In computer science, inter-process communication or interprocess communication (IPC) refers specifically to the mechanisms an operating system provides to allow the processes to manage shared data. Typically, applications can use IPC, categorized as clients and servers, where the client requests data and the server responds to client requests.[1] Many applications are both clients and servers, as commonly seen in distributed computing.

A grid computing system that connects many personal computers over the Internet via inter-process network communication

IPC is very important to the design process for microkernels and nanokernels, which reduce the number of functionalities provided by the kernel. Those functionalities are then obtained by communicating with servers via IPC, leading to a large increase in communication when compared to a regular monolithic kernel. IPC interfaces generally encompass variable analytic framework structures. These processes ensure compatibility between the multi-vector protocols upon which IPC models rely.[2]

An IPC mechanism is either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronization primitives may be used to have synchronous behavior with an asynchronous IPC mechanism.