Distributed Queue

A prominent remedy to multicore scalability issues in concurrent data structure implementations is to relax the sequential specification of the data structure. We present distributed queues (DQ), a new family of relaxed concurrent queue implementations. DQs implement relaxed queues with linearizable emptiness check and either configurable or bounded out-of-order behavior or pool behavior. Our experiments show that DQs outperform and outscale in micro- and macrobenchmarks all strict and relaxed queue as well as pool implementations that we considered.

To the right you can see the performance and scalability of the DQs in a high-contention producer-consumer benchmark on a 40-core (2 hyperthreads per core) Intel Xeon server machine in comparison with a lock-based queue (LB), a Michael-Scott queue (MS), a flat-combining queue (FC), a wait-free queue (WF), a random-dequeue queue (RD), a segment queue (SQ), a bounded-size k-FIFO queue (BS k-FIFO), an unbounded-size k-FIFO queue (US k-FIFO), an elimination-diffraction pool (ED), a lock-free linearizable pool (BAG), and a synchronous rendezvousing pool (RP). More information about the DQs is available in our CF13 paper. The DQ implementations are available as part of the Scal project.

Performance of the DQs in a high-contention producer-consumer benchmark
Illustration of a distributed queue

DQ Design

A DQ consists of multiple FIFO queues, called partial queues, and a load balancer. Upon an enqueue or dequeue operation one out of the p partial queues is selected for performing the actual operation without any further coordination with the other p−1 partial queues. Selection is done by the load balancer.

In the experiment above we use three types of load balancers: The d-RA load balancer randomly selects d ≥ 1 queues out of the p partial queues and then returns (the index of) the queue with the least elements among the d queues when called by an enqueue operation. Symmetrically, the load balancer returns the queue with the most elements when called by a dequeue operation. The b-RR load balancer maintains b ≥ 1 pairs of shared round-robin counters that are associated with threads such that each thread is permanently assigned to exactly one pair and all pairs have approximately the same number of threads assigned. The key invariant maintained by the LRU DQ is that the number of elements enqueued or dequeued into a partial queue differs by at most one.