Design-space evaluation for non-blocking synchronization in Ada: lock elision of protected objects, concurrent objects, and low-level atomics

Shinhyung Yang, Seongho Jeong, Byunguk Min, Yeonsoo Kim, Bernd Burgstaller, Johann Blieberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current ISO/IEC standard of the Ada programming language does not support non-blocking synchronization. The restriction to locks conflicts with Ada's design goals for program safety and efficiency, because (1) task failure inside a critical section may incur deadlock, and (2) locks stand in the way of scaling parallel programs on multicore architectures. Increased autonomy of software systems and advances in embedded multicore platforms make non-blocking synchronization a desirable feature for Ada, which is traditionally employed for safety-critical embedded applications in the automotive and aerospace domains. We propose two techniques to support non-blocking synchronization in Ada: (1) Lock elision of Ada's Hoare-style monitor synchronization construct (called “protected object”) allows method calls of the monitor to overlap in time; inter-thread data conflicts are resolved by underlying hardware transactional memory. (2) Concurrent objects constitute a new programming primitive to encapsulate the complexity of non-blocking synchronization in a language-level construct. We investigate the use of an alternative, low-level API that employs atomic read–modify–write operations in the style of C++11, in conjunction with relaxed memory consistency models. We conduct an extensive experimental evaluation on an x86- and an ARM v8 multicore platform to explore the trade-offs of the proposed designs with respect to programmability, scalability and performance; and evaluate the performance improvements achievable with relaxed memory consistency models. We include a comparison with state-of-the-art blocking synchronization constructs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101764
JournalJournal of Systems Architecture
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the anonymous referees for their constructive feedback. This research was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) project I 1035N23, and by the Next-Generation Information Computing Development Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning under grant NRF-2015-M3C4A-7065522.

Funding Information:
Shinhyung Yang is a PhD candidate at the Department of Computer Science at Yonsei University. He was awarded the 2015 Global PhD Fellowship by the National Research Foundation of Korea. His expertise lies in streamparallel systems, languages and compilers, and multicore computing on embedded systems.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture


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