Professor Maurice Herlihy was awarded a $75,000 Microsoft gift for research in Software Transactional Memory. Herlihy will use the gift to continue development of SXM, a C# software transactional memory package he developed while on sabbatical at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Transactional memory is an alternative computational model in which threads synchronize by optimistic transactions, which promise to alleviate many of the problems associated with locking. SXM currently supports atomic object factories that allow users their own run-time synchronization mechanisms. Herlihy plans to revisit this design to make it more accessible (users will define new factories in C# instead of MSIL), and add new features to support a range of recently-proposed STM architectures and algorithms.
Herlihy’s will use the new SXM2 platform and will release the source under license so that others may do the same.