Formal Specification of the OpenMP Memory Model

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OpenMP [1] is an important API for shared memory programming, combining shared memory's potential for performance with a simple programming interface. Unfortunately, OpenMP lacks a critical tool for demonstrating whether programs are correct: a formal memory model. Instead, the current official definition of the OpenMP memory model (the OpenMP 2.5 specification [1]) is in terms of informal prose. As a result, it is impossible to verify OpenMP applications formally since the prose does not provide a formal consistency model that precisely describes how reads and writes on different threads interact. This paper focuses on the formal verification of OpenMP programs ... continued below

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PDF-file: 17 pages; size: 0.3 Mbytes

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Bronevetsky, G & de Supinski, B R May 17, 2006.

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OpenMP [1] is an important API for shared memory programming, combining shared memory's potential for performance with a simple programming interface. Unfortunately, OpenMP lacks a critical tool for demonstrating whether programs are correct: a formal memory model. Instead, the current official definition of the OpenMP memory model (the OpenMP 2.5 specification [1]) is in terms of informal prose. As a result, it is impossible to verify OpenMP applications formally since the prose does not provide a formal consistency model that precisely describes how reads and writes on different threads interact. This paper focuses on the formal verification of OpenMP programs through a proposed formal memory model that is derived from the existing prose model [1]. Our formalization provides a two-step process to verify whether an observed OpenMP execution is conformant. In addition to this formalization, our contributions include a discussion of ambiguities in the current prose-based memory model description. Although our formal model may not capture the current informal memory model perfectly, in part due to these ambiguities, our model reflects our understanding of the informal model's intent. We conclude with several examples that may indicate areas of the OpenMP memory model that need further refinement however it is specified. Our goal is to motivate the OpenMP community to adopt those refinements eventually, ideally through a formal model, in later OpenMP specifications.

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PDF-file: 17 pages; size: 0.3 Mbytes

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  • Presented at: Second International Workshop on OpenMP (IWOMP 2006), Reims, France, Jun 12 - Jun 15, 2006

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  • Report No.: UCRL-CONF-221452
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 899396
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc888265

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  • May 17, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 6:01 p.m.

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Bronevetsky, G & de Supinski, B R. Formal Specification of the OpenMP Memory Model, article, May 17, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc888265/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.