Four Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Deadlock


This handout describes the four conditions necessary and sufficient to cause deadlock.

Deadlock Conditions

  1. mutual exclusion
    The resources involved must be unshareable; otherwise, the processes would not be prevented from using the resource when necessary.
  2. hold and wait or partial allocation
    The processes must hold the resources they have already been allocated while waiting for other (requested) resources. If the process had to release its resources when a new resource or resources were requested, deadlock could not occur because the process would not prevent others from using resources that it controlled.
  3. no pre-emption
    The processes must not have resources taken away while that resource is being used. Otherwise, deadlock could not occur since the operating system could simply take enough resources from running processes to enable any process to finish.
  4. resource waiting or circular wait
    A circular chain of processes, with each process holding resources which are currently being requested by the next process in the chain, cannot exist. If it does, the cycle theorem (which states that "a cycle in the resource graph is necessary for deadlock to occur") indicated that deadlock could occur.

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Department of Computer Science
University of California at Davis
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Page last modified on 6/7/99