Verifying concurrent memory reclamation algorithms with grace

Alexey Gotsman, Noam Rinetzky, Hongseok Yang

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

Abstract

Memory management is one of the most complex aspects of modern concurrent algorithms, and various techniques proposed for it - such as hazard pointers, read-copy-update and epoch-based reclamation - have proved very challenging for formal reasoning. In this paper, we show that different memory reclamation techniques actually rely on the same implicit synchronisation pattern, not clearly reflected in the code, but only in the form of assertions used to argue its correctness. The pattern is based on the key concept of a grace period, during which a thread can access certain shared memory cells without fear that they get deallocated. We propose a modular reasoning method, motivated by the pattern, that handles all three of the above memory reclamation techniques in a uniform way. By explicating their fundamental core, our method achieves clean and simple proofs, scaling even to realistic implementations of the algorithms without a significant increase in proof complexity. We formalise the method using a combination of separation logic and temporal logic and use it to verify example instantiations of the three approaches to memory reclamation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgramming Languages and Systems - 22nd European Symposium on Programming, ESOP 2013, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2013, Proceedings
Pages249-269
Number of pages21
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Event22nd European Symposium on Programming, ESOP 2013, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2013 - Rome, Italy
Duration: 16 Mar 201324 Mar 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7792 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

Conference22nd European Symposium on Programming, ESOP 2013, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2013
Country/TerritoryItaly
CityRome
Period16/03/1324/03/13

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