Optimal Stateless Model Checking under The Release-Acquire Semantics

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We present a framework for the efficient application of stateless model checking (SMC) to concurrent programs running under the Release-Acquire (RA) fragment of the C/C++11 memory model. Our approach is based on exploring the possible program orders, which define the order in which instructions of a thread are executed, and read-from relations, which specify how reads obtain their values from writes. This is in contrast to previous approaches, which also explore the possible coherence orders, i.e., orderings between conflicting writes. Since unexpected test results such as program crashes or assertion violations depend only on the read-from relation, we avoid a potentially significant source of redundancy. Our framework is based on a novel technique for determining whether a particular read-from relation is feasible under the RA semantics. We define an SMC algorithm which is provably optimal in the sense that it explores each program order and read-from relation exactly once. This optimality result is strictly stronger than previous analogous optimality results, which also take coherence order into account. We have implemented our framework in the tool Tracer. Experiments show that Tracer can be significantly faster than state-of-the-art tools that can handle the RA semantics.