A Probabilistic Quantitative Analysis of Probabilistic-Write/Copy-Select
Probabilistic-Write/Copy-Select (PWCS) is a novel synchronization scheme suggested by Nicholas Mc Guire which avoids expensive atomic operations for synchronizing access to shared objects. Instead, PWCS makes inconsistencies detectable and recoverable. It builds on the assumption that, for typical workloads, the probability for data races is very small. Mc Guire describes PWCS for multiple readers but only one writer of a shared data structure. In this paper, we report on the formal analysis of the PWCS protocol using a continuous-time Markov chain model and probabilistic model checking techniques. Besides the original PWCS protocol, we also considered a variant with multiple writers. The results were obtained by the model checker PRISM and served to identify scenarios in which the use of the PWCS protocol is justified by guarantees on the probability of data races. Moreover, the analysis showed several other quantitative properties of the PWCS protocol.
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