Runtime Support for Atomics¶
The following information is meant to describe the underlying runtime support for Chapel’s Atomic Variables.
For more information on Atomic Variables refer to the Atomic Variables section of the Chapel language specification.
For code examples using atomics, see the atomics.chpl primer.
Atomic variables are a built-in type that support predefined atomic
operations. Currently, Chapel supports processor-provided atomic
bool, as well as all sizes of
real for most backend compilers (see Setting up Your Environment for Chapel
for the current list of supported compilers.) Initial support for
network-provided atomic operations is also available. See the
platform-specific documentation to check if
network-based atomics are available for your platform
The choice of supported atomic variable types as well as the atomic
operations were strongly influenced by the C11 standard. A notable
exception is that Chapel supports atomic
fetch-and-add/fetch-and-subtract operations on
real types as well.
The specific implementation of atomics can be selected via the
CHPL_ATOMICS. Similar to the other Chapel
environment variables, an appropriate default is chosen when not
specified, and not all implementations are available for all
settings. Chapel currently supports three atomics implementations:
locks. This environment variable
also specifies the atomic implementation used by the Chapel runtime.
cstdlib provides the best performance. For information on how the
default is chosen see CHPL_ATOMICS.
Currently, unless using network atomics, all remote atomic operations will result in the calling task effectively migrating to the locale on which the atomic variable was allocated and performing the atomic operations locally.
If supported, the network atomics implementation can be selected via
the environment variable
CHPL_NETWORK_ATOMICS. If set, all
variables declared to be atomic will use the specified network’s
atomic operations. It is possible to override this default by using
the undocumented internal function
$CHPL_HOME/modules/internal/Atomics.chpl. Over time
we will add a more principled way for explicitly requesting
processor atomics, and this function may disappear.
For more information about the runtime implementation see
See the section titled “Memory Consistency Model” in the Chapel Language Specification for more information on memory orders and Chapel’s memory consistency model.