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11/9/14

Basics of Concurrent Programming.

Concurrent work is multiple works happening at the same time.

Process is a running program.

Thread (lightweigh process, LWP) is object inside heavyweight process that has it's own control & that shares resources with other threads in the same process.


Critical Section.

Critical section is a code section that can be accessed by only one process or thread at the same time.

Critical section has uses for example in banking: we do not want data to be overwritten as it's written by other process, or read during writing.

Example pseudocode:

process P;

begin
  while true do
  begin
    personal_affairs;
    begining_protocol;
    critical_section;
    ending_protocol;
  end
end;

Source: my partial education (see: [7]), my experience.


Readers & Writers.

In computer science, the readers-writers problem is an example of a common computing problem in concurrency.

Shared resource is abstracted as a Reading Room.

More than one Reader may be in a Reading Room, but if writer is in a Reading Room - no one else can be there.


An example algorithm for handling the readers-writers problem is as follows:

Reader's beginning protocol:
  reader waits (goes asleep), if there's writer in a reading room.

Writer's beginning protocol:
  writer waits (goes asleep), if there's someone in a reading room.

Reader's end protocol:
  if is last exitting person, then awakens & lets writer in - if writer waits.

Writer's end protocol:
  if readers wait, then awakens them all, otherwise, if writer waits, awakens one.


There should be a limit on maximum number of readers let in in a reading room, when writer(s) is/are awaiting.


Source: my partial education (see: [7]), my experience.


See also: Petersen's Algorithm, Classic Concurrency Problems, Petri Nets.

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