On the mutual-exclusion problem - a quest for minimal solutions

Uri Abraham, Menachem Magidor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abraham, U. and M. Magidor, On the mutual-exclusion problem - a quest for minimal solutions, Theoretical Computer Science 129 (1994) 1-38. We investigate here the question of finding the minimal requirements for the registers used by n processes that solve the critical-section problem. For two processes, we show that there cannot be a solution to the critical-section problem if the two registers used are regular and of size 2 and 3. For n processes, this result generalizes to show the impossibility of a solution with regular registers if the total size of the registers is 3n - 1. This is the best result for n = 2 since there are solution (presented here) in which regular registers of total size 6 are used. The impossibility proof depends on a careful analysis of infinite protocol automata, and therefore a detailed definition of such automata and their semantics is developed first.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science (all)


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