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Ownership Types for Safe Programming: Preventing Data Races and Deadlocks

By Chandrasekhar Boyapati, Robert Lee and Martin Rinard


This paper presents a new static type system for multithreaded programs; well-typed programs in our system are guaranteed to be free of data races and deadlocks. Our type system allows programmers to partition the locks into a fixed number of equivalence classes and specify a partial order among the equivalence classes. The type checker then statically verifies that whenever a thread holds more than one lock, the thread acquires the locks in the descending order. Our system also allows programmers to use recursive tree-based data structures to describe the partial order. For example, programmers can specify that nodes in a tree must be locked in the \emph{tree order}. Our system allows mutations to the data structure that change the partial order at runtime. The type checker statically verifies that the mutations do not introduce cycles in the partial order, and that the changing of the partial order does not lead to deadlocks. We do not know of any other sound static system for preventing deadlocks that allows changes to the partial order at runtime. Our system uses a variant of ownership types to prevent data races and deadlocks. Ownership types provide a statically enforceable way of specifying object encapsulation. Ownership types are useful for preventing data races and deadlocks because the lock that protects an object can also protect its encapsulated objects. This paper describes how to use our type system to statically enforce object encapsulation as well as prevent data races and deadlocks. The paper also contains a detailed discussion of different ownership type systems and the encapsulation guarantees they provide

Topics: Deadlocks, Ownership Types, Encapsulation
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
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