Understanding the memory semantics of multi-threaded CPU/FPGA programs

If you've ever attended a seminar about weak memory models, chances are good that you've been shown a small concurrent program and asked to ponder what is allowed to happen if its threads are executed on two or three different cores of a multicore CPU. For instance, you might be shown this program: // Thread… Continue reading Understanding the memory semantics of multi-threaded CPU/FPGA programs

How to draw block diagrams

A huge number of academic papers, particularly in the fields of computer systems/architecture, use some sort of block diagram to give readers an overview of the solution being presented. For instance, about two thirds of the papers presented this year at ASPLOS contained at least one of these diagrams, usually towards the start of the paper.… Continue reading How to draw block diagrams

Greatest hits of PLDI 2018

I had a great time at PLDI 2018 last week. Here is my take on a few of the papers that stood out for me. John Vilk presented a tool called BLeak for finding memory leaks in web browsers. One might think that leak detection is not important in a garbage-collected setting, but Vilk explained… Continue reading Greatest hits of PLDI 2018

What do you get if you cross Weak Memory with Transactional Memory?

What follows is a summary of the main contributions of a paper I wrote with Nathan Chong and Tyler Sorensen for the PLDI 2018 conference. This project studies two features of a modern computer, one called out-of-order execution and one called transactional memory. Out-of-order execution is where a computer chooses, for performance reasons, to perform its instructions in an order… Continue reading What do you get if you cross Weak Memory with Transactional Memory?