Process synchronization is the task of organizing the access of several concurrent processes to shared (i.e. jointly used) resources without causing any conflicts. The shared resources are most often memory locations (shared data) or some hardware. Process synchronization can be divided into two subcategories:

Synchronizing competing processes:
Several processes compete for one exclusive resource. This is solved by one of the mutual exclusion mechanisms.
Synchronizing cooperating processes:
Several processes have to notify each other of their progress so e.g. common results can be passed on. The consumer producer problem is an example. This problem is often solved with semaphores or messaging.

In both subcategories deadlocks or race conditions might occur if the problem is not solved carefully (which you normally only notice after the fact).

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