a state in which progress is impossible, as in a dispute, produced by the counteraction of opposing forces; standstill; stalemate:
The union and management reached a deadlock over fringe benefits.
a maximum-security cell for the solitary confinement of a prisoner.
verb (used with or without object)
to bring or come to a deadlock.
a state of affairs in which further action between two opposing forces is impossible; stalemate
a tie between opposite sides in a contest
a lock having a bolt that can be opened only with a key
to bring or come to a deadlock
parallel, programming
A situation where two or more processes are unable to proceed because each is waiting for one of the others to do something.
A common example is a program waiting for output from a server while the server is waiting for more input from the controlling program before outputting anything. It is reported that this particular flavour of deadlock is sometimes called a “starvation deadlock”, though the term “starvation” is more properly used for situations where a program can never run simply because it never gets high enough priority.
Another common flavour is “constipation”, in which each process is trying to send stuff to the other but all buffers are full because nobody is reading anything). See deadly embrace.
Another example, common in database programming, is two processes that are sharing some resource (e.g. read access to a table) but then both decide to wait for exclusive (e.g. write) access.
The term “deadly embrace” is mostly synonymous, though usually used only when exactly two processes are involved. This is the more popular term in Europe, while deadlock predominates in the United States.
Compare: livelock. See also safety property, liveness property.
[Jargon File]


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