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Communicating Processes II

I do know how important it is to have a proper communication, as I said earlier. Most people learn to have a persuasive and intelligent communication that results in achieving objetives. But in computer communications between communicating processes, there is hardly any room for being persuasive, or rather persuasive means correct.

In my previous note, I mentioned how shared memory can be used for interprocess communications, but all the synchronization will be needed to achive correct communication. And it is something that can be delegated to the underlying systems by using other methods. In windows, one such method is to use named pipe. It is FIFO, and bit more.

The objective of my experiment was to have send and receive loop between server and multiple applications (client) that are to communicate with the server. Essentially, the server will have a dedicate pair of channels between a specific client and itself. So if 10 clients try to communicate with the server, there will be 10 pairs of IPC channels. Each pair has two unidirectional channels going in each direction. The choice of having a pair of unidirectional channel instead of one bidirectional channel is to simplify the implementation and debugging. By nature, an application gets a handle to an opened instance from the system, and that's it. Now to make a sane channel, you and I will have to wrap this as an element of an abstract channel. The abstract channel can have lots of additional information like: state, message received or sent, last used time so on and so forth. Now the channels are really cross-bar switch. The read-end of one is the write-end of the partner and vice versa.

I started out with such abstract channel, just because I knew that for debugging and performances I would be needing these. One problem, and it is always the problem when communicating processes are to have a sustained communication is  - THE DEADLOCK. This is mainly due to foreseeing the flaws in assumptions.

My assumption was that if (1) send and receives are blocking call (2) If they starts in alternating ( i.e. ping-pong) fashion (3) IPC channel is flawless, then I don't need any synchronization. Theoritically this is true. We can argue by stepping thru the scenarios that satisfies the above assumptions and show that there does not need any synchronization...

Now since I implemented the IPC, how could I prove the channels are somewhat ( if not totally) flawless. This is the reason I started out with the abstract channel. But assumption (1) was not true. Blocking here is from the local system point of view, it is not blocking or synchrous with respect to the other end. The assumption was that the call will be blocked until the local end-point knows how to satisfy the call. The end-point is the end-point of the channel instance. 


The problem is that, if you just try to use the above assumption, and try out IPC as stated, it would work. In my case I was testing some of my own software, that does not necessarily send the message to the local end of the IPC channel, depending on the load of the system. Hence making send side essentially asynchrous. Correct implementation will have a pending queue with associative aging algorithm to get it off the queue and send it, then we would not see the deadlock in ping-pong style communication. But that was the side-effect, in a good way, to find the bug out to see why it was deadlocking...


Net result of this note, is that as long as the asumptions (persuasiveness ) are clearly understood, communication is fun, otherwise big challenges to find flaws in assumption(s).


Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 06:04PM by Registered CommenterProkash Sinha | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

References (2)

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  • Response
    The process of the communication in the every organization or working place is having their own kind of the value. With that our place is having the lots of the impact that are related to the communication process.
  • Response
    Response: uber app

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