Lock-free Memory Management
Programming Languages Accomplishment | 2004
IBM researcher: Maged M. Michael
Where the work was done: IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
What we accomplished: Dynamic memory allocation functions, such as malloc and free, are heavily used by a wide range of important multi-threaded applications, from commercial database and webservers to data mining and scientific applications. These functions, described by Maged Michael (pictured), relied on locks, which limit their scalability and performance, and make robust implementation difficult. Lock-free memory management eliminated those problems by demonstrating how to do allocation on multiprocessor systems without locks.
Related links: Scalable Lock-Free Dynamic Memory Allocation in 2004 ACM PLDI Conference (Programming Language Design and Implementation). Selected in 2014 as the most influential paper from PLDI 2004; Thin locks: Featherweight Synchronization for Java.
Image credit: LinkedIn
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