Advanced Topics in Concurrent Programming


Computer Science Seminar,  236832,  Spring 2021

Instructor: Erez Petrank, erez@cs, office: Taub 528. Phone: 829-4942.





Introduction (all talks in this section are taken from the Art of Multiprocessor Programming by Herlihy & Shavit available at the library):

  1. Introduction to Concurrency: hardware and software, see Appendix A and B of the book.
  2. "Spin locks and contention in practice", chapter 7 in the book.  Assigned to Adi Simhi. Presentation (Week 2.)
  3. "Monitors and Blocking Synchronization",  chapter 8 in the book. Assigned to Nadav Elias. Presentation (Week 2.)
  4. Properties of concurrent computation: correctness and progress, chapter 3 in the book. Assigned to Amit Ganz. (Week 4.) Presentation

Concurrent Algorithms (all talks in this section, except 7, 12, 14, and 15, are taken from the Art of Multiprocessor Programming by Herlihy & Shavit available at the library):

  1. Linked Lists: the Role of Locking, chapter 9. Assigned to Erez Petrank. Presentation (Week 3.)
  2. Concurrent Queues and the ABA Problem, chapter 10. Assigned to Yuval Lubarsky. (Week 4.) Presentation
  3. Wait-free Queues (paper). Assigned to Samy Zaitoun. (Week 5.) Presentation
  4. Concurrent Stacks and Elimination, chapter 11. Assigned to Oren Rozenberg. (Week 5.) Presentation
  5. Counting, Sorting, and Distributed Coordination, chapter 12. 
  6. Concurrent hashing and natural parallelism, chapter 13. Assigned to Alice Epstein. (Week 6.)
  7. Skiplists and Balanced Search, chapter 14. Assigned to Michael Mendelson Mintz. (Week 6.)
  8. "A Skiplist-Based Concurrent Priority Queue with Minimal Memory Contention", (paper). Assigned to Barak Belogolovsky. (Week 7.)
  9. Futures, Scheduling, and Work Distribution, chapter 16. Assigned to Shaked Elias-Zada. (Week 7.)
  10. Memroy management for lock-free data structures: hazard pointers (paper). Assigned to Erez Petrank. Presentation (Week 8.)
  11. Memory management for lock-free data structures: optimistic access (paper). Assigned to Erez Petrank. (Week 8.)
  12. Barriers, chapter 17. Assigned to Omer Aviram. (Week 9.)  


  1. Debugging tools: Microsoft's Chess (paper).Assigned to Sagi Levanon. (Week 9.)
  2. IBM’s synchronization coverage for testing (see paper). 
  3. A Randomized Scheduler for Bug Finding (see paper).
  4. Deterministic parallelism (see paper). Assigned to Almog Zur. (Week 10.)
  5. Record-Replay parallel executions (see paper

Systems Scalability:

  1. An Analysis of Linux Scalability to Many Cores. (see paper). Assigned to Idan Raz. (Week 10.)

Concurrent data structures on GPUs:

  1. Performance Evaluation of Concurrent Lock-free Data Structures on GPUs. (see paper). Assigned to Dan Kalifa. (Week 11.)
  2. Mega-KV: a case for GPUs to maximize the throughput of in-memory key-value stores. (see paper).

Concurrent data structures on non-volatile memory:

  1. A persistent lock-free queue for non-volatile memory. (see paper). Assigned to (guest lecturer) Michal Friedman. (Week 12.) Presentation
  2. Log-Free Concurrent Data Structures. (see paper).
  3. Efficient Lock-Free Durable Sets. (see paper). Assigned to Noa Schiller. (Week 12.)
  4. Persistent B+-Trees in Non-Volatile Main Memory. (see paper).
  5. The Inherent Cost of Remembering Consistently. (see paper).

Languages and Runtimes for Concurrent and Distributed Programming:

  1. Microsoft’s Orleans runtime (see paper). 
  2. IBM's X10 programming language. (See webpage for researchers.). 
  3. Google's Map-Reduce. See also this paper.
  4. The Cilk programming language and implementation (see paper).

Server architectures:

  1. Reliability: Amazon's Dynamo. Assigned to Ramy Fakhoury. (Week 11.)
  2. Facebook's (now Apache's) Cassandra: see this paper. Assigned to Shai Feldman. (Week 13.)
  3. Spanner: Google’s Globally-Distributed Database. Assigned to Tomer Voronov. (Week 13.)







Material Covered in the Seminar:

The day that every (new) computer employs parallel processing has arrived. But writing concurrent programs is notoriously difficult and a large amount of traditional sequential code exists. A major challenge to the industry and (applied) research today is to find ways to make the programming for concurrent systems easier and accessible for all programmers. We will present concurrency programming setting, discuss several concurrent data structures, and present server architecture. Another major challenge is the debugging and more generally the reliability of concurrent programs. Some bugs only appear infrequently under specific scheduling scenarios. What are the right tools to discover such bugs and fix them? What are the tools to verify that a code is correct? More challenges relate to progress guarantees, specifically, lock-freedom. In this seminar, we will discuss some of these questions and check which answers exist today.



Each student will prepare a talk on one of the topics above.   


Course Registration:

Registration is manual and we will attempt to match the registered students with the seminar topics. Please send an email to the lecturer (erez@cs) with your name, student id, grades transcript (תדפיס ציונים), and relevant experience in industry or lab projects.

The final list of registered students will be determined after the first lecture in the beginning of the spring semester.