Multicore programming presents the challenge of synchronizing multiple threads. Traditionally, mutual exclusion locks are used to limit access to a shared resource to a single thread at a time. Whether this lock is applied to an entire data structure, or only a single element, the pitfalls of lock-based programming persist. Deadlock, livelock, starvation, and priority inversion are some of the hazards of lock-based programming that can be avoided by using non-blocking techniques. Non-blocking data structures allow scalable and thread-safe access to shared data by guaranteeing, at least, system-wide progress. In this work, we present the first wait-free hash map which allows a large number of threads to concurrently insert, get, and remove information. Wait-freedom means that all threads make progress in a finite amount of time --- an attribute that can be critical in real-time environments. We only use atomic operations that are provided by the hardware; therefore, our hash map can be utilized by a variety of data-intensive applications including those within the domains of embedded systems and supercomputers. The challenges of providing this guarantee make the design and implementation of wait-free objects difficult. As such, there are few wait-free data structures described in the literature; in particular, there are no wait-free hash maps. It often becomes necessary to sacrifice performance in order to achieve wait-freedom. However, our experimental evaluation shows that our hash map design is, on average, 7 times faster than a traditional blocking design. Our solution outperforms the best available alternative non-blocking designs in a large majority of cases, typically by a factor of 15 or higher. The main drawback of non-blocking data structures is that only one linearizable operation can be executed by each thread, at any one time. To overcome this limitation we present a framework for developing dynamic transactional data containers. Transactional containers are those that execute a sequence of operations atomically and in such a way that concurrent transactions appear to take effect in some sequential order. We take an existing algorithm that transforms non-blocking sets into static transactional versions (LFTT), and we modify it to support maps. We implement a non-blocking transactional hash map using this new approach. We continue to build on LFTT by implementing a lock-free vector using a methodology to allow LFTT to be compatible with non-linked data structures. A static transaction requires all operands and operations to be specified at compile-time, and no code may be executed between transactions. These limitations render static transactions impractical for most use cases. We modify LFTT to support dynamic transactions, and we enhance it with additional features. Dynamic transactions allow operands to be specified at runtime rather than compile-time, and threads can execute code between the data structure operations of a transaction. We build a framework for transforming non-blocking containers into dynamic transactional data structures, called Dynamic Transactional Transformation (DTT), and provide a library of novel transactional containers. Our library provides the wait-free progress guarantee and supports transactions among multiple data structures, whereas previous work on data structure transactions has been limited to operating on a single container. Our approach is 3 times faster than software transactional memory, and its performance matches its lock-free transactional counterpart.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
LaBorde, Pierre, "Practical Dynamic Transactional Data Structures" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5963.