Allocating Memory in a Lock-Free Manner
The potential of multiprocessor systems is often not fully realized by their system services. Certain synchronization methods, such as lock-based ones, may limit the parallelism. It is significant to see the impact of wait/lock-free synchronization design in key services for multiprocessor systems, such as the memory allocation service. Efficient, scalable memory allocators for multithreaded applications on multiprocessors is a significant goal of recent research projects.
We propose a lock-free memory allocator, to enhance the parallelism in the system. Its architecture is inspired by Hoard, a successful concurrent memory allocator, with a modular, scalable design that preserves scalability and helps avoiding false-sharing and heap blowup. Within our e.ort on designing appropriate lock-free algorithms to construct this system, we propose a new non-blocking data structure called flat-sets, supporting conventional “internal” operations as well as “inter-object” operations, for moving items between flat-sets.
We implemented the memory allocator in a set of multiprocessor systems (UMA Sun Enterprise 450 and ccNUMA Origin 3800) and studied its behaviour. The results show that the good properties of Hoard w.r.t. false-sharing and heap-blowup are preserved, while the scalability properties are enhanced even further with the help of lock-free synchronization.
KeywordsMultiprocessor System Shared Location Move Operation Memory Request False Sharing
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