CPU scheduling

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To understand CPU scheduling it is essential to know the concept of process management. All modern computers can do several things at the same time. While running a user program, a computer can also be reading from a disk and outputting text to a screen or printer.


Sometimes people speak of pseudoparallelism in this context, to contrast it with the true hardware parallelism of multiprocessor systems (which have two or more CPUs sharing the same physical memory). Keeping track of multiple, parallel activities is hard for people to do. Therefore, operating system designers over the years have evolved a conceptual model (sequential processes) that makes parallelism easier to deal with. (Tanenbaum, 2006).
The difference between a process and a program is subtle, but crucial. An analogy may help make this point clearer. Consider a culinary-minded computer scientist who is baking a birthday cake for his daughter. He has a birthday cake recipe and a kitchen well stocked with the necessary input: flour, eggs, sugar, extract of vanilla, and so on. In this analogy, the recipe is the program (i.e., an algorithm expressed in some suitable notation), the computer scientist is the processor (CPU), and the cake ingredients are the input data. The process is the activity consisting of our baker reading the recipe, fetching the ingredients, and baking the cake. The key idea here is that a process is an activity of some kind. It has a program, input, output, and a state. A single processor may be shared among several processes, with some scheduling algorithm being used to determine when to stop work on one process and service a different one.
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