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What Does Synchronization Mean?

Synchronization, in the context of .NET, is a process that involves coordinating the execution of multiple threads to ensure a desired outcome without corrupting the shared data and preventing any occurrence of deadlocks and race conditions.


Synchronization also occurs between network nodes to ensure that data streams are received and transmitted correctly, and to prevent data collision. It usually uses a clock signal transmitted in sequence with a data stream to maintain proper signal timing.

Techopedia Explains Synchronization

There are two types of synchronization: data synchronization and process synchronization:

  • Process Synchronization: The simultaneous execution of multiple threads or processes to reach a handshake such that they commit a certain sequence of actions. Lock, mutex, and semaphores are examples of process synchronization.
  • Data Synchronization: Involves the maintenance of data to keep multiple copies of data coherent with each other, or to maintain data integrity. For example, database replication is used to keep multiple copies of data synchronized with database servers that store data in different locations.

Synchronization forms the basis of the execution of multiple threads asynchronously in a multithreaded application. It provides the means to achieve the sharing of resources such as file handling, network connections and memory by coordinating threads and processes to avoid data corruption.

The term is used in the context of multithreaded applications where the resources to be shared across multiple threads have to be controlled, which otherwise can lead to an unpredictable and undesirable outcome. The .NET framework provides synchronization primitives using the multi-threaded applications controlled without any race conditions.

Synchronization is designed to be cooperative, demanding that every thread follow the synchronization mechanism before accessing protected resources for consistent results. Locking, signaling, lightweight synchronization types, spinwait and interlocked operations are mechanisms related to synchronization in .NET.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.