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Elucidating Concurrent Algorithms via Layers of Abstraction and Reification

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Cliff JonesORCiD, Dr Ken Pierce



This paper presents a formal development of a non-trivial parallel program: Simpson's implementation of asynchronous communication mechanisms (ACMs). Although the correctness of this “4-slot algorithm" has been shown elsewhere, earlier proofs fail to over much insight into the design. The aims of this paper include both the presentation of an understandable (yet formal) design history of this one algorithm and teasing out of the techniques employed in the explanation for wider application. Among these techniques is using a “fiction of atomicity" as an aid to understanding the initial steps of development. The rely-guarantee approach is, here, combined with notions of read/write frames and “phased" specifications; the atomicity assumptions implied by rely/guarantee conditions are realised by clever choices of data representation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones CB, Pierce KG

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2009

Pages: 20

Print publication date: 01/08/2009

Source Publication Date: August 2009

Report Number: 1166

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne