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Frightening Small Children and Disconcerting Grown-ups: Concurrency in the Linux Kernel

Alglave, J; Maranget, L; McKenney, PE; Parri, A; Stern, A; (2018) Frightening Small Children and Disconcerting Grown-ups: Concurrency in the Linux Kernel. In: ASPLOS '18 Proceedings of the Twenty-Third International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems. (pp. pp. 405-418). ACM: Williamsburg, VA, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Concurrency in the Linux kernel can be a contentious topic. The Linux kernel mailing list features numerous discussions related to consistency models, including those of the more than 30 CPU architectures supported by the kernel and that of the kernel itself. How are Linux programs supposed to behave? Do they behave correctly on exotic hardware? A formal model can help address such questions. Better yet, an executable model allows programmers to experiment with the model to develop their intuition. Thus we offer a model written in the cat language, making it not only formal, but also executable by the herd simulator. We tested our model against hardware and refined it in consultation with maintainers. Finally, we formalised the fundamental law of the Read-Copy-Update synchronisation mechanism, and proved that one of its implementations satisfies this law.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Frightening Small Children and Disconcerting Grown-ups: Concurrency in the Linux Kernel
Event: ASPLOS '18 Twenty-Third International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Dates: 24 - 28 March 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1-4503-4911-6
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/3173162.3177156
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1145/3173162.3177156
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070727
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