PathCAS: An efficient middle ground for concurrent search data structures

Brown TA, Sigouin W, Alistarh D-A. 2022. PathCAS: An efficient middle ground for concurrent search data structures. Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming. PPoPP: Sympopsium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming, 385–399.

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Abstract
To maximize the performance of concurrent data structures, researchers have often turned to highly complex fine-grained techniques, resulting in efficient and elegant algorithms, which can however be often difficult to understand and prove correct. While simpler techniques exist, such as transactional memory, they can have limited performance or portability relative to their fine-grained counterparts. Approaches at both ends of this complexity-performance spectrum have been extensively explored, but relatively less is known about the middle ground: approaches that are willing to sacrifice some performance for simplicity, while remaining competitive with state-of-the-art handcrafted designs. In this paper, we explore this middle ground, and present PathCAS, a primitive that combines ideas from multi-word CAS (KCAS) and transactional memory approaches, while carefully avoiding overhead. We show how PathCAS can be used to implement efficient search data structures relatively simply, using an internal binary search tree as an example, then extending this to an AVL tree. Our best implementations outperform many handcrafted search trees: in search-heavy workloads, it rivals the BCCO tree [5], the fastest known concurrent binary tree in terms of search performance [3]. Our results suggest that PathCAS can yield concurrent data structures that are relatively easy to build and prove correct, while offering surprisingly high performance.
Publishing Year
Date Published
2022-04-02
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming
Acknowledgement
This work was supported by: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Development grant: CRDPJ 539431-19, the Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund with equal support from the Ontario Research Fund CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund: 38512, Waterloo Huawei Joint Innovation Lab project “Scalable Infrastructure for Next Generation Data Management Systems”, NSERC Discovery Launch Supplement: DGECR-2019-00048, NSERC Discovery Program under the grants: RGPIN-2019-04227 and RGPIN04512-2018, and the University of Waterloo. We would also like to thank the reviewers for their insightful comments.
Page
385-399
Conference
PPoPP: Sympopsium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming
Conference Location
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Conference Date
2022-04-02 – 2022-04-06
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Brown TA, Sigouin W, Alistarh D-A. PathCAS: An efficient middle ground for concurrent search data structures. In: Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming. Association for Computing Machinery; 2022:385-399. doi:10.1145/3503221.3508410
Brown, T. A., Sigouin, W., & Alistarh, D.-A. (2022). PathCAS: An efficient middle ground for concurrent search data structures. In Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming (pp. 385–399). Seoul, Republic of Korea: Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/3503221.3508410
Brown, Trevor A, William Sigouin, and Dan-Adrian Alistarh. “PathCAS: An Efficient Middle Ground for Concurrent Search Data Structures.” In Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming, 385–99. Association for Computing Machinery, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1145/3503221.3508410.
T. A. Brown, W. Sigouin, and D.-A. Alistarh, “PathCAS: An efficient middle ground for concurrent search data structures,” in Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 2022, pp. 385–399.
Brown TA, Sigouin W, Alistarh D-A. 2022. PathCAS: An efficient middle ground for concurrent search data structures. Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming. PPoPP: Sympopsium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming, 385–399.
Brown, Trevor A., et al. “PathCAS: An Efficient Middle Ground for Concurrent Search Data Structures.” Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming, Association for Computing Machinery, 2022, pp. 385–99, doi:10.1145/3503221.3508410.

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