A cooperating process is one that can affect or be affected by other processes executing in the system. Cooperating processes can either directly share a logical address space (that is, both code and data) or be allowed to share data only through files or messages. The former case is achieved through the use of threads, discussed in Chapter 4. Concurrent access to shared data may result in data inconsistency, however. In this chapter, we discuss various mechanisms to ensure the orderly execution of cooperating processes that share a logical address space, so that data consistency is maintained.
• To introduce the critical-section problem, whose solutions can be used to ensure the consistency of shared data.
• To present both software and hardware solutions of the critical-section problem.
• To introduce the concept of an atomic transaction and describe mechanisms to ensure atomicity.
In Chapter 3, we developed a model of a system consisting of cooperating sequential processes or threads, all running asynchronously and possibly sharing data. We illustrated this model with the ...