Grace: It is now safe to turn on your multicores.

Grace – Safe Multithreaded Programming for C/C++

The shift from single to multiple core architectures means that programmers must write concurrent, multithreaded programs in order to increase application performance. Unfortunately, multithreaded applications are susceptible to numerous errors, including deadlocks, race conditions, atomicity violations, and order violations. These errors are notoriously difficult for programmers to debug.

Grace is a software-only runtime system that eliminates concurrency errors for a class of multithreaded programs: those based on fork-join parallelism. By turning threads into processes, leveraging virtual memory protection, and imposing a sequential commit protocol, Grace provides programmers with the appearance of deterministic, sequential execution, while taking advantage of available processing cores to run code concurrently and efficiently. Experimental results demonstrate Grace’s effectiveness: with modest code changes across a suite of computationally-intensive benchmarks (1—16 lines), Grace can achieve high scalability and performance while preventing concurrency errors.

Grace can be downloaded from its GitHub repository.

Grace: Safe Multithreaded Programming for C/C++
, Emery D. Berger, Ting Yang, Tongping Liu, and Gene Novark. OOPSLA 2009.

Related projects: Dthreads, Sheriff

Talk on Grace at Microsoft Research. 

This material is based upon work supported by Intel, Microsoft Research, and the National Science Foundation under CAREER Award CNS-0347339 and CNS-0615211. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.