source: doc/theses/thierry_delisle_MMath/text/intro.tex @ 223a633

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4This thesis provides a minimal concurrency \acrshort{api} that is simple, efficient and can be reused to build higher-level features. The simplest possible concurrency system is a thread and a lock but this low-level approach is hard to master. An easier approach for users is to support higher-level constructs as the basis of concurrency. Indeed, for highly productive concurrent programming, high-level approaches are much more popular~\cite{HPP:Study}. Examples are task based, message passing and implicit threading. The high-level approach and its minimal \acrshort{api} are tested in a dialect of C, called \CFA. Furthermore, the proposed \acrshort{api} doubles as an early definition of the \CFA language and library. This thesis also provides an implementation of the concurrency library for \CFA as well as all the required language features added to the source-to-source translator.
6There are actually two problems that need to be solved in the design of concurrency for a programming language: which concurrency and which parallelism tools are available to the programmer. While these two concepts are often combined, they are in fact distinct, requiring different tools~\cite{Buhr05a}. Concurrency tools need to handle mutual exclusion and synchronization, while parallelism tools are about performance, cost and resource utilization.
8In the context of this thesis, a \textbf{thread} is a fundamental unit of execution that runs a sequence of code, generally on a program stack. Having multiple simultaneous threads gives rise to concurrency and generally requires some kind of locking mechanism to ensure proper execution. Correspondingly, \textbf{concurrency} is defined as the concepts and challenges that occur when multiple independent (sharing memory, timing dependencies, etc.) concurrent threads are introduced. Accordingly, \textbf{locking} (and by extension locks) are defined as a mechanism that prevents the progress of certain threads in order to avoid problems due to concurrency. Finally, in this thesis \textbf{parallelism} is distinct from concurrency and is defined as running multiple threads simultaneously. More precisely, parallelism implies \emph{actual} simultaneous execution as opposed to concurrency which only requires \emph{apparent} simultaneous execution. As such, parallelism is only observable in the differences in performance or, more generally, differences in timing.
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