.NET C# Task Parallel Library -synchronization Q&A

Abhishek Malaviya
2 min readSep 14, 2023

Is there any problem with the following code snippet?

using System.Threading.Tasks;  

private readonly object obj = new object();

async Task MyTask()
{
// Acquire the lock
lock(obj)
{
// Ensure that ProcessData is awaited correctly
await ProcessData();
}
}

async Task<string> ProcessData()
{
await Task.Delay(3000);
return "Data processed";
}
Concurrency

Yes, there is an issue with the provided code. We are mixing asynchronous and synchronous code by using the lock statement within an async method ‘MyTask’. This can lead to potential deadlocks or unexpected behavior.

The lock statement is a synchronous mechanism for acquiring a lock on an object. In this code, when lock(obj) is called, it will block the current thread until it can acquire the lock on the obj object. However, while the thread is blocked, it’s not released back to the thread pool, which can lead to thread pool starvation.

In an async method like MyTask, it’s generally recommended to use asynchronous synchronization primitives like SemaphoreSlim or AsyncLock to avoid blocking threads and maintain the benefits of asynchronous programming.

Here’s an example of how we can modify above code to use SemaphoreSlim:

private readonly SemaphoreSlim semaphore = new SemaphoreSlim(1, 1);

async Task MyTask()
{
// Acquire the semaphore
await semaphore.WaitAsync();
try
{
// Ensure that ProcessData is awaited correctly
await ProcessData();
}
finally
{
// Release the semaphore
semaphore.Release();
}
}

async Task<string> ProcessData()
{
await Task.Delay(3000);
return "Data processed";
}

In this example, we use SemaphoreSlim to control access to the critical section of code. WaitAsync is an asynchronous method that will allow multiple asynchronous tasks to await the semaphore without blocking threads. When a task is done, it should release the semaphore using Release. This approach allows for better concurrency and avoids the potential deadlock issues associated with mixing lock and async code.

Thanks for reading.

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Abhishek Malaviya

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