Process Synchronization is a concept in operating systems that refers to the coordination and control of multiple concurrent processes or threads to ensure proper and orderly execution.
In a multi-process or multi-threaded environment, various processes often need to access shared resources or critical sections of code simultaneously.
Process synchronization mechanisms are employed to prevent race conditions, data inconsistencies, and conflicts that can arise when multiple processes attempt to access shared resources simultaneously.
The main goal of process synchronization is to enforce mutual exclusion, which ensures that only one process can access a shared resource or critical section at a time.
This prevents data corruption and ensures that the results of concurrent operations are consistent and predictable.
Common mechanisms for process synchronization include:
Locks (Mutex): Mutexes (short for mutual exclusion) are used to protect shared resources. A process must acquire a mutex before accessing the shared resource and release it after completing the operation.
Semaphores: Semaphores are used to control access to shared resources. They can be used to allow multiple processes to access a resource up to a specified limit or to block access until the resource is available.
Conditional Variables: Conditional variables are used to signal between processes to coordinate their activities and to avoid busy-waiting.
Atomic Operations: Some hardware architectures provide atomic operations, which are low-level instructions that are guaranteed to be executed as a single, indivisible unit, ensuring that concurrent access to shared resources does not lead to data inconsistency.