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Definition

reentrant

Contributor(s): Subbu Mahadevan and Lee Savidge

Reentrant is an adjective that describes a computer program or routine that is written so that the same copy in memory can be shared by multiple users. Reentrant code is commonly required in operating systems and in applications intended to be shared in multi-use systems. A programmer writes a reentrant program by making sure that no instructions modify the contents of variable values in other instructions within the program. Each time the program is entered for a user, a data area is obtained in which to keep all the variable values for that user. The data area is in another part of memory from the program itself. When the program is interrupted to give another user a turn to use the program, information about the data area associated with that user is saved. When the interrupted user of the program is once again given control of the program, information in the saved data area is recovered and the program can be reentered without concern that the previous user has changed some instruction within the program.

This was last updated in August 2005

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