tight loop

(programming)   A loop of code that executes without releasing any resources to other programs or the operating system.

Consider the following pointless BASIC loop that counts upward indefinitely

 10 i = i + 1
 20 GOTO 10
Run on a single-user system such as MS-DOS this will not cause any problems. Run on a cooperative multitasking operating system such as Windows 3, the system would appear to freeze.

A pre-emptive multitasking operating system such as UNIX or Windows NT would "steal" cycles away from the program and continue to run other programs.

See also busy-wait and multitasking.

Last updated: 1999-05-06


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