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Architectural Support for Software Transactional Memory

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3 Author(s)

Transactional memory provides a concurrency control mechanism that avoids many of the pitfalls of lock-based synchronization. Researchers have proposed several different implementations of transactional memory, broadly classified into software transactional memory (STM) and hardware transactional memory (HTM). Both approaches have their pros and cons: STMs provide rich and flexible transactional semantics on stock processors but incur significant overheads. HTMs, on the other hand, provide high performance but implement restricted semantics or add significant hardware complexity. This paper is the first to propose architectural support for accelerating transactions executed entirely in software. We propose instruction set architecture (ISA) extensions and novel hardware mechanisms that improve STM performance. We adapt a high-performance STM algorithm supporting rich transactional semantics to our ISA extensions (called hardware accelerated software transactional memory or HASTM). HASTM accelerates fully virtualized nested transactions, supports language integration, and provides both object-based and cache-line based conflict detection. We have implemented HASTM in an accurate multi-core IA32 simulator. Our simulation results show that (1) HASTM single-thread performance is comparable to a conventional HTM implementation; (2) HASTM scaling is comparable to a STM implementation; and (3) HASTM is resilient to spurious aborts and can scale better than HTM in a multi-core setting. Thus, HASTM provides the flexibility and rich semantics of STM, while giving the performance of HTM

Published in:

Microarchitecture, 2006. MICRO-39. 39th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

9-13 Dec. 2006

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