[concurrency-interest] Atomic double arrays

Doug Lea dl at cs.oswego.edu
Mon Oct 31 09:06:29 EST 2005

>>There is this throw-away line at the end of the package docs:
>>"You can also hold floats using Float.floatToIntBits and
>>Float.intBitstoFloat conversions, and doubles using
>>Double.doubleToLongBits and Double.longBitsToDouble conversions."
>>But that doesn't seem to help if you want to use the atomic add
>Right, these techniques allow you to hold float bits and do atomic get/set
>and CAS but not general arithmetic - because again there are no atomic
>instructions for doing that.
Although, if you absolutely cannot use a lock, you might (but probably 
use something like:

void addToAsDouble(AtomicLong a, double x) {
  for(;;) {
    long b = a.get();
    long u = Double.doubleBitsToLong(x + Double.longBitsToDouble(b));
    if (a.compareAndSet(b, u)) break;

This can fail to work in the desired way if you ever hit values that are 
== as doubles but have
different bit patterns as longs (like positive and negative zero).   
Conversely if the
value is ever NaN, the bits will be equal, but a double == comparison 
would return false,
which would make you expect that CAS would fail.
If you can live with these problems, you mught consider it. Although
the conversion functions are not always cheap, and so this is  not likely
to be faster than locking. But  it might be applicable if you must use 
CAS to
avoid deadlock scenarios. (In  which case, you might also need to put in 
to avoid livelock as well.)

In other words, the short answer is as David said: Use a lock.


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