Scope consistency: A bridge between release consistency and entry consistency

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Systems that maintain coherence at large granularity, such as shared virtual memory systems, suffer from false sharing and extra communication. Relaxed memory consistency models have been used to alleviate these problems, but at a cost in programming complexity. Release Consistency (RC) and Lazy Release Consistency (LRC) are accepted to offer a reasonable tradeoff between performance and programming complexity. Entry Consistency (EC) offers a more relaxed consistency model, but it requires explicit association of shared data objects with synchronization variables. The programming burden of providing such associations can be substantial. This paper proposes a new consistency model for such systems, called Scope Consistency (ScC), which offers most of the performance advantages of the EC model without requiring explicit bindings between data and synchronization variables. Instead, ScC dynamically detects the associations implied by the programmer, using a programming interface similar to that of RC or LRC. We propose two ScC protocols: one that uses hardware support for fine-grained remote writes (automatic updates or AU) and the other, an all-software protocol. We compare the AU-based ScC protocol with Automatic Update Release Consistency (AURC), a modified LRC protocol that also takes advantage of automatic update support. AURC already improves performance substantially over an all-software LRC protocol. For three of the five applications we used, ScC further improves the speedups achieved by AURC by about 10%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-473
Number of pages23
JournalTheory of Computing Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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