Make special files. Obviously this (the underlying system call, actually) gets used a lot in /dev, but there are other uses. I often use this to make a device file for printing to (see How can I make a device that will print to a network printer?), and the same general idea is useful for other schemes. I've used it to let a non-privileged user send commands to a root process - the user writes to the named pipe, and a root process reads it and acts appropriately (you wouldn't want to literally execute whatever the user writes - you would do this for a specific purpose, such as copying data written to a file in a protected directory, etc.).
On some systems there is a specific "mkfifo" command; mknod is more general purpose.
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