Future transaction processing systems may have substantially higher levels of concurrency due to reasons which include: 1992 increasing disparity between processor speeds and data access latencies, (2) large numbers of processors, and (3) distributed databases. Another influence is the trend towards longer or more complex transactions. A possible consequence is substantially more data contention, which could limit total achievable throughput. In particular, it is known that the usual locking method of concurrency control is not well suited to environments where data contention is a significant factor. Here we consider a number of concurrency control concepts and transaction scheduling techniques that are applicable to high contention environments, and that do not rely on database semantics to reduce contention. These include access invariance and its application to prefetching of data, approximations to essential blocking such as wait depth limited scheduling, and phase dependent control. The performance of various concurrency control methods based on these concepts are studied using detailed simulation models. The results indicate that the new techniques can offer substantial benefits for systems with high levels of data contention. © 1992, ACM. All rights reserved.