chickadee » hopefully


Simple composable transactional memory.

The API is similar to Clojure and STMX. However (currently) limited, focused on a low level, procedural interface.


This egg provides two modules: hopefully and hopefully-current.

Module hopefully contains bindings recommended to use. These transactions are roughly as fast as normal locking. (Depending more on compiler optimizations and usage scenarios.)

Module hopefully-current adds support for the concept of an implicit current transaction, which is nice but and order of magnitude more expensive at runtime.


define-a-record and define-ac-record both define a TYPE-FIELD accessor, though with incompatible semantics. While the AC-variant is changes meaning depending on whether or not there is a current-transaction on the thread. The A-variant always returns the external value. The former is OK, since the whole purpose is to be downward compatible to define-record-based code not aware of transactions. But once most of a code base is converted to use references, once only wants to replace define-ac-record with define-a-record. At that time those field readers should not suddenly change meaning anymore. The old "global" accessors should become inaccessible. The "alway-return-global-value" accessors need to be renamed (and the renamed value defined by define-ac-record as well to aid the transition). Just how rename it? Append "@"?




Like define-record, defines procedures according to the following pattern.

make-TYPE FIELDS ...procedure
TYPE-FIELD-ref AREC TNXprocedure

Return a reference for use with CELL-REF (alias "@") and ALTER!.

Note: Try to use this accessor just once per object+field. Multiple calls (within a lightweight transaction) will produce independent references. (If these become inconsistent, the commit will fail nevertheless.) Only those references used to (set! (@ REF) val) will return the in-transaction value.


Return the FIELD value visible without transactions in effect.

TYPE-tag ARECprocedure

Purely for debugging. Mayb e removed. Return the internal version tag of the slot.

cell-ref REFprocedure

Retrieve the in-transaction value from the REFerence (and add it to the transactions dependencies).

@ REFprocedure

Alias to cell-ref. With generalized setter.

alter! REF valprocedure

Alter a REFerence (produced by the type-field-ref accessors to hold the new value val. This also adds the cell to the dependencies of the transaction associated with the REF.

call-with-transaction PROCprocedure
call-with-transaction/values PROCprocedure

Call PROC with one argument, a fresh (lightweight) transaction. PROC may be called multiple times in case of a conflict. (See hopefully-current for the difference to heavy transactions).

Returns whatever PROC returns. Use call-with-transaction for multiple value returns call-with-transaction/values returns all values.

Note: One should not pass the transaction argument around among threads or capture it. Most (if not all) resulting conditions should be handled. But it is no good idea.


This module introduces the concept of a default current-transaction and heavy transactions.

When a reference is added to a heavy transaction, the transactions dependencies are searched and if a reference to the same object+slot is found, it is returned.


Like define-a-record.

define-ac-record is provided for maximum compatibility with define-record. Just changing the record definition should make code aware of the current transaction.

make-TYPE FIELDS..procedure



Return a reference to the in-transaction value of field in ACREC for use with CELL-REF (alias "@") and ALTER!. See sibling definition in hopefully.


Return the value of field in ACREC. Returns the in-transaction value with respect to the current-transaction or the outside value if there is no current-transaction in the current-thread.

Note: this is roughly an order of magnitude slower than the corresponding accessor from define-a-record

TYPE-FIELD-set! ACREC valprocedure

Set the value of field to val. Changes the in-transaction value respect to the current-transaction or the outside value if there is no current-transaction in the current-thread.

Note: this is roughly an order of magnitude slower than the corresponding accessor from define-a-record

with-current-transaction THUNKprocedure

Establish a new current-transaction and call THUNK. After thunk completed, commit the current transaction. If that failes, THUNK is called again.

Returns whatever THUNK returns.


(define-a-record gbox v)
(define b1 (make-gbox 0))
(define b2 (make-gbox 1))

 (lambda (tnx)
   (let ((x (gbox-v-ref b1 tnx))
         (i (gbox-v-ref b2 tnx)))
     (let ((ni (@ i)))
       (alter! x (+ (@ x) ni))
       (alter! i (add1 ni))))))

See also tests/run.scm.

Compile time options

-D no-dirty-tagging : save some internal consitency checks -D debug: add additional consitency checks

About this egg


Latest version: hopefully from


Jörg F. Wittenberger

Version History

0.2.4: 2018-09-26 -- Ported to CHICKEN 5.

0.2.3: 2015-12-28 -- Modified tests/run.scm as it did work on some, but not all platforms.

0.2.2: 2015-12-21 -- Bugfix: use of ##sys#setislot with non-immediate objects. Some more tweaks.

0.2.1: 2015-12-19 -- Some tweaks.

0.2: 2015-12-18 -- Replacing chicken hash tables with llrb trees made ac-records about 4x faster.

0.1.1: 2015-12-18 -- Fix missing unquote.

0.1: 2015-12-16 -- Initial Release

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