[concurrency-interest] Realistic expectations of AtomicLongFieldUpdater

David Holmes davidcholmes at aapt.net.au
Mon Sep 18 16:53:16 EDT 2017

The issue is with atomicity not visibility. The volatile semantics of the field ensure visibility provided the Foo instance is not published during construction. Your example doesn’t show how the Foo instance is published. (And your updater reference would normally be a static).


The atomicity caveat is just to account for potential interactions between raw updates and updates via the field updater. Though to be honest I’m having trouble recalling exactly what the issue is.




From: Concurrency-interest [mailto:concurrency-interest-bounces at cs.oswego.edu] On Behalf Of Carl Mastrangelo
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 3:57 AM
To: concurrency-interest at cs.oswego.edu
Subject: [concurrency-interest] Realistic expectations of AtomicLongFieldUpdater


Hi concurrency-interest,


The classes AtomicLongFieldUpdater, AtomicReferenceFieldUpdater, and AtomicIntegerFieldUpdater all have the same ominous comment at the top:


 * <p>Note that the guarantees of the {@code compareAndSet}

 * method in this class are weaker than in other atomic classes.

 * Because this class cannot ensure that all uses of the field

 * are appropriate for purposes of atomic access, it can

 * guarantee atomicity only with respect to other invocations of

 * {@code compareAndSet} and {@code set} on the same updater.



I am not sure how the Java memory model describes what happens to field updaters, especially in regards to class initialization.  For example consider the following:



class Foo {

  AtomicIntegerFieldUpdater<Foo> updater = AtomicIntegerFieldUpdater.newUpdater(Foo.class, "field");

  private volatile int field = 1;


  public void bar() {

    updater.compareAndSet(this, 1, 2);




If two threads try to access field:


T1: final Foo f = new Foo();

T2: f.bar();


Is is guaranteed that subsequent reads of field will be 2?   From the docs it implies that it may fail, since field was not initialized using updater.set().  It my reading correct?



After talking to Martin Buccholz, it seems like even reads should be done using the updater, but doesn't this violate the semantics of volatile?

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