Hiding relaxed memory consistency with a compiler

Jaejin Lee, David A. Padua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a compiler technique, which is based on Shasha and Snir's delay set analysis, to hide the underlying relaxed memory consistency model for an optimizing compiler for explicitly parallel programs. The compiler presents programmers with a sequentially consistent view of the underlying machine, irrespective of whether it follows a sequentially consistent model or a relaxed model. To hide the underlying relaxed memory consistency model and to guarantee sequential consistency, our algorithm inserts fence instructions by identifying memory-barrier nodes. We reduce the number of fence instructions by exploiting the ordering constraints of the underlying memory consistency model and the property of fence and synchronization operations. We introduce dominators with respect to a node in a control flow graph to identify memory-barrier nodes and show that minimizing the number of memory-barrier nodes is NP-hard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-833
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2001


  • Compiler
  • Dominator
  • Fence
  • NP-hard
  • Relaxed memory consistency
  • Sequential consistency
  • Synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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