Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article
master-slave system A system that has more than one processor and in which one of the processors is designated as being the master and all other processors are slaves. The master processor is capable of actions that the slaves cannot perform, usually in connection with resource scheduling and the initiation of peripheral transfers. This approach means that the problems of synchronization are greatly reduced, since only the master processor can be active in what might otherwise be critical regions. It has the drawbacks of introducing an artificial asymmetry between processors, and of causing delays when processes that might be able to proceed are in fact delayed since the only available processors do not have the necessary privileges.