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Communications of the ACM


Scalability Techniques For Practical Synchronization Primitives

Scalability Techniques for Practical Synchronization Primitives, illustration

Credit: Kasza

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In an ideal world, applications are expected to scale automatically when executed on increasingly larger systems. In practice, however, not only does this scaling not occur, but also it is common to see performance actually worsen on those larger-scale systems.

While performance and scalability can be ambiguous terms, they becomes less so when problems present themselves at the lower end of the software stack. This is simply because the number of factors to consider when evaluating a performance problem decreases. As such, concurrent multithreaded programs such as operating-system kernels, hypervisors, and database engines can pay a high price when misusing hardware resources.


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