TMunit Documentation

  1. Installation
    1. Requirements
    2. Installation Steps
  2. Usage
    1. Basic Usage
    2. C code generation
    3. Directory Layout
    4. Executables (what do they do?)
    5. Examples
    6. Semantic Tests
  3. Release Notes
    1. Supported Platforms
    2. Supported STMs
    3. Remedies to possible problems
  4. Reference Papers

1. Installation

1.1 Requirements

Programs that needs to be installed in your distribution to be able to
run all features of TMunit:

  • bash
  • gcc and g++ (tested with version 4.2.1)
  • bison (tested with bison 2.3)
  • flex (tested with flex 2.5.33)
  • perl
  • gawk (optionally also awk [*not required by default*] if you would use scripts in test and semantic_test_suite directories)
  • sed (version supporting the -i option)
  • indent (for C code generation)
  • "libatomic ops" library freely available from:
  • At least one of the supported STMs
    (See Section 3.2 for download websites of STMs)

1.2 Installation Steps

  1. Install one of the supported STMs. Supported STMs and their download websites can be found in Section 3.2. Rename the libraries you generate for tinySTM as follows (in the lib directory):
    For Architecture Library Name
    TINY_ETL 64-bit libstm_ETL_64b.a
    TINY_ETL 32-bit libstm_ETL_32b.a
    TINY_CTL 64-bit libstm_CTL_64b.a
    TINY_CTL 32-bit libstm_CTL_32b.a
    TINY_WT 64-bit libstm_WT_64b.a
    TINY_WT 32-bit libstm_WT_32b.a

    Hint:To compile tinySTM with with one of the versions TINY_ETL (Encounter Time Locking version), TINY_CTL (Commit Time Locking version) or TINY_WT (Write Through version) use:

    For Makefile line to use

  2. Enter in the directory where you extracted the tarball. This
    directory will be called $TMUNIT_HOME hereafter.
  3. Edit the path variables in "environment.include" file (in
    $TMUNIT_HOME) to point to the locations of the following (all
    variables need not be set, see the notes following the list):

    LIBAO_HOME (path to 64-bit libatomic ops lib
    LIBAO_32b_HOME (path to 32-bit libatomic ops lib
    TINY_STM_0_9_5_HOME (path to tinySTM home)
    TL2_HOME (path to TL2 home)
    RSTM_HOME (path to $RSTM_HOME/stm
    here we assume $RSTM_HOME is the
    home dir for RSTM)
    SWISS_TM_HOME (path to SwissTM home)
    WSTM_HOME (path to $WSTM_HOME/libstm
    here we assume $WSTM_HOME is the
    home dir for WSTM)

    All the paths should be absolute paths.

    Note that all the paths for all STMs need not be set, however it
    is obligatory to set LIBAO_HOME path (also LIBAO_32b_HOME path
    for 32-bit compilations) and at least the path to one of the
    supported STMs. If not the compilation of TMunit will not be

    By default "tmunit" executable will not run anywhere but under
    $TMUNIT_HOME directory. If you would like to run "tmunit"
    executable anywhere out of $TMUNIT_HOME directory then also set


    variable to the absolute path $TMUNIT_HOME.

  4. Type

    make clean

  5. Type one of the following according to the STM you would use
    • make (to compile with tinySTM Encounter Time Locking (ETL) version)
    • make STM=TINY_ETL (to compile with tinySTM Encounter Time Locking (ETL) version)
    • make STM=TINY_CTL (to compile with tinySTM Commit Time Locking (CTL) version)
    • make STM=TINY_WT (to compile with tinySTM Write Through (WT) version)
    • make STM=TL2 (to compile with TL2)
    • make STM=RSTM (to compile with RSTM)
    • make STM=SWISS_TM (to compile with SwissTM)
    • make STM=WSTM (to compile with RSTM)

    TMunit should be ready to use (except that one should write an
    input configuration file which TMunit should process. See
    Section 2.5 of this file for example input configuration files).

  6. If you would like to switch from one STM to the other while
    using TMunit, first type

    make clean

    then apply step 5 to compile TMunit on top of the STM you would
    like to use.

2. Usage

2.1 Basic Usage

Once the installation is complete the user can type

./tmunit -h

to get help on tmunit. To try a simple example, the user can try to
run the following example by typing:

./tmunit -v trace test/listings_in_paper/basic_workload/basic_workload.cfg

The "basic_workload.cfg" file is the input configuration file that
should be given to TMunit (in case of syntax or semantic errors tmunit
would try to help you find out the problem by printing a message and
pointing out the possible location of the error on which the error was
found out). When executed you should see the list of simulation
parameters used, followed by a trace of transactional accesses. The
notation and format of traces is as follows:

Each line of the trace corresponds to a transactional action
of a transaction. The lines are prefixed with the name of the
transaction in the [ThreadName:TransactionName] format (names
come from the definitions in the configuration file). This
is followed by the transactional operation that is executed.
The possible transactional operation outputs are as follows:

  • S
    Start/restart of a transaction.
  • R(Var)
    The beginning of an TM READ on variable 'Var'.
  • R(Var,Val)
    The end of an TM READ on variable 'Var'. The value
    returned by the TM READ appears on the 'Val' field.
  • W(Var)
    The beginning of an TM WRITE on variable 'Var'.
  • W(Var,Val)
    The end of an TM WRITE on variable 'Var'. The value
    stored by the TM WRITE appears on the 'Val' field.
  • Try C
    The beginning of a TM COMMIT operation.
  • C
    The end of a TM COMMIT operation.

2.2 C code generation

To generate a C code with tmunit, one should perform the following

  1. Enter in $TMUNIT_HOME directory (see Section 1.2 for $TMUNIT_HOME
  2. Type
    ./tmunit -g Input/configuration/file/with/its/path
    (e.g., ./tmunit -g test/listings_in_paper/basic_workload/basic_workload.cfg)

    This will generate the C code under the "c_output" directory.

  3. Type

    cd c_output
  4. Compile the C code with one of the following (according to which
    STM you would like to use):
    • make (to compile with tinySTM Encounter Time Locking (ETL) version)
    • make STM=TINY_ETL (to compile with tinySTM Encounter Time Locking (ETL) version)
    • make STM=TINY_CTL (to compile with tinySTM Commit Time Locking (CTL) version)
    • make STM=TINY_WT (to compile with tinySTM Write Through (WT) version)
    • make STM=TL2 (to compile with TL2)
    • make STM=RSTM (to compile with RSTM)
    • make STM=SWISS_TM (to compile with SwissTM)
    • Compilation with WSTM is not yet supported, this
      requires adaptation of assembly code on the CAS operation
      of WSTM for our platforms. The issue is not yet resolved

    (if you are trying out the example in point 2 also include
    TRACE=ENABLE parameter to the make command)

    This will generate the executable "benchrun" and the script
    "t_benchrun". The usage of the executables can be consulted by

    ./benchrun -h or
    ./t_benchrun -h

    By default tracing is disabled (for performance reasons) so if you
    would like to enable tracing with the generated C code also
    include TRACE=ENABLE parameter in the make command, e.g., type


    to compile the code with tinySTM ETL version and tracing enabled.
    However compilation with TRACE=ENABLE will not automatically make
    the trace appear during execution. The user should explicitly ask
    for trace output using the -v option of "benchrun" ("t_benchrun"
    by default runs the executable by asking for tracing output)

    If you would like to learn more about the executables of tmunit
    refer to Section 2.4.

2.3 Directory Layout

Files containing documentation


Files related to installation/compilation


Directories containing examples and tests


Directories reserved for C code output (do not delete those or your C
code generation will fail!


Directories containing Tmunit source code:


2.4 Executables (what do they do?)

The list of major executables appearing in TMunit distribution are:

  • tmunit
  • benchrun
  • t_benchrun
  • perform_test

In general the usage of each executable can be obtained by typing the
executable name followed by a -h option (e.g. ./tmunit -h).

  • tmunit

    This is the main program which executes a schedule or performs a
    simulation for the scenario described in the input configuration
    file given as a parameter (the interpreted automaton). This is
    also the program which would generate C code corresponding to the
    input configuration file (which is done using -g parameter of
    tmunit). When a C code is generated the output is written under
    "c_output" directory under $TMUNIT_HOME (see Section 1.2 for
    $TMUNIT_HOME directory).

  • The usage of the executable can be consulted by typing

    ./tmunit -h

  • benchrun

    This is the executable that performs simulations using the
    generated C code (generated automaton). This executable is however
    not capable of executing schedules. The executable is produced by
    typing something similar to one of the following under "c_output"
    directory (the "c_output" directory content is generated by a prior
    execution of tmunit with the -g option)

    • make (to compile with tinySTM Encounter Time Locking version)
    • make STM=TL2 (to compile with TL2)
    • make STM=TL2 TRACE=ENABLE (to compile with TL2 and with
      tracing support

    See the full list of STMs that can be compiled in Section 2.2. The usage of
    the executable can be consulted by typing

    ./benchrun -h

  • t_benchrun

    This is a script which uses "benchrun" executable to execute
    simulations. The script is useful in runs where a simulation trace
    is to be generated. "benchrun" executable generates a trace where
    raw addresses of transactional read and write operations appear
    (such as Read of address 0xc8000000). t_benchrun is a wrapper that
    post processes the output of "benchrun" to replace the raw
    addresses with the variables/arrays appearing on the input
    configuration file which was used in generating "benchrun".

    The usage of the executable can be consulted by typing

    ./t_benchrun -h

  • perform_test

    This is a script to execute and report results (pass/fail) of
    semantic tests found in the semantic_test_suite directory (the
    script itself is in semantic_test_suite directory). It is a
    script that helps the user to execute a selected semantic test (or
    all semantic tests at once) on top of different STMs without going
    into the details of compilation and execution parameters. The
    script allows the user to choose which test to execute as well as
    which STMs to use for the execution. The STMs that are supported
    by the script are:

    TINY_ETL (tinySTM Encounter Time Locking (ETL) version)
    TINY_CTL (tinySTM Commit Time Locking (CTL) version)
    TINY_WT (tinySTM Write Through (WT) version)
    TL2 (TL2)
    SWISS_TM (SwissTM)

    (The list of supported STMs are hard-coded in the line 15 of the
    script, it can be modified according to the STMs installed in
    your configuration)

    The usage of the executable can be consulted by typing

    ./perform_test -h

2.5 Examples

In theory, all the tests appearing in the "tests" directory are
examples on how tmunit is to be used. In practice, the examples of
interest are under "test/listings_in_paper" directory (under
$TMUNIT_HOME [see Section 1.2 for $TMUNIT_HOME directory]). This
directory contains the


directories, each of which are standalone examples. Each directory
contains the following:

  • input configuration file with the .cfg extension. This file
    describes the scenario to be executed by tmunit (the scenario
    can be a benchmark as in "intset" directory or a semantic test
    as in "dirty_read" directory).
  • a file with .trg extension which shows how tmunit should be
    invoked under $TMUNIT_HOME (see Section 1.2 for $TMUNIT_HOME
    directory) to obtain the "reference.log" file
  • "reference.log" file which shows the output that should be
    obtained when .trg file is executed (expect some messages given
    due to compilation in test_mode)

Some directories my contain also a "generate_c" subdirectory in which
again similar .cfg and .trg files are found. The .trg file inside the
"generate_c" subdirectory shows the command line to run under
$TMUNIT_HOME (see Section 1.2 for $TMUNIT_HOME directory) to generate
the C code corresponding to the .cfg file. A readily generated C code
output by executing the .trg is given in "reference_c_output"
directories. If you would like to execute the C code in a
reference_c_output directory, we would suggest you copy the directory
under $TMUNIT_HOME directory and work on that local copy to ensure
that tests always pass.

2.6 Semantic Tests

Input examples for semantic tests are found in "semantic_test_suite"
directory under $TMUNIT_HOME (see Section 1.2 for $TMUNIT_HOME
directory). The semantic tests found in the directory are currently
the ones that has been published in [1] (see Section 4). The user can
execute all the semantic tests either by typing

make semtests

under $TMUNIT_HOME (see Section 1.2 for $TMUNIT_HOME directory) or by


under $TMUNIT_HOME/semantic_test_suite directory.

Each subdirectory of the "semantic_test_suite" directory correspond to
one of the semantic tests that appear in [1]. The names of tests
mostly match with the names in the paper. The configuration files of
each test is found in the "input.cfg" file under the subdirectory
representing the test. You can run a test either by executing it
yourself using TMunit or by passing through the "perform_test" script
(see Section 2.4- "bullet perform_test" for the script).

- Execution using TMunit:

To run "false_sharing_test", type the following under $TMUNIT_HOME:

./tmunit -S S semantic_test_suite/false_sharing_test/input.cfg

The output of the above command line will be different according to
which STM was used to compile TMunit (see Section 1.2 - Step 5 to
see how to compile TMunit with different STMs).

- Execution using perform_test:

To run "false_sharing_test", type the following under

./perform_test -t false_sharing_test

This will execute the "false_sharing_test" for all the supported
STMs and report you whether the test passes or fails for each case
(if you have only part of the supported STMs you can modify the
SupportedSTMList in line 15 of "perform_test" script to adapt the
supported STM script according to your configuration).

If you would like to run the "false_sharing_test" test with a
specific STM (e.g., TL2) type:

./perform_test -t false_sharing_test -STM TL2

This will execute the test only for TL2 and report the result. Type

./perform_test -h

for more detailed usage of "perform_test" script.

3. Release Notes

3.1 Supported Platforms

Platform where TMunit was developed and tested:

OS Linux
Linux kernel 2.6.22
Linux distribution OpenSuse 0.3
Machine Arch x86_64 (Intel Core 2 - 2 cores)
gcc/g++ version 4.2.1

Other platforms where TMunit was tested:

OS Linux
Linux kernel 2.6.22
Linux distribution OpenSuse 10.3
Machine Arch x86_64 (4*AMD opteron Quad Core - 16 cores)
gcc/g++ version 4.2.1

OS Linux
Linux kernel 2.6.25
Linux distribution Ubuntu 8.10
Machine Arch x86_64 (Intel Xeon - 8 cores)
gcc/g++ version 4.3.2 (Ubuntu 4.3.2-1ubuntu11)

Note: TMunit compilation may not be straightforward on MacOs since
TMunit uses thread local storage. We will try to solve this
problem in the near future.

3.2 Supported STMs

The currently supported STMs are the following

3.3 Remedies to possible problems

  1. If you have compilation problems
    • Try checking whether your environment.include file correctly
      points to the STM distributions and "libatomic ops" library
    • Try a

      make clean

      and retry your compilation

  2. If tmunit prints out a syntax/semantic error about your input
    config file where the error indicator pointer points to a
    meaningless location, the error maybe that
    • tmunit could not open the config file either because the file
      does not exist or the path to the config file is wrong
    • tmunit could not process the config file because the config file
      is empty
    • The last line of the config file is not terminated with a
      newline character and tmunit found an error on that last line
    • The line on which tmunit found an error is missing a ";"
      termination for the line
  3. The order of the sections in a configuration file should be
    respected. The order should be as follows:


    However, it is not necessary to have all the sections in a config
    file (see next point for more information)

  4. A configuration file should have at least a "Transactions" section
    and a "Threads" or a "Schedules" section. A segmentation fault can
    occur if the user desires to execute a schedule for an input file
    that does not define a schedule.

    Similarly if the user desires to execute a simulation defined in
    the configuration file but no threads are defined (if a schedule
    execution is not asked explicitly tmunit will try to execute the
    threads defined in Threads section) a segmentation fault can occur.

  5. Beware that nested condition and loop support is not yet full. So
    the following nestings can work or not according to the example you
    have (to be sure execute your example with a trace so that you see
    what your configuration is executing):
    • loop in loop
    • condition in condition
    • Loop in condition
    • Condition in loop
  6. If you are not sure about how the input configuration file you have
    written would behave, do the following before running tmunit with
    your configuration file:
    • In the properties section insert the line


      this would execute each thread separately one after the other
      (thus parallel execution would be cancelled, just for the sake
      of understanding how each thread behaves)

    • Run tmunit such that it generates a transactional trace
      (i.e., run your config file with a command like
      ./tmunit -v trace CONFIG_FILE_NAME

4. Reference Papers

[1] Derin Harmanci, Pascal Felber, Vincent Gramoli, and Christof Fetzer, TMunit: Testing Software Transactional Memories , 4th ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on Transactional Computing (TRANSACT'09). February 2009