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Operating System Design/Concurrency/Livelock

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A livelock is similar to a deadlock, except that the states of the processes involved in the livelock constantly change with regard to one another, none progressing. Livelock is a special case of resource starvation; the general definition only states that a specific process is not progressing.

As a real-world example, livelock occurs when two people meet in a narrow corridor, and each tries to be polite by moving aside to let the other pass, but they end up swaying from side to side without making any progress because they always both move the same way at the same time.

Livelock is a risk with some algorithms that detect and recover from deadlock. If more than one process takes action, the deadlock detection algorithm can repeatedly trigger. This can be avoided by ensuring that only one process (chosen randomly or by priority) takes action.