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Proving Non-opacity


Mohsen Lesani, Jens Palsberg


Guerraoui and Kapalka defined opacity as a safety criterion for transactional memory algorithms in 2008. Researchers have shown how to prove opacity, while little is known about pitfalls that can lead to non-opacity. In this paper, we identify two problems that lead to non-opacity, we present automatic tool support for finding those problems, and we prove an impossibility result. We first show that the well-known TM algorithms DSTM and McRT don't satisfy opacity. DSTM suffers from a write-skew anomaly, while McRT suffers from a write-exposure anomaly. We then prove that for direct-update TM algorithms, opacity is incompatible with a liveness criterion called local progress, even for fault-free systems. Our result implies that if TM algorithm designers want both opacity and local progress, they should avoid direct-update algorithms.


[Technical Report]
[Tool Snapshots]
[Source Code]
[Paper] (early version)