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Concurrent Programming on Windows, 1st edition

  • Joe Duffy

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (October 28th 2008) - Copyright © 2009

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Concurrent Programming on Windows

ISBN-13: 9780321604415

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“When you begin using multi-threading throughout an application, the importance of clean architecture and design is critical. . . . This places an emphasis on understanding not only the platform’s capabilities but also emerging best practices. Joe does a great job interspersing best practices alongside theory throughout his book.”

– From the Foreword by Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation


Author Joe Duffy has risen to the challenge of explaining how to write software that takes full advantage of concurrency and hardware parallelism. In Concurrent Programming on Windows, he explains how to design, implement, and maintain large-scale concurrent programs, primarily using C# and C++ for Windows.


Duffy aims to give application, system, and library developers the tools and techniques needed to write efficient, safe code for multicore processors. This is important not only for the kinds of problems where concurrency is inherent and easily exploitable—such as server applications, compute-intensive image manipulation, financial analysis, simulations, and AI algorithms—but also for problems that can be speeded up using parallelism but require more effort—such as math libraries, sort routines, report generation, XML manipulation, and stream processing algorithms.


Concurrent Programming on Windows has four major sections: The first introduces concurrency at a high level, followed by a section that focuses on the fundamental platform features, inner workings, and API details. Next, there is a section that describes common patterns, best practices, algorithms, and data structures that emerge while writing concurrent software. The final section covers many of the common system-wide architectural and process concerns of concurrent programming.


This is the only book you’ll need in order to learn the best practices and common patterns for programming with concurrency on Windows and .NET.

Table of contents

Foreword xix

Preface xxiii

Acknowledgments xxvii

About the Author xxix


Part I: Concepts 1


Chapter 1: Introduction 3

Why Concurrency? 3

Program Architecture and Concurrency 6

Layers of Parallelism 8

Why Not Concurrency? 10

Where Are We? 11


Chapter 2: Synchronization and Time 13

Managing Program State 14

Synchronization: Kinds and Techniques 38

Where Are We? 73


Part II: Mechanisms 77


Chapter 3: Threads 79

Threading from 10,001 Feet 80

The Life and Death of Threads 89

Where Are We? 124


Chapter 4: Advanced Threads 127

Thread State 127

Inside Thread Creation and Termination 152

Thread Scheduling 154

Where Are We? 180


Chapter 5: Windows Kernel Synchronization 183

The Basics: Signaling and Waiting 184

Using the Kernel Objects 211

Where Are We? 251


Chapter 6: Data and Control Synchronization 253

Mutual Exclusion 255

Reader/Writer Locks (RWLs) 287

Condition Variables 304

Where Are We? 312


Chapter 7: Thread Pools 315

Thread Pools 101 316

Windows Thread Pools 323

CLR Thread Pool 364

Performance When Using the Thread Pools 391

Where Are We? 398


Chapter 8: Asynchronous Programming Models 399

Asynchronous Programming Model (APM) 400

Event-Based Asynchronous Pattern 421

Where Are We? 427


Chapter 9: Fibers 429

An Overview of Fibers 430

Using Fibers 435

Additional Fiber-Related Topics 445

Building a User-Mode Scheduler 453

Where Are We? 473


Part III: Techniques 475


Chapter 10: Memory Models and Lock Freedom 477

Memory Load and Store Reordering 478

Hardware Atomicity 486

Memory Consistency Models 506

Examples of Low-Lock Code 520

Where Are We? 541


Chapter 11: Concurrency Hazards 545

Correctness Hazards 546

Liveness Hazards 572

Where Are We? 609


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