9. Tasks and SynchronizationΒΆ

Tasks and protected types are in SPARK 2014, but are subject to the restrictions of the Ravenscar profile (see Ada RM D.13) or the more permissive Extended Ravenscar profile (see http://docs.adacore.com/gnathie_ug-docs/html/gnathie_ug/gnathie_ug/the_predefined_profiles.html#the-extended-ravenscar-profiles ). In particular, task entry declarations are never in SPARK 2014.

Tasks may communicate with each other via synchronized objects; these include protected objects, suspension objects, atomic objects, constants, and “constant after elaboration” objects (described later).

Other objects are said to be unsynchronized and may only be referenced (directly or via intermediate calls) by a single task (including the environment task) or by the protected operations of a single protected object.

These rules statically eliminate the possibility of erroneous concurrent access to shared data (i.e., “data races”).

Tagged task types, tagged protected types, and the various forms of synchronized interface types are in SPARK 2014. Subject to the restrictions of (extended) Ravenscar, delay statements and protected procedure handlers are in SPARK 2014. The attributes Callable, Caller, Identity and Terminated are in SPARK 2014.

Static Semantics

  1. A type is said to yield synchronized objects if it is

    • a task type; or
    • a protected type; or
    • a synchronized interface type; or
    • an array type whose element type yields synchronized objects; or
    • a record type or type extension whose discriminants, if any, lack default values, which has at least one nondiscriminant component (possibly inherited), and all of whose nondiscriminant component types yield synchronized objects; or
    • a descendant of the type Ada.Synchronous_Task_Control.Suspension_Object.

    An object is said to be synchronized if it is

    • of a type which yields synchronized objects; or
    • an atomic object whose Async_Writers aspect is True; or
    • a variable which is “constant after elaboration” (see section Object Declarations); or
    • a constant.
[Synchronized objects may be referenced by multiple tasks without causing erroneous execution. The declaration of a synchronized stand-alone variable shall be a library-level declaration.]

Legality Rules

  1. Task and protected units are in SPARK 2014, but their use requires the (extended) Ravenscar profile. [In other words, a task or protected unit is not in SPARK 2014 if neither the Ravenscar profile nor the Extended Ravenscar profile apply to the enclosing compilation unit.] Similarly, the use of task or protected units also requires a Partition_Elaboration_Policy of Sequential. [This is to prevent data races during library unit elaboration.] Similarly, the use of any subprogram which references the predefined state abstraction Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State (described below) as a global requires the (extended) Ravenscar profile.
  1. If the declaration of a variable or a package which declares a state abstraction follows (within the same immediately enclosing declarative region) a single_task_declaration or a single_protected_declaration, then the Part_Of aspect of the variable or state abstraction may denote the task or protected unit. This indicates that the object or state abstraction is not part of the visible state or private state of its enclosing package. [Loosely speaking, flow analysis will treat the object as though it were declared within its “owner”. This can be useful if, for example, a protected object’s operations need to reference an object whose Address aspect is specified. The protected (as opposed to task) case corresponds to the previous notion of “virtual protected elements” in RavenSPARK.]

    An object or state abstraction which “belongs” to a task unit in this way is treated as a local object of the task (e.g., it cannot be named in a Global aspect specification occurring outside of the body of the task unit, just as an object declared immediately within the task body could not be). An object or state abstraction which “belongs” to a protected unit in this way is treated as a component of the (anonymous) protected type (e.g., it can never be named in any Global aspect specification, just as a protected component could not be). [There is one obscure exception to these rules, described in the next paragraph: a subprogram which is declared within the statement list of the body of the immediately enclosing package (this is possible via a block statement).]

    Any name denoting such an object or state abstraction shall occur within either

    • the body of the “owning” task or protected unit; or
    • the statement list of the object’s immediately enclosing package; or
    • an Initializes or Initial_Condition aspect specification for the object’s immediately enclosing package.

    [Roughly speaking, such an object can only be referenced from within the “owning” unit or during the execution of the statement list of its enclosing package].

    The notional equivalences described above break down in the case of package elaboration. The presence or absence of such a Part_Of aspect specification is ignored in determining the legality of an Initializes or Initial_Condition aspect specification. [Very roughly speaking, the restrictions implied by such a Part_Of aspect specification are not really “in effect” during library unit elaboration; or at least that’s one way to view it. For example such an object can be accessed from within the elaboration code of its immediately enclosing package. On the other hand, it could not be accessed from within a subprogram unless the subprogram is declared within either the task unit body in question (in the task case) or within the statement list of the body of the immediately enclosing package (in either the task or the protected case).]

  1. A protected type shall define full default initialization. A variable whose Part_Of aspect specifies a task unit or protected unit shall be of a type which defines full default initialization, or shall be declared with an initial value expression, or shall be imported.
  1. A type which does not yield synchronized objects shall not have a component type which yields synchronized objects. [Roughly speaking, no mixing of synchronized and unsynchronized component types.] In enforcing this rule, privacy of types is ignored (that is, any partial views of types are ignored and the corresponding full view is unconditionally used instead). [TBD: add an aspect to allow this property to be expressed explicitly when a partial view of a type is declared.]
  1. A constituent of a synchronized state abstraction shall be a synchronized object or a synchronized state abstraction.

Verification Rules

  1. A global_item occurring in a Global aspect specification of a task unit or of a protected operation shall not denote an object or state abstraction which is not synchronized.
  1. A global_item occurring in the Global aspect specification of the main subprogram shall not denote an object or state abstraction whose Part_Of aspect denotes a task or protected unit. [In other words, the environment task cannot reference objects which “belong” to other tasks.]
  1. A state abstraction whose Part_Of aspect specifies a task unit or protected unit shall be named in the Initializes aspect of its enclosing package.
  1. The precondition of a protected operation shall not reference a global variable, unless it is constant after elaboration.
  1. The Ravenscar profile includes “Max_Entry_Queue_Length => 1” and “Max_Protected_Entries => 1” restrictions. The Extended Ravenscar profile does not, but does allow use of pragma Max_Queue_Length to specify the maximum entry queue length for a particular entry. If the maximum queue length for some given entry of some given protected object is specified (via either mechanism) to have the value N, then at most N distinct tasks (including the environment task) shall ever call (directly or via intermediate calls) the given entry of the given protected object. [Roughly speaking, each such protected entry can be statically identified with a set of at most N “caller tasks” and no task outside that set shall call the entry. This rule is enforced via (potentially conservative) flow analysis, as opposed to by introducing verification conditions.]

    For purposes of this rule, Ada.Synchronous_Task_Control.Suspension_Object is assumed to be a protected type having one entry and the procedure Suspend_Until_True is assumed to contain a call to the entry of its parameter. [This rule discharges the verification condition associated with the Ada rule that two tasks cannot simultaneously suspend on one suspension object (see Ada RM D.10(10)).]

  1. The verification condition associated with the Ada rule that it is a bounded error to invoke an operation that is potentially blocking (including due to cyclic locking) during a protected action (see Ada RM 9.5.1(8)) is discharged via (potentially conservative) flow analysis, as opposed to by introducing verification conditions. [Support for the “Potentially_Blocking” aspect discussed in AI12-0064 may be incorporated into SPARK 2014 at some point in the future.]

    The verification condition associated with the Ada rule that it is a bounded error to call the Current_Task function from an entry_body, or an interrupt handler (see Ada RM C.7.1(17/3)) is discharged similarly.

    The verification condition associated with the Ada rule that the active priority of a caller of a protected operation is not higher than the ceiling of the corresponding protected object (see Ada RM D.3(13)) is dependent on (potentially conservative) flow analysis. This flow analysis is used to determine which tasks potentially call (directly or indirectly) a protected operation of which protected objects, and similarly which protected objects have protected operations that potentially perform calls (directly or indirectly) on the operations of other protected objects. A verification condition is created for each combination of potential (task or protected object) caller and called protected object to ensure that the (task or ceiling) priority of the potential caller is no greater than the ceiling priority of the called protected object.

  1. The end of a task body shall not be reachable. [This follows from from (extended) Ravenscar’s No_Task_Termination restriction.]
  1. A nonvolatile function shall not be potentially blocking. [Strictly speaking this rule is already implied by other rules of SPARK 2014, notably the rule that a nonvolatile function cannot depend on a volatile input.] [A dispatching call which statically denotes a primitive subprogram of a tagged type T is a potentially blocking operation if the corresponding primitive operation of any descendant of T is potentially blocking.]
  1. The package Ada.Task_Identification declares (and initializes) a synchronized external state abstraction named Tasking_State. The package Ada.Real_Time declares (and initializes) a synchronized external state abstraction named Clock_Time. The Async_Readers and Async_Writers aspects of both state abstractions are True, and their Effective_Reads and Effective_Writes aspects are False. Each is listed in the Initializes aspect of its respective package. For each of the following language-defined functions, the Volatile_Function aspect of the function is defined to be True and the Global aspect of the function specifies that one of these two state abstractions is referenced as an Input global:
  • Ada.Real_Time.Clock references Ada.Real_Time.Clock_Time;
  • Ada.Execution_Time.Clock references Ada.Real_Time.Clock_Time;
  • Ada.Execution_Time.Clock_For_Interrupts references Ada.Real_Time.Clock_Time;
  • Ada.Execution_Time.Interrupts.Clock references Ada.Real_Time.Clock_Time;
  • Ada.Calendar.Clock (which is excluded by the Ravenscar profile but not by the Extended Ravenscar profile) references Ada.Real_Time.Clock_Time;
  • Ada.Task_Identification.Current_Task references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Task_Identification.Is_Terminated references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Task_Identification.Is_Callable references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Task_Identification.Activation_Is_Complete references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Dispatching.EDF.Get_Deadline references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Interrupts.Is_Reserved references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Interrupts.Is_Attached references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Interrupts.Detach_Handler references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Interrupts.Get_CPU references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State;
  • Ada.Synchronous_Task_Control.Current_State references Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State.

[Functions excluded by the Extended Ravenscar profile (and therefore also by the Ravenscar profile) are not on this list.]

  1. For each of the following language-defined procedures, the Global aspect of the procedure specifies that the state abstraction Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State is referenced as an In_Out global:
  • Ada.Interrupts.Detach_Handler.
  1. For purposes of determining global inputs and outputs, a delay statement is considered to reference the state abstraction Ada.Real_Time.Clock_Time as an input. [In other words, a delay statement can be treated like a call to a procedure which takes the delay expression as an actual parameter and references the Clock_Time state abstraction as an Input global.]
  1. For purposes of determining global inputs and outputs, a use of any of the Callable, Caller, Count, or Terminated attributes is considered to reference the state abstraction Ada.Task_Identification.Tasking_State as an Input. [In other words, evaluation of one of these attributes can be treated like a call to a volatile function which takes the attribute prefix as a parameter (in the case where the prefix denotes an object or value) and references the Tasking_State state abstraction as an Input global.] [On the other hand, use of the Identity or Storage_Size attributes introduces no such dependency.]
  1. Preconditions are added to suprogram specifications as needed in order to avoid the failure of language-defined runtime checks for the following subprograms:
  • for Ada.Execution_Time.Clock, T does not equal Task_Identification.Null_Task_Id.
  • for Ada.Execution_Time.Clock_For_Interrupts, Interrupt_Clocks_Supported is True.
  • for Ada.Execution_Time.Interrupts.Clock, Separate_Interrupt_Clocks_Supported is True.
  • for Ada.Execution_Time’s arithmetic and conversion operators (including Time_Of), preconditions are defined to ensure that the result belongs to the result type.
  • for Ada.Real_Time’s arithmetic and conversion operators (including Time_Of), preconditions are defined to ensure that the result belongs to the result type.
  1. All procedures declared in the visible part of Ada.Synchronous_Task_Control have a dependency “(S => null)” despite the fact that S has mode in out.