Convoider: A Concurrency Bug Avoider Based on Transparent Software Transactional Memory


Software transactional memory is an effective mechanism to avoid concurrency bugs in multi-threaded programs. However, two problems hinder the adoption of traditional such systems in wild world: high human cost for equipping programs with transaction functionality and low compatibility with I/O calls and conditional variables. This paper presents Convoider to try to solve these problems. By intercepting inter-thread operations and designating code among them as transactions in each thread, Convoider automatically transactionalizes target programs without any source code modification and recompiling. By saving/restoring stack frames and CPU registers on beginning/aborting a transaction, Convoider makes execution flow revocable. By turning threads into processes, leveraging virtual memory protection and customizing memory allocation/deallocation, Convoider makes memory manipulations revocable. By maintaining virtual file systems and redirecting I/O operations onto them, Convoider makes I/O effects revocable. By converting lock/unlock operations to no-ops, customizing signal/wait operations on condition variables and committing memory changes transactionally, Convoider makes deadlocks, data races and atomicity violations impossible. Experimental results show that Convoider succeeds in transparently transactionalizing twelve real-world applications and perfectly avoid 94% of thirty-one concurrency bugs used in our experiments. This study can help efficiently transactionalize legacy multi-threaded applications and effectively improve the runtime reliability of them.

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This paper is supported by 2018 Doctoral Foundation of Guizhou Education University (No. 2018BS004), 2019 Education Science Plan Program of Guizhou Province (No. 2019B179), Key Disciplines of Guizhou Province—Computer Science and Technology (No. ZDXK [2018]007), Key Supported Disciplines of Guizhou Province—Computer Application Technology (No. QianXueWeiHeZi ZDXX[2016]020), Specialized Fund for Science and Technology Platform and Talent Team Project of Guizhou Province (No. QianKeHePingTaiRenCai[2016]5609), Major Research Projects of Innovation Group of Guizhou Provincial Department of Education (No. QianJiaoHeKY[2016]040) and Engineering Research Center of the Higher Education Institutions of Guizhou Province (No. QianJiaoHeKY[2016]015). We appreciate the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.

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Yu, Z., Zuo, Y. & Zhao, Y. Convoider: A Concurrency Bug Avoider Based on Transparent Software Transactional Memory. Int J Parallel Prog 48, 32–60 (2020).

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  • Software transactional memory
  • Concurrency bug avoidance
  • Deadlock
  • Data race
  • Atomicity violation
  • Order violation