Using Discrete Event Simulation to Analyze Contention Managers

Demsky, Brian
December 2011
International Journal of Parallel Programming;Dec2011, Vol. 39 Issue 6, p783
Academic Journal
Understanding the behavior and benefits of contention managers is important for designing transactional memory implementations. Contention manager design is closely tied to other design decisions in a transaction memory implementation, and therefore experiments to compare the behaviors of contention managers are difficult. This paper presents a discrete event simulator that allows researchers to explore the behavior of contention managers and even to perform experiments that compare lazy conflict detection without contention management to eager detection combined with a contention manager. For our benchmarks, we found that lazy conflict detection was competitive with the best contention managers. Our experiments confirm that contention management design is critical for transactional memories that use eager validation. We used the simulator to explore new tiered contention managers that combine livelock-prone contention managers with livelock-free contention managers to provide the benefits of the livelock-prone contention manager while avoiding its pathological behaviors under contention.


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