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The Java® Language Specification, Java SE 7 Edition, Fourth Edition by Alex Buckley, Gilad Bracha, Guy Steele, Bill Joy, James Gosling

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17.4. Memory Model

A memory model describes, given a program and an execution trace of that program, whether the execution trace is a legal execution of the program. The Java programming language memory model works by examining each read in an execution trace and checking that the write observed by that read is valid according to certain rules.

The memory model describes possible behaviors of a program. An implementation is free to produce any code it likes, as long as all resulting executions of a program produce a result that can be predicted by the memory model.

This provides a great deal of freedom for the implementor to perform a myriad of code transformations, including the reordering of actions and removal of unnecessary synchronization. ...

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