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Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) comprises new language features, runtime libraries, and system enhancements that provide systemic, comprehensive improvements to the support for concurrent code execution on multicore hardware in Mac OS X.

The BSD subsystem, CoreFoundation, and Cocoa APIs have all been extended to use these enhancements to help both Mac OS X and your application to run faster, more efficiently, and with improved responsiveness. Consider how difficult it is for a single application to use multiple cores effectively, let alone doing it on different computers with different numbers of computing cores or in an environment with multiple applications competing for those cores. GCD, operating at the system level, can better accommodate the needs of all running applications, matching them to the available system resources in a balanced fashion.

This document describes the GCD API. You should read this document if your application needs to operate at the Unix level of Mac OS X—for example, if it needs to manipulate file descriptors, Mach ports, signals, or timers. GCD is not restricted to system-level applications, but before you use it for higher-level applications, you should consider whether similar functionality provided in Cocoa (via NSOperation and block objects) would be easier to use or more appropriate for your needs. See Concurrency Programming Guide for more information.

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