Explaining Relaxed Memory Models with Program Transformations

Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-48989-6_29

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9995)
Cite this paper as:
Lahav O., Vafeiadis V. (2016) Explaining Relaxed Memory Models with Program Transformations. In: Fitzgerald J., Heitmeyer C., Gnesi S., Philippou A. (eds) FM 2016: Formal Methods. FM 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9995. Springer, Cham


Weak memory models determine the behavior of concurrent programs. While they are often understood in terms of reorderings that the hardware or the compiler may perform, their formal definitions are typically given in a very different style—either axiomatic or operational. In this paper, we investigate to what extent weak behaviors of existing memory models can be fully explained in terms of reorderings and other program transformations. We prove that TSO is equivalent to a set of two local transformations over sequential consistency, but that non-multi-copy-atomic models (such as C11, Power and ARM) cannot be explained in terms of local transformations over sequential consistency. We then show that transformations over a basic non-multi-copy-atomic model account for the relaxed behaviors of (a large fragment of) Power, but that ARM’s relaxed behaviors cannot be explained in a similar way. Our positive results may be used to simplify correctness of compilation proofs from a high-level language to TSO or Power.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS)Kaiserslautern and SaarbrückenGermany

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