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Given that we have multithreaded capabilities and multiprocessors, we must still convince the threads to work together to accomplish some overall goal. Often we need some ways to coordinate and cooperate between the threads. There are several important techniques that are used while the program is running with multiple threads, including:

  • Fork-join (or create-join) programming
  • Synchronization using a critical section with a lock, semaphore, or mutex
  • Barriers

Each of these techniques has an overhead associated with it. Because these overheads are necessary to go parallel, we must make sure that we have sufficient work to make the benefit of parallel operation worth the cost.

Fork-join programming

This approach is the simplest method of coordinating your threads. As in the earlier examples in this chapter, a master thread sets up some global data structures that describe the tasks each thread is to perform and then use the pthread_create( ) function to activate the proper number of threads. Each thread checks the global data structure using its thread-id as an index to find its task. The thread then performs the task and completes. The master thread waits at a pthread_join( ) point, and when a thread has completed, it updates the global data structure and creates a new thread. These steps are repeated for each major iteration (such as a time-step) for the duration of the program:

for(ts=0;ts<10000;ts++) { /* Time Step Loop */ /* Setup tasks */for (ith=0;ith<NUM_THREADS;ith++) pthread_create(..,work_routine,..) for (ith=0;ith<NUM_THREADS;ith++) pthread_join(...) }work_routine() { /* Perform Task */return; }

The shortcoming of this approach is the overhead cost associated with creating and destroying an operating system thread for a potentially very short task.

The other approach is to have the threads created at the beginning of the program and to have them communicate amongst themselves throughout the duration of the application. To do this, they use such techniques as critical sections or barriers.


Synchronization is needed when there is a particular operation to a shared variable that can only be performed by one processor at a time. For example, in previous SpinFunc( ) examples, consider the line:


In assembly language, this takes at least three instructions:

LOAD R1,globvar ADD R1,1STORE R1,globvar

What if globvar contained 0, Thread 1 was running, and, at the precise moment it completed the LOAD into Register R1 and before it had completed the ADD or STORE instructions, the operating system interrupted the thread and switched to Thread 2? Thread 2 catches up and executes all three instructions using its registers: loading 0, adding 1 and storing the 1 back into globvar . Now Thread 2 goes to sleep and Thread 1 is restarted at the ADD instruction. Register R1 for Thread 1 contains the previously loaded value of 0; Thread 1 adds 1 and then stores 1 into globvar . What is wrong with this picture? We meant to use this code to count the number of threads that have passed this point. Two threads passed the point, but because of a bad case of bad timing, our variable indicates only that one thread passed. This is because the increment of a variable in memory is not atomic . That is, halfway through the increment, something else can happen.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, High performance computing. OpenStax CNX. Aug 25, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11136/1.5
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