An atomic operation is one which can be considered, from the perspective of the computing context in which it occurs, to be executed in a single step. Atomic operations either succeed entirely or fail, with no intermediate states.

An atomic operation is one which can be considered, from the perspective of the larger computing context in which it occurs, to be executed in a single step. During its execution, no other process can read or alter its state. Atomic operations should either succeed or fail; if the operation can halt in some other, partially-completed state then it is not considered atomic.

Atomic operations are crucial to reliable computing processes, particularly in concurrent and transactional systems.

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