Date: 26 Jun 2005

Universal mechanisms for concurrency

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We propose a machine model consisting of a set of primitive mechanisms for communication, synchronization, and naming. These mechanisms have been selected as a compromise between what can easily be implemented in hardware and what is required to support parallel models of computation. Implementations of three models of parallel computation: actors, dataflow, and shared-memory using this model are sketched. The costs of the mechanisms on a particular parallel machine are presented and issues involved in implementing the model are discussed. Identifying a primitive set of mechanisms separates issues of programming models from issues of machine organization. Problems are partitioned into those involving implementation of the primitive mechanisms and those involving implementation of programming models and systems using the mechanisms.

The research described in this paper was supported in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under contracts N00014-88K-0738, N00014-87KC-0825, and N00014-85-K-0124 and in part by a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award with matching funds from General Electric Corporation and IBM Corporation.