Efficient synchronization of multiprocessors with shared memory

Clyde P. Kruskal, Larry Rudolph, Marc Snir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new formalism is given for read-modify-write (RMW) synchronization operations. This formalism is used to extend the memory reference combining mechanism introduced in the NYU Ultracomputer, to arbitrary RMW operations. A formal correctness proof of this combining mechanism is given. General requirements for the practicality of combining are discussed. Combining is shown to be practical for many useful memory access operations. This includes memory updates of the form mem_val := mem_val op val, where op need not be associative, and a variety of synchronization primitives. The computation involved is shown to be closely related to parallel prefix evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-601
Number of pages23
JournalACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems (TOPLAS)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Architecture correctness
  • fetch-and-add
  • interconnection network
  • memory reference combining
  • parallel prefix
  • parallel processing
  • read-modify-write (RMW)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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