a TM implementation may provide, and
  • Which algorithms/frameworks perform best.
start.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/10 10:51 by transactions
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