Producer/Consumer Update -

Producer/Consumer Update


Producer/Consumer Update

Michael Barr

A well-known synchronization problem describes a single data buffer shared by two or more threads of execution. One or more producer threads write new data into the buffer, in parallel with one or more consumer threads that read data from it. Depending on the specifics, one or more semaphores may be needed to code the producer/consumer solution successfully.

Now well into its second decade, an essential element of ESP 's success has been the quality of its producers. In our case, the producers are columnists and feature authors. What generally makes our pieces so informative is that they're written by practicing embedded software developers just like you. The vast majority of the content we publish is written by full-time software developers and consultants who desire to share knowledge acquired through first-hand experience with their peers.

The results of our most recent editorial survey indicate that the average ESP reader has been programming for more than 17 years, developing embedded software for a decade, and reading the magazine for about seven years. And, yet, less than 1% of you have ever written even one article for us! If you think ESP 's been a pretty good read so far, just imagine how much more valuable of a community resource it could be if we could tap the rest of that potential.

The connection between readers and writers is an important one: readers of our magazine make the best ESP writers. That's because you are the ones building actual embedded/real-time systems that must be completed on time, meet their target price points, work reliably, and survive in field conditions. So you know how to do things right the first time, minimize system costs, and work around the little annoyances of the real world. In short, you've learned certain “tricks of the trade” that benefit you on a day-to-day basis — and could benefit your peers as well.

Sharing your knowledge with your peers — by writing an article or a book or speaking at a technical conference — is an excellent way to enhance your professional reputation, meet new friends, and learn about nuances of your own ideas that you hadn't considered before. In my particular case, sharing knowledge developed through my experiences as an embedded programmer and a consultant was how I ultimately found a career as a magazine editor. And, of course, writing an article is also a good way to earn some extra cash.

In addition to articles on any number of topics concerning the embedded software developer, we're also looking for a new columnist. An ideal columnist would be someone who likes to write, has lots of (at least sketchy) ideas for column topics rolling around in the back of their brain, and can find the time to write something new every month. Ideally, I'd like to find someone who could take up the “Real-Time” mantra abandoned by former ESP columnist and editor-in-chief Tyler Sperry.

You already know you're a nerd. So why not make it official? Write for ESP . If you're interested, check out our writer's guidelines at and send your ideas directly to me. While helping make a name for yourself, you'll also be helping us make a dent in our own kind of producer/consumer problem.

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