March 13, 2007

Beautiful Concurrency

Simon Peyton-Jones and Simon Marlow’s work on software transactional memory offers a very interesting alternative to traditional lock-based or lock-free approaches to implementing concurrent programs. Their
paper “Composable Memory Transactions” is a fascinating read: it isn’t often that you see research that is simultaneously so practical and so beautiful.

I had read, and been impressed by, the STM paper a year or so ago. So I was happy to notice recently that:

  1. O’Reilly is publishing a book of essays by prominent software developers called Beautiful Code — about, well, beautiful code. That should almost certainly be worth reading:
  2. Simon PJ’s chapter in that book, “Beautiful Concurrency”, is available online, and offers a more introductory-level treatment of the ideas behind STM.

Hat tip: Tim Bray, LtU

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