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The Complexity of Obstruction-Free Implementations
Citation key AGHK-COFI-09
Author Attiya, Hagit and Guerraoui, Rachid and Hendler, Danny and Kuznetsov, Petr
Pages 1–33
Year 2009
ISSN 0004-5411
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1538902.1538908
Journal Journal of the ACM
Volume 56
Number 4
Month June
Abstract Obstruction-free implementations of concurrent objects are optimized for the common case where there is no step contention, and were recently advocated as a solution to the costs associated with synchronization without locks. In this article, we study this claim and this goes through precisely defining the notions of obstruction-freedom and step contention. We consider several classes of obstruction-free implementations, present corresponding generic object implementations, and prove lower bounds on their complexity. Viewed collectively, our results establish that the worst-case operation time complexity of obstruction-free implementations is high, even in the absence of step contention. We also show that lock-based implementations are not subject to some of the time-complexity lower bounds we present.
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