Stretching Transactional Memory

Aleksandar Dragojević, Rachid Guerraoui, and Michal Kapalka


Transactional memory (TM) is an appealing abstraction for programming multi-core systems. Potential target applications for TM, such as business software and video games, are likely to involve complex data structures and large transactions, requiring specific software solutions (STM). So far, however, STMs have been mainly evaluated and optimized for smaller scale benchmarks.

We revisit the main STM design choices from the perspective of complex workloads and propose a new STM, which we call SwissTM. In short, SwissTM is lock- and word-based and uses (1) optimistic (commit-time) conflict detection for read/write conflicts and pessimistic (encounter-time) conflict detection for write/write conflicts, as well as (2) a new two-phase contention manager that ensures the progress of long transactions while inducing no overhead on short ones. SwissTM outperforms state-of-the- art STM implementations, namely RSTM, TL2, and TinySTM, in our experiments on STMBench7, STAMP, Lee-TM and red-black tree benchmarks.

Beyond SwissTM, we present the most complete evaluation to date of the individual impact of various STM design choices on the ability to support the mixed workloads of large applications.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inPLDI 2009
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