Go to main content

School of Computer Science Intranet

APT research areas

Discover our main research areas

A Study of a Transactional Parallel Routing Algorithm

Watson, Ian Kirkham, Chris Luján, Mikel


Transactional memory proposes an alternative synchronization primitive to traditional locks. Its promise is to simplify the software development of multi-threaded applications while at the same time delivering the performance of parallel applications using (complex and error prone) fine grain locking. This study reports our experience implementing a realistic application using transactional memory (TM). The application is Lee's routing algorithm and was selected for its abundance of parallelism but difficulty of expressing it with locks. Each route between a source and a destination point in a grid can be considered a unit of parallelism. Starting from this simple approach, we evaluate the exploitable parallelism of a transactional parallel implementation and explore how it can be adapted to deliver better performance. The adaptations do not introduce locks nor alter the essence of the implemented algorithm, but deliver up to 20 times more parallelism. The adaptations are derived from understanding the application itself and TM. The evaluation simulates an abstracted TM system and, thus, the results are independent of specific software or hardware TM implemented, and describe properties of the application.

PDF (942K) IEEE Copyright