Open Systems Laboratory at Illinois

Automated inference of atomic sets for safe concurrent execution

By Peter Dinges, Minas Charalambides, and Gul Agha. Technical Report, University of Illinois at Urbana--Champaign, April 2013.

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Atomic sets are a synchronization mechanism in which the programmer specifies the groups of data that must be accessed as a unit. The compiler can check this specification for consistency, detect deadlocks, and automatically add the primitives to prevent interleaved access. Atomic sets relieve the programmer from the burden of recognizing and pruning execution paths which lead to interleaved access, thereby reducing the potential for data races. However, manually converting programs from lock-based synchronization to atomic sets requires reasoning about the program's concurrency structure, which can be a challenge even for small programs. Our analysis eliminates the challenge by automating the reasoning. Our implementation of the analysis allowed us to derive the atomic sets for large code bases such as the Java collections framework in a matter of minutes. The analysis is based on execution traces; assuming all traces reflect intended behavior, our analysis allows safe concurrency by preventing unobserved interleavings which may harbor latent Heisenbugs.


    author = "Dinges, Peter and Charalambides, Minas and Agha, Gul",
    title = "Automated Inference of Atomic Sets for Safe Concurrent
    ee = "",
    institution = "University of Illinois at Urbana--Champaign",
    month = "April",
    year = "2013",