Hierarchical memory management for parallel programs

Written by your-uid-here (your-name-here)
Published: 2016-09-17 (last updated: 2016-09-21)

A Fundamental Property

In purely functional programs, pointers always point up the heap hierarchy. We call this property disentanglement.

 Enforcing Disentanglement

  • A path P is a stack of heaps from a local expression up to the root.
  • Restrict heap accesses to heaps in the path.

If lookup never fails, then disentanglement holds.

If type safety for lambda_HP then disentanglement and memory safety hold as corollaries.



  • We use a work-stealing scheduler that allows tasks to fork new tasks onto a queue tand idle processors to steal tasks from other processor queues.


  • Creating heaps is expensive, so defer them to steals.

Superheap structure

  • Superheaps hold allocations from multiple directly descendant tasks.

  • A new superheaps is used for stolen tasks.

  • Memory is split into "levels".

  • A level is activated when the corresponding task is stolen by another processor.

  • Disentanglement holds between levels.

Local collection

  • Local collection is done bottom-up, level-by-level in a single superheap up to the lowest activated level.
  • Disentanglement ensures that a level will not have to be revisited once complete.

Evaluation Design

Does well except on a raytracer benchmark where it's beaten by its competitor manticore.


  • Closely couple memory manager to program.
  • Proved memory safety.
  • Implementation shows promising performance.

See paper for:

  • Proof of semantics preservation.
  • Discussion of practical design.
  • Analysis of benchmarks.

Future work:

  • Support for other forms of parallelism.
  • Support some form of mutable state.
  • Develop a more mature implementation that implements non-local collection in addition to local collection.