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Principles of Concurrent and Distributed Programming, Second Edition by M. Ben-Ari

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Chapter 6. Semaphores

The algorithms for the critical section problem described in the previous chapters can be run on a bare machine, that is, they use only the machine language instructions that the computer provides. However, these instructions are too low-level to be used efficiently and reliably. In this chapter, we will study the semaphore, which provides a concurrent programming construct on a higher level than machine instructions. Semaphores are usually implemented by an underlying operating system, but we will investigate them by defining the required behavior and assuming that this behavior can be efficiently implemented.

Semaphores are a simple, but successful and widely used, construct, and thus worth exploring in great detail. We ...

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