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Between Linearizability and Quiescent Consistency

Quantitative Quiescent Consistency

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Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2014)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ((LNTCS,volume 8573))

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Linearizability is the de facto correctness criterion for concurrent data structures. Unfortunately, linearizability imposes a performance penalty which scales linearly in the number of contending threads. Quiescent consistency is an alternative criterion which guarantees that a concurrent data structure behaves correctly when accessed sequentially. Yet quiescent consistency says very little about executions that have any contention.

We define quantitative quiescent consistency (QQC), a relaxation of linearizability where the degree of relaxation is proportional to the degree of contention. When quiescent, no relaxation is allowed, and therefore QQC refines quiescent consistency, unlike other proposed relaxations of linearizability. We show that high performance counters and stacks designed to satisfy quiescent consistency continue to satisfy QQC. The precise assumptions under which QQC holds provides fresh insight on these structures. To demonstrate the robustness of QQC, we provide three natural characterizations and prove compositionality.

Research supported by NSF 0916741. The full version of this paper is available at

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Jagadeesan, R., Riely, J. (2014). Between Linearizability and Quiescent Consistency. In: Esparza, J., Fraigniaud, P., Husfeldt, T., Koutsoupias, E. (eds) Automata, Languages, and Programming. ICALP 2014. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8573. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-662-43950-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-662-43951-7

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