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Efficient and Reliable Lock-Free Memory Reclamation Based on Reference Counting

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4 Author(s)
Gidenstam, A. ; Max Planck Inst. for Comput. Sci., Saarbrucken ; Papatriantafilou, M. ; Sundell, H. ; Tsigas, P.

We present an efficient and practical lock-free method for semiautomatic (application-guided) memory reclamation based on reference counting, aimed for use with arbitrary lock-free dynamic data structures. The method guarantees the safety of local as well as global references, supports arbitrary memory reuse, uses atomic primitives that are available in modern computer systems, and provides an upper bound on the amount of memory waiting to be reclaimed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first lock-free method that provides all of these properties. We provide analytical and experimental study of the method. The experiments conducted have shown that the method can also provide significant performance improvements for lock-free algorithms of dynamic data structures that require strong memory management.

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Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 8 )