Preserving and Using Context information In Interprocess Communication

Larry L. Peterson, Nick C. Buchholz, Richard D. Schlichting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


When processes in a network communicate, the messages they exchange define a partial ordering of externally visible events. While the significance of this partial order in distributed computing is well understood, it has not been made an explicit part of the communication substrate upon which distributed programs are implemented. This paper describes a new interprocess communication mechanism, called Psync, that explicitly encodes this partial ordering with each message. The paper shows how Psync can be efficiently implemented on an unreliable communications network, and it demonstrates how conversations serve as an elegant foundation for ordering messages exchanged in a distributed computation and for recovering from processor failures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-246
Number of pages30
JournalACM Transactions on Computer Systems (TOCS)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Context graph
  • happened before

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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