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Nesting Transactions: Why and What Do We Need?

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Abstract: We are seeing many proposals supporting atomic transactions in programming languages, software libraries, and hardware, some with and some without support for nested transactions. I argue that (in the long run) it is important to support nesting, and to go beyond closed nesting to open nesting. I will argue as to the general form open nesting should take and why, namely that it is a property of classes (data types) not code regions, and must include support for programmed concurrency control as well as programmed rollback. I will also touch on the implications for software or hardware transactional memory in order to support open nesting of this kind.

Bio: Eliot Moss received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, culminating in a Ph.D. in computer science in 1981, on the subject of nested transactions. He served in the U.S. Army until 1985 when he joined the faculty of the Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he now holds the rank of Professor. He co-directs the Architecture and Language Implementation Laboratory. Dr. Moss`s research focuses on efficient implementation of modern and emerging language features on modern and future hardware. His dissertation developed the notion of nested transactions, and he is one of the originators of transactional memory.

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