Semaphore Objects ----------------- This is one of the oldest synchronization primitives in the history of computer science, invented by the early Dutch computer scientist Edsger W. Dijkstra (he used `P()' and `V()' instead of `acquire()' and `release()'). A semaphore manages an internal counter which is decremented by each `acquire()' call and incremented by each `release()' call. The counter can never go below zero; when `acquire()' finds that it is zero, it blocks, waiting until some other thread calls `release()'. `Semaphore([value])' The optional argument gives the initial value for the internal counter; it defaults to `1'. `acquire([blocking])' Acquire a semaphore. When invoked without arguments: if the internal counter is larger than zero on entry, decrement it by one and return immediately. If it is zero on entry, block, waiting until some other thread has called `release()' to make it larger than zero. This is done with proper interlocking so that if multiple `acquire()' calls are blocked, `release()' will wake exactly one of them up. The implementation may pick one at random, so the order in which blocked threads are awakened should not be relied on. There is no return value in this case. When invoked with BLOCKING set to true, do the same thing as when called without arguments, and return true. When invoked with BLOCKING set to false, do not block. If a call without an argument would block, return false immediately; otherwise, do the same thing as when called without arguments, and return true. `release()' Release a semaphore, incrementing the internal counter by one. When it was zero on entry and another thread is waiting for it to become larger than zero again, wake up that thread.
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