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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Summary

Concurrency itself is nothing to be scared of. We all deal with it in the real world, all day, every day. What is difficult is writing concurrent programs for computers based on mutable state. It is difficult because the concept of order is such an important implicit basis for the way we reason about our programs.

Concurrency is the relaxation of the rigid order inherent in imperative computer languages. Java’s mechanism for doing this is the thread. A thread executes instructions in an order that is not related to the order of execution of instructions in other threads. Developers use mutual exclusion locks (mutexes) to control thread access to critical sections of code, thereby limiting the number of ways that two different threads can execute instructions in the section.

Most of today’s computer languages manufacture an illusion of sequential execution. Behind the scenes, however, they fiercely reorder, parallelize, and cache to make the best use of hardware. The only thing that prevents those optimizations from making a program behave non-deterministically, is a contract. A correct program is one that abides by that contract.

No one ever said that concurrency was easy. It is, however, fairly simple. Just follow the contract.

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