Home → Magazine Archive → November 2016 (Vol. 59, No. 11) → Scaling Synchronization in Multicore Programs → Abstract

Scaling Synchronization in Multicore Programs

By Adam Morrison

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 59 No. 11, Pages 44-51
10.1145/2980987

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Designing software for modern multicore processors poses a dilemma. Traditional software designs, in which threads manipulate shared data, have limited scalability because synchronization of updates to shared data serializes threads and limits parallelism. Alternative distributed software designs, in which threads do not share mutable data, eliminate synchronization and offer better scalability. But distributed designs make it challenging to implement features that shared data structures naturally provide, such as dynamic load balancing and strong consistency guarantees, and are simply not a good fit for every program.

Often, however, the performance of shared mutable data structures is limited by the synchronization methods in use today, whether lock-based or lock-free.

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