John Kubiatowicz, David Chaiken, Anant Agarwal. Closing the Window of Vulnerability in Multiphase Memory Transactions. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS V), pages 274-284, October 1992.
(pdf, compressed postscript)


Multiprocessor architects have begun to explore several mechanisms such as prefetching, context-switching and software-assisted dynamic cache-coherence, which transform single-phase memory transactions in conventional memory systems into multiphase operations. Multiphase operations introduce a window of vulnerability in which data can be invalidated before it is used. Losing data due to invalidations introduces damaging livelock situations. This paper discusses the origins of the window of vulnerability and proposes an architectural framework that closes it. The framework is implemented in Alewife, a large-scale multiprocessor being built at MIT.

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