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Title: Programmer-Centric Conditions for Itanium Memory Consistency
Authors: Higham, Lisa
Jackson, LillAnne
Kawash, Jalal
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 17-Aug-2006
Abstract: A programmer-centric model of memory consistency provides a sequence of instructions for each proces- sor, and requires that these sequences satisfy a collection of rules. It also requires that the notion of validity of a sequence is the natural one: the value read from a shared memory location must be one that was written by the most recent preceding instruction that stored to the same location. A programmer-centric model supports reasoning about programs at a non-operational level. It is not obscured by the implementation details of the underlying architecture. In this paper, we formulate a programmer-centric description of the memory consistency model provided by the Itanium architec- ture. However, our definition is not tight. We provide two very similar definitions, each motivated by slightly different implementations of load-acquire instructions, and prove that the specification of the Itanium memory model lies strictly between the two. We also entertain a handful of other natural notions of load-acquire rules and show that none exactly captures the Itanium specification. This leads us to question whether the specification of the Itanium memory order [5] is actually faithful to the Itanium architects' intentions.
Appears in Collections:Higham, Lisa
Kawash, Jalal

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