If standard libraries are so good then why learn

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If standard libraries are so good, then why learn about concurrent programming at all? For the same reason that educated computer engineers and scientists need a basic un- derstanding of sequential data structures in order to pick the right ones and use them correctly (e.g., designing a good hash function), concurrent programmers need to un- derstand how to debug and performance tune their use of libraries (e.g., to avoid con- tention). Moreover, standard libraries do not typically handle all the necessary synchronization for an application. For example, ConcurrentHashMap does not support atomically re- CPEN 221 – Fall 2016
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Guidelines for Safe Concurrent Programming 11 moving one element and inserting two others. If your application needs to do that, then you will need to implement your own locking protocol to synchronize access to a shared data structure. Understanding race conditions is crucial. While the examples in these notes consider race conditions on simple data structures like stacks, larger appli- cations using standard libraries for concurrent data structures will still often have bad interleavings at higher levels of abstraction. 3 Summary In this reading, we discussed some guidelines for writing robust concurrent programs. Reasoning about concurrency is challenging and these guidelines help us, partially, in developing software that is safe from bugs . Some aspects of these guidelines are also about conventions, which makes concurrent programs easy to understand (or at least, as easy as possible). Lastly, thinking about these guidelines carefully can help in soft- ware that is ready for change . CPEN 221 – Fall 2016
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  • Fall '17
  • satish
  • Concurrent computing, Safe Concurrent Programming

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