The volatile keyword is a type qualifier used to declare that an object can be modified in the program by something other than statements, such as the operating system, the hardware, or a concurrently executing thread.
The following example declares a volatile integer nVint whose value can be modified by external processes:
int volatile nVint;
Objects declared as volatile are not used in optimizations because their value can change at any time. The system always reads the current value of a volatile object at the point it is requested, even if the previous instruction asked for a value from the same object. Also, the value of the object is written immediately on assignment.
One use of the volatile qualifier is to provide access to memory locations used by asynchronous processes such as interrupt handlers.
For related information, see const.