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Locks are useful to protect read and write safety. By locking an array or a pointer, the user can guarantee that only one thread can access the critical section at a time. One must be careful when using locks as an improper locking order can cause a deadlock in the program and no work can be achieved.

Barriers are useful if there are multiple highly parallelizable tasks that occur sequentially. Thus, all of the threads can be used on the first task. Then a barrier put in place to make sure that all threads reach that point. Then all the threads can be used for the second task as well. A barrier is necessary in some cases because the user needs to know that their critical section, perhaps an array, will no longer be modified.