On correctness of data structures under reads-write concurrency

Kfir Lev-Ari, Gregory Chockler, Idit Keidar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We study the correctness of shared data structures under reads-write concurrency. A popular approach to ensuring correctness of read-only operations in the presence of concurrent update, is read-set validation, which checks that all read variables have not changed since they were first read. In practice, this approach is often too conservative, which adversely affects performance. In this paper, we introduce a new framework for reasoning about correctness of data structures under reads-write concurrency, which replaces validation of the entire read-set with more general criteria. Namely, instead of verifying that all read shared variables still hold the values read from them, we verify abstract conditions over the shared variables, which we call base conditions. We show that reading values that satisfy some base condition at every point in time implies correctness of read-only operations executing in parallel with updates. Somewhat surprisingly, the resulting correctness guarantee is not equivalent to linearizability, and is instead captured through two new conditions: validity and regularity. Roughly speaking, the former requires that a read-only operation never reaches a state unreachable in a sequential execution; the latter generalizes Lamport’s notion of regularity for arbitrary data structures, and is weaker than linearizability. We further extend our framework to capture also linearizability. We illustrate how our framework can be applied for reasoning about correctness of a variety of implementations of data structures such as linked lists.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDistributed Computing - 28th International Symposium, DISC 2014, Proceedings
EditorsFabian Kuhn
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783662451731
StatePublished - 2014
Event28th International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2014 - Austin, United States
Duration: 12 Oct 201415 Oct 2014

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)


Conference28th International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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