Why is Peterson's algorithm better at mutual exclusion that its predecessors?

In very basic terms, what is the problem of mutual exclusion and how does Peterson’s Algorithm work? I only know that it sets variables equal to 0 or 1 as a way to signal which process can enter the critical region. What is the critical region? Why does Peterson’s Algorithm work better than the earlier attempts at mutual exclusion?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

The critical region is a piece of code that must not be concurrently accessed by more than one thread of execution.
Peterson's Algorithm accomplishes mutual exclusion in a way that is simpler than Dekker's Algorithm which preceded it.
It also works better than algorithms earlier than Dekker's in that it avoids deadlock and starvation using only shared memory and not requiring  (atomic read/modify/write) instructions.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.