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Methods in Interprocess Communication

Last Updated : 24 Mar, 2023
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Prerequisite – Inter Process Communication, Inter-process communication (IPC) is set of interfaces, which is usually programmed in order for the programs to communicate between series of processes. This allows running programs concurrently in an Operating System. These are the methods in IPC:

  1. Pipes (Same Process) – This allows flow of data in one direction only. Analogous to simplex systems (Keyboard). Data from the output is usually buffered until input process receives it which must have a common origin.
  2. Names Pipes (Different Processes) – This is a pipe with a specific name it can be used in processes that don’t have a shared common process origin. E.g. is FIFO where the details written to a pipe is first named.
  3. Message Queuing – This allows messages to be passed between processes using either a single queue or several message queue. This is managed by system kernel these messages are coordinated using an API.
  4. Semaphores – This is used in solving problems associated with synchronization and to avoid race condition. These are integer values which are greater than or equal to 0.
  5. Shared memory – This allows the interchange of data through a defined area of memory. Semaphore values have to be obtained before data can get access to shared memory.
  6. Sockets – This method is mostly used to communicate over a network between a client and a server. It allows for a standard connection which is computer and OS independent.

Interprocess communication (IPC) refers to the mechanisms and techniques used by operating systems to allow different processes to communicate with each other. There are several methods of IPC, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some common methods of IPC include:

  1. Pipes: A pipe is a unidirectional communication channel used for IPC between two related processes. One process writes to the pipe, and the other process reads from it.
  2. Message Queues: Message queues are used to send and receive messages between processes. They can be used for both one-to-one and one-to-many communication.
  3. Shared Memory: Shared memory is a technique where multiple processes can access the same region of memory. This allows for high-speed communication between processes.
  4. Semaphores: Semaphores are used for controlling access to shared resources. They are used to prevent multiple processes from accessing the same resource simultaneously, which can lead to data corruption.
  5. Sockets: Sockets are used for network communication between processes running on different hosts. They provide a standard interface for communication, which can be used across different platforms and programming languages.

Remote Procedure Calls (RPC): RPC is a technique used for distributed computing. It allows processes running on different hosts to call procedures on each other as if they were running on the same host.

Each method of IPC has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which method to use depends on the specific requirements of the application. For example, if high-speed communication is required between processes running on the same host, shared memory may be the best choice. On the other hand, if communication is required between processes running on different hosts, sockets or RPC may be more appropriate.

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