Shared-memory concurrent data structures are pervasive. They are used explicitly in server software such as in-memory databases and key-value stores. Even when software is built with a programing model based around shared-nothing computation or side-effect-free functional programming, we find concurrent data structures in the heart of the implementation in the operating system, the language runtime system, or the garbage collector.
Designing these high-performance concurrent data structures has long been recognized as a difficult task. Not only is it challenging to develop an implementation that is correct, but the underlying hardware is a moving target; techniques that work well on one system may work poorly on another, and techniques that work on today's systems may work poorly on tomorrow's.
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