Published in PC Hardware

Haswell will have transactional memory

by on09 February 2012

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Chipzilla has announced that when its new Haswell chip comes out next year it will have support for something called transactional memory.

Transactional memory makes the creation of reliable multithreaded programs easier by using a system where complex operations can be performed at the same time and in isolation from each other. The system has been seen in database management but making a chip work using it is new.

Intel calls it Transactional Synchronisation Extensions(TSX).  There is the Hardware Lock Elision (HLE) allows easy conversion of lock-based programs into transactional programs in a way that's backwards compatible with current processors. Then there is the Restricted Transactional Memory (RTM) is a more complete transactional memory implementation.

It will then be possible to write programs and operating systems that will use transactions on Haswell, and hence achieve greater concurrency and have fewer threads waiting around for locks, but will still run correctly on current processors. In turn, this makes adoption of the feature much simpler and safer.

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