Toward a non-atomic era: ℓ-Exclusion as a test case

Danny Dolev, Eli Gafni, Nir Shavit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Most of the research in concurrency control has been based on the existence of strong syrchronization primitives such as test and set. Following Lamport, recent research promoting the use of weaker primitives, "safe" rather than "atomic," has resulted in construction of atomic registers from safe ones, in the belief that they would be useful tools for process synchronization. We argue that the properties provided by atomic operations may be too powerful, masking core difficulties of problems and leading to inefficiency. We therefore advocate a different approach, to skip the intermediate step of achieving atomicity, and solve problems directly from safe registers. Though it has been shown that "test and set" cannot be implemented from safe registers, we show how to achieve a fair solution to l-exclusion, a classical concurrency control problem previously solved assuming a very powerful form of atomic "test and set". We do so using safe registers alone and without introducing atomicity. The solution is based on the construction of a simple novel non-atomic synchronization primitive.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, STOC 1988
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)0897912640, 9780897912648
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes
Event20th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, STOC 1988 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: 2 May 19884 May 1988

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing
ISSN (Print)0737-8017


Conference20th Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, STOC 1988
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL


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