Saturday, June 13, 2009

A determinizing compiler

by Nalini Vasudevan and Stephen Edwards (Columbia University, USA)

Summary of reviewer comments:
Stated simply, the authors argue that compilers should generate deterministic code from parallel programs. The idea is to transform multi-threaded programs with non-deterministic parts into fully-deterministic programs using barrier-insertions.

Even though this paper is technically thin and may not reflect the level of understanding that the community has about the problem, the presentation may nonetheless stimulate a productive discussion. For example, is is possible to automatically synchronize a program sufficiently to avoid non-determinism while also avoiding-deadlock? Is it likely that determinizing algorithms may not be robust against program evolution? The programmer may slightly extend the program and be surprised that that the determinizer now picked an execution with a different behavior, one that is still correct but different from the one selected by the determinizer in the previous version of the program.

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