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Andrei Marian Dan, Patrick Lam, Torsten Hoefler, Martin Vechev:

 Modeling and Analysis of Remote Memory Access Programming

(In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications, presented in Amsterdam, Netherlands, pages 129--144, ACM, ISBN: 978-1-4503-4444-9, Nov. 2016)
Outstanding Paper Award at OOPSLA'16 (4/52)


Recent advances in networking hardware have led to a new generation of Remote Memory Access (RMA) networks that enable processors from different machines to communicate directly, bypassing the operating system and leading to higher performance. To develop applications running on these networks, libraries and programming models that use RMA capabilities have been proposed. However, the memory models exported by these RMA libraries and languages are often loosely specified, poorly understood, and differ depending on the underlying network architecture and other factors. Hence, it is difficult to precisely reason about the semantics of RMA programs or how changes in the network architecture affect them. We address this problem with the following contributions: (i) a coreRMA language which serves as a common foundation, formalizing the essential characteristics of RMA programming; (ii) complete axiomatic semantics for that language; (iii) integration of our semantics with an existing constraint solver, enabling us to exhaustively generate core-RMA programs (litmus tests) up to a specified bound and check whether the tests satisfy their specification; and (iv) extensive validation of our semantics on real-world RMA systems. We generated and ran 7,441 litmus tests using each of the low-level RMA network APIs: DMAPP, VPI Verbs, and Portals 4. Our results confirmed that our model successfully captures behaviors exhibited by these networks. Moreover, we found RMA programs that behave inconsistently with existing documentation, confirmed by network experts. Our work provides an important step towards understanding existing RMA networks, thus influencing the design of future RMA interfaces and hardware.


download article:


  author={Andrei Marian Dan and Patrick Lam and Torsten Hoefler and Martin Vechev},
  title={{Modeling and Analysis of Remote Memory Access Programming}},
  booktitle={Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications},
  location={Amsterdam, Netherlands},

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