Creating a manual-reset event from WaitOnAddress

Last time, we created a semaphore with a maximum count from Wait­On­Address. Related to semaphores are events, so let's do a manual-reset event.

  LONG State;

void InitializeAltManualEvent(ALT_MEVENT* Event,
                              bool InitialState)
  Semaphore->State = InitialState;

void SetAltManualEvent(ALT_MEVENT* Event)
 if (InterlockedCompareExchange(&Event->State,
                                true, false) == false) {

void ResetAltManualEvent(ALT_MEVENT* Event)
                            false, true);

void WaitForAltManualEvent(ALT_MEVENT* Event)
 while (!Event->State) {
  LONG Waiting = 0;

To set the event, we try to transition it from false to true. If that succeeds, then we wake anybody who was waiting for the event. (If it fails, then it means that the event was already set, so there is nothing to do.) Similarly, to reset the event, we try to transition it from true to false. In this case, there is no need to signal that the value changed because there will never be anyone waiting for the state to change to false.

To wait for the event, we check whether it is currently set. If not, then we use Wait­On­Address to wait for its state to change. When we think its state may have changed, we go back and check.

Pretty simple. Next time, the auto-reset event.

Bonus chatter: Although this usage pattern doesn't have anybody waiting for the state to change to false, you can imagine a case where you want some type of synchronization object that signals when something becomes unavailable. For example, you might want one side to run as long as the event is signaled, and the other side to run as long as the event is unsignaled. The traditional way is to have a pair of events, and alternately signal them. But with Wait­On­Address, we can combine them into a single synchronization object.

Comments (6)

  1. Is this line of code correct? Semaphore->State = InitialState; Should perhaps be Event->State=InitialState; Or I’m very confused.

  2. Ismo says:

    How does these self invented semaphores and events compare with their kernel mode counterparts in performance ?
    I suppose that if no kernel mode transition is required these should be much faster ? or are equivalent code currently in some user mode library and usually no kernel mode is needed ? (that would be obvious thing to do if not yet done).
    Fairness is of course sacrificed but who cares :-)

  3. Neil says:

    Is there any particular advantage of `WakeByAddressAll` over `WakeByAddressSingle` in this case?

    1. The semantics of a manual-reset event is that when the event is signaled, all waiters are released.

  4. Ben says:

    What happens if someone calls SetEvent followed quickly by ResetEvent? Waiters may never observe the event being set.

    1. Yup. Kernel events have the same behavior.

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