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From: William Kempf (sirwillard_at_[hidden])
Date: 2000-08-31 11:30:11

--- In boost_at_[hidden], "Bill Wade" <bill.wade_at_s...> wrote:
> > From: William Kempf [mailto:sirwillard_at_m...]
> > The counter is used for much more than just ref-counting.
> In general your statement is true.
> For my COW String the counter is used only for ref counting and to
> unshareable.
> > I see no InterlockedRead.
> From developer studio help (this might be from later MSDN stuff).
> article is titled "Interlocked Variable Access" and on my machine
has a URL
> of
> mk:@MSITStore:M:\Disk02
> htm
> "The interlocked functions provide a simple mechanism for
> access to a variable that is shared by multiple threads. The
threads of
> different processes can use this mechanism if the variable is in
> memory. Note that SIMPLE READS and WRITES to properly-aligned 32-
> variables are ATOMIC. The interlocked functions should be used to
> complex operations in an atomic manner."

What this seems to be indicating is that assignment of 32 bit
integers on the Intel platform (and presumably the other platforms
that NT works on) are atomic operations. Quite believable to me (I'm
not sure you can interrupt any machine level operation), but I'm not
sure you can or should rely on this, even on the Win32 platform.
*shrug* Regardless, I don't *think* you'll find a performance
difference with this and InterlockedExchange. It surely won't be a
3x difference.

> >I'm not referring to
> > InterlockedExchangeAdd, but to InterlockedExchange.
> I'm not sure I know how to do a safe read with just

long a;
// write
a = 3; // according to what you posted, this is atomic
InterlockedExchange(&a, 3); // equivelant to above
// read
int b = a; // according to what you posted, this is atomic
InterlockedExchange(&b, a); // equivalent to above

The documentation for InterlockedExchange mentions that it can be
used for variables in shared memory between processes. That may be
the sole difference between InterlockedExchange and simple
assignment... I really don't know. All I know is that every
article/book/etc. on this subject that I've read has recommended
using InterlockedExchange for reading/writing. For portability (and
psychological safety reasons) I think exchange() is the route to go
here, regardless of the subtle facts about the Win32 platform.

Bill Kempf

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