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Turning Krieger's MCS Lock into a Send Queue - or, a Case for Reusing Clever, Mostly Lock-Free Code in a Different Area

Marcus Völp, Institute for System Architecture, Operating System Group, Technische Universität Dresden
Benjamin Engel, Institute for System Architecture, Operating System Group, Technische Universität Dresden

Lock and wait free data structures can be constructed in a generic way. However, when complex operations are involved, their practical use is rather limited due to high performance overheads and, in some settings, difficult to fulfil object lifetimes.

While working on a synchronous IPC path for multi-core systems, we stumbled over a clever piece of code that did fulfill most of the properties that this path requires on its send queue. Unfortunately, this clever piece of code was by no means a data-structure publication of somehow related to send queues. Reporting on our experience in translating Krieger's MCS-style reader-writer lock into a send queue for cross-processor IPC, we would like to make the point that sometimes searching for clever code could end up in a valuable treasure chest even for largely different areas.