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Home » Tip Bank » C++
Language: C++
Expertise: Intermediate
Apr 22, 2002

The sig_atomic_t Datatype


Applications that handle signals must distinguish between atomic and non-atomic datatypes. Reading or writing an atomic object is guaranteed to take one instruction. By contrast, accessing a non-atomic object may take more than one instruction. In such cases, a signal might interrupt the process in the middle of reading or writing the object, thus causing unpredictable results. The Standard Library defines a special datatype called sig_atomic_t in the header <csignal>. Reading and writing variables of type sig_atomic_t are guaranteed to take a single instruction. sig_atomic_t is a platform-defined integer type; on most machines its underlying type is int.
Danny Kalev
 
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