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Thread-Level Transactional Memory

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Moore, Kevin E.; Hill, Mark D.; Wood, David A.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Computer Sciences
Mar 15, 2012
This paper presents thread-level transactional memory (TTM), a memory system interface that separates the semantics of transactions-atomicity, consistency, and isolation-from the implementation. By making transactions a thread-level abstraction, TTM permits implementations using different combinations of of high-level software, low-level software, and dedicated hardware. TTM tracks a transaction's read and write sets and creates a "before-image" log in the thread's virtual address space. We evaluate four TTM implementations-broadcast and directory coherence times two different transaction abort mechanisms-using full-system simulation. Like previous transactional memory systems, TTM implementations are competitive with or better than lock-based synchronization. TTM's ability to cache the before and after images both supports large transactions and enables low memory bandwidth on successful commits and fast rollback on aborts.
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