Subjective auxiliary state for coarse-grained concurrency
Proceedings of the 40th annual ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT symposium on Principles of programming languages - POPL '13
From Owicki-Gries' Resource Invariants and Jones' Rely/Guarantee to modern variants based on Separation Logic, axiomatic logics for concurrency require auxiliary state to explicitly relate the effect of all threads to the global invariant on the shared resource. Unfortunately, auxiliary state gives the proof of an individual thread access to the auxiliaries of all other threads. This makes proofs sensitive to the global context, which prevents local reasoning and compositionality. To tame this
... istorical difficulty of auxiliary state, we propose subjective auxiliary state, whereby each thread is verified using a self view (i.e., the thread's effect on the shared resource) and an other view (i.e., the collective effect of all the other threads). Subjectivity generalizes auxiliary state from stacks and heaps to user-chosen partial commutative monoids, which can eliminate the dependence on the global thread structure. We employ subjectivity to formulate Subjective Concurrent Separation Logic as a combination of subjective auxiliary state and Concurrent Separation Logic. The logic yields simple, compositional proofs of coarse-grained concurrent programs that use auxiliary state, and scales to support higher-order recursive procedures that can themselves fork new threads. We prove the soundness of the logic with a novel denotational semantics of action trees and a definition of safety using rely/guarantee transitions over a large subjective footprint. We have mechanized the denotational semantics, logic, metatheory, and a number of examples by a shallow embedding in Coq.