Transactional Memory: The first 500 Papers

Thursday 7 October 2010, 6.00pm

The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2 7HA. The nearest underground stations are Covent Garden and Charing Cross.

The Advanced Programming SG will hold its AGM at the commencement of this meeting. Items to be discussed include the election of officers for the 2010/11 season and possible topics for future talks. Please attend and register your views.

Dr Tim Harris, Microsoft Research, Cambridge UK

The advent of multicore processors has renewed interest in the idea of incorporating transactions into the programming model used to write parallel programs. This approach, known as transactional memory, offers an alternative, and hopefully better, way to coordinate concurrent threads. The ACI (atomicity, consistency, isolation) properties of transactions provide a foundation to ensure that concurrent reads and writes of shared data do not produce inconsistent or incorrect results. At a higher level, a computation wrapped in a transaction executes atomically - either it completes successfully and commits its result in its entirety or it aborts. In addition, isolation ensures the transaction produces the same result as if no other transactions were executing concurrently. Although transactions are not a parallel programming panacea, they shift much of the burden of synchronizing and coordinating parallel computations from a programmer to a compiler, to a language runtime system, or to hardware. The challenge for the system implementers is to build an efficient transactional memory infrastructure.

In this talk I'll discuss the state of the art in terms of implementing transactional memory and writing programs that use it. The talk is based on my recent book "Transactional Memory" published by Morgan & Claypool.

Free, but to gain admission please email your name to our Membership Secretary, Dr Frank Martin at

View the slides for this event (PDF, 1.79MB)