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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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17.7. Non-atomic Treatment of double and long

For the purposes of the Java programming language memory model, a single write to a non-volatile long or double value is treated as two separate writes: one to each 32-bit half. This can result in a situation where a thread sees the first 32 bits of a 64-bit value from one write, and the second 32 bits from another write.

Writes and reads of volatile long and double values are always atomic.

Writes to and reads of references are always atomic, regardless of whether they are implemented as 32-bit or 64-bit values.

Some implementations may find it convenient to divide a single write action on a 64-bit long or double value into two write actions on adjacent 32-bit values. For efficiency’s sake, this ...

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