Wait-free programming for general purpose computations on graphics processors

December 11th, 2008


This paper aims at bridging the gap between the lack of synchronization mechanisms in recent graphics processor (GPU) architectures and the need of synchronization mechanisms in parallel applications. Based on the intrinsic features of recent GPU architectures, the authors construct strong synchronization objects like wait-free and t-resilient read-modify-write objects for a general model of recent GPU architectures without strong hardware synchronization primitives like test-and-set and compare-and-swap. Accesses to the new wait-free objects have time complexity O(N), where N is the number of concurrent processes. The wait-free objects have space complexity O(N^2), which is optimal. Our result demonstrates that it is possible to construct wait-free synchronization mechanisms for GPUs without the need of strong synchronization primitives in hardware and that wait-free programming is possible for GPUs.

(Wait-free programming for general purpose computations on graphics processors. Phuong Hoai Ha, Philippas Tsigas, and Otto J. Anshus. ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing, 2008.)