Race conditions can also occur in traditional, single-threaded programs – Clarity

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I have read few books on parallel programming over the past few months and I decided to close it off with learning about the posix thread.

I am reading "PThreads programming - A Posix standard for better multiprocessing nutshell-handbook". In chapter 5 ( Pthreads and Unix ) the author talks about handling signals in multi-threaded programs. In the "Threadsafe Library Functions and System Calls" section, the author made a statement that I have not seen in most books that I have read on parallel programming. The statement was:

Race conditions can also occur in traditional, single-threaded programs that use signal handlers or that call routines recursively. A single-threaded program of this kind may have the same routine in progress in various call frames on its process stack.

I find it a little bit tedious to decipher this statement. Does the race condition in the recursive function occur when the recursive function keeps an internal structure by using the static storage type?

I would also love to know how signal handlers can cause RACE CONDITION IN SINGLE THREADED PROGRAMS

Note: Am not a computer science student , i would really appreciate simplified terms


I don't think one can call it a race condition in the classical meaning. Race conditions have a somewhat stochastic behavior, depending on the scheduler policy and timings.

The author is probably talking about bugs that can arise when the same object/resource is accessed from multiple recursive calls. But this behavior is completely deterministic and manageable.

Signals on the other hand is a different story as they occur asynchronously and can apparently interrupt some data processing in the middle and trigger some other processing on that data, corrupting it when returned to the interrupted task.

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