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Message passing

Message passing

(also inter-process communication, IPC)

Message passing definition

Message passing enables processes, threads, and systems to send and receive messages in a concurrent, parallel, or distributed computing environment. It utilizes communication channels, the pathways that connect the different parts of the computer environment, to exchange information such as instructions, status updates, or results. Message passing is instrumental in settings where multiple program components must collaborate, especially when running simultaneously or on different computers. It allows the processes to communicate and coordinate activities without sharing memory or other common data structures.

See also: message switching, real-time communications

Message passing advantages

  • Easy to scale. A message passing system is suitable for parallel and distributed computing environments because it can scale well to accommodate large numbers of processes or nodes without significant performance drops. Thereby, it can handle more workload with time.
  • Simple and modular design. It helps create modular applications where each part communicates only through message exchanges. It facilitates designing, maintaining, and updating individual components, making your system more flexible and easier to understand.
  • Better fault tolerance. If one process in the message passing system fails, it doesn’t harm the remaining processes. Instead, they can continue working and communicating, enabling the system to quickly recover from errors or failures.
  • Portability across platforms. Message passing systems do not rely on platform-specific features, meaning applications that run on various hardware and software configurations can be created without major changes.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security