Atomic (computer science)
In computer science
, an atomic
operation is one that either completes fully, or has no lasting effect. It is a slightly ambigious term:
- In database systems, it is one of the ACID properties. In this context, "atomic" means nothing more than the above definition.
- In other areas of computer science such as operating systems, "atomic" also refers to the property that the changes made by an operation are only visible after it completes. That is, that there are no intermediate states visible to other threadss. In database systems, this property is described separately as isolation.
- In other areas of computer science atomic can mean the smallest addressable unit of memory. The byte is typically atomic in this sense.