Operating System | Process Synchronization | Introduction

On the basis of synchronization, processes are categorized as one of the following two types:

  • Independent Process : Execution of one process does not affects the execution of other processes.
  • Cooperative Process : Execution of one process affects the execution of other processes.

Process synchronization problem arises in the case of Cooperative process also because resources are shared in Cooperative processes.

Critical Section Problem

Critical section is a code segment that can be accessed by only one process at a time. Critical section contains shared variables which need to be synchronized to maintain consistency of data variables.

do{

entry section

critical section

exit section

remainder section

}while(TRUE);

In the entry section, the process requests for entry in the Critical Section.

Any solution to the critical section problem must satisfy three requirements:

  • Mutual Exclusion : If a process is executing in its critical section, then no other process is allowed to execute in the critical section.
  • Progress : If no process is in the critical section, then no other process from outside can block it from entering the critical section.
  • Bounded Waiting : A bound must exist on the number of times that other processes are allowed to enter their critical sections after a process has made a request to enter its critical section and before that request is granted.

Peterson’s Solution
Peterson’s Solution is a classical software based solution to the critical section problem.

In Peterson’s solution, we have two shared variables:

  • boolean flag[i] :Initialized to FALSE, initially no one is interested in entering the critical section
  • int turn : The process whose turn is to enter the critical section.

do{

flag[i]=TRUE;

turn=j;

while(flag[i] && turn==j);

critical section

flag[i]=FALSE;

remainder section

}while(TRUE);

Peterson’s Solution preserves all three conditions :

  • Mutual Exclusion is assured as only one process can access the critical section at any time.
  • Progress is also assured, as a process outside the critical section does not blocks other processes from entering the critical section.
  • Bounded Waiting is preserved as every process gets a fair chance.
  • It involves Busy waiting
  • It is limited to 2 processes.

Binary Semaphores : They can only be either 0 or 1. They are also known as mutex locks, as the locks can provide mutual exclusion. All the processes can share the same mutex semaphore that is initialized to 1. Then, a process has to wait until the lock becomes 0. Then, the process can make the mutex semaphore 1 and start its critical section. When it completes its critical section, it can reset the value of mutex semaphore to 0 and some other process can enter its critical section.

Counting Semaphores : They can have any value and are not restricted over a certain domain. They can be used to control access a resource that has a limitation on the number of simultaneous accesses. The semaphore can be initialized to the number of instances of the resource. Whenever a process wants to use that resource, it checks if the number of remaining instances is more than zero, i.e., the process has an instance available. Then, the process can enter its critical section thereby decreasing the value of the counting semaphore by 1. After the process is over with the use of the instance of the resource, it can leave the critical section thereby adding 1 to the number of available instances of the resource.

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Operating System | Critical Section

Critical Section:

In simple terms a critical section is group of instructions/statements or region of code that need to be executed atomically, such as accessing a resource (file, input or output port, global data, etc.).

In concurrent programming, if one thread tries to change the value of shared data at the same time as another thread tries to read the value (i.e. data race across threads), the result is unpredictable.

The access to such shared variable (shared memory, shared files, shared port, etc…) to be synchronized. Few programming languages have built in support for synchronization.

It is critical to understand the importance of race condition while writing kernel mode programming (a device driver, kernel thread, etc.). since the programmer can directly access and modifying kernel data structures.

A simple solution to critical section can be thought as shown below,

acquireLock();
Process Critical Section
releaseLock();

A thread must acquire a lock prior to executing critical section. The lock can be acquired by only one thread. There are various ways to implement locks in the above pseudo code.

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Operating System | Process Management | CPU Scheduling

Scheduling of processes/work is done to finish the work on time.

Below are different time with respect to a process.

Arrival Time:       Time at which the process arrives in the ready queue.
Completion Time:    Time at which process completes its execution.
Burst Time:         Time required by a process for CPU execution.
Turn Around Time:   Time Difference between completion time and arrival time.          
     Turn Around Time = Completion Time - Arrival Time
Waiting Time(W.T): Time Difference between turn around time and burst time.
     Waiting Time = Turn Around Time - Burst Time

Why do we need scheduling?
A typical process involves both I/O time and CPU time. In a uniprogramming system like MS-DOS, time spent waiting for I/O is wasted and CPU is free during this time. In multiprogramming systems, one process can use CPU while another is waiting for I/O. This is possible only with process scheduling.

Objectives of Process Scheduling Algorithm

Max CPU utilization [Keep CPU as busy as possible]
Fair allocation of CPU.
Max throughput [Number of processes that complete their execution per time unit]
Min turnaround time [Time taken by a process to finish execution]
Min waiting time [Time a process waits in ready queue]
Min response time [Time when a process produces first response]

Different Scheduling Algorithms

First Come First Serve (FCFS): Simplest scheduling algorithm that schedules according to arrival times of processes.

Shortest Job First(SJF): Process which have the shortest burst time are scheduled first.

Shortest Remaining Time First(SRTF): It is preemptive mode of SJF algorithm in which jobs are schedule according to shortest remaining time.

Round Robin Scheduling: Each process is assigned a fixed time in cyclic way.

Priority Based scheduling (Non Preemptive): In this scheduling, processes are scheduled according to their priorities, i.e., highest priority process is schedule first. If priorities of two processes match, then schedule according to arrival time.

Highest Response Ratio Next (HRRN) In this scheduling, processes with highest response ratio is scheduled. This algorithm avoids starvation.

Response Ratio = (Waiting Time + Burst time) / Burst time

Multilevel Queue Scheduling: According to the priority of process, processes are placed in the different queues. Generally high priority process are placed in the top level queue. Only after completion of processes from top level queue, lower level queued processes are scheduled.

Multi level Feedback Queue Scheduling: It allows the process to move in between queues. The idea is to separate processes according to the characteristics of their CPU bursts. If a process uses too much CPU time, it is moved to a lower-priority queue.

Some useful facts about Scheduling Algorithms:
1) FCFS can cause long waiting times, especially when the first job takes too much CPU time.

2) Both SJF and Shortest Remaining time first algorithms may cause starvation. Consider a situation when long process is there in ready queue and shorter processes keep coming.

3) If time quantum for Round Robin scheduling is very large, then it behaves same as FCFS scheduling.

4) SJF is optimal in terms of average waiting time for a given set of processes,i.e., average waiting time is minimum with this scheduling, but problems is, how to know/predict time of next job.

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Operating System | Process Scheduler

There are three types of process scheduler.

1. Long Term or job scheduler It bring the new process to the ‘Ready State’. It controls Degree of Multi-programming, i.e., number of process present in ready state at any point of time.

2. Short term ot CPU scheduler: It is responsible for selecting one process from ready state for scheduling it on the running state. Note: Short term scheduler only selects the process to schedule it doesn’t load the process on running.
Dispatcher is responsible for loading the selected process by Short Term scheduler on the CPU (Ready to Running State) Context switching is done by dispatcher only. A dispatcher does following:
1) Switching context.
2) Switching to user mode.
3) Jumping to the proper location in the newly loaded program.

3. Medium term scheduler It is responsible for suspending and resuming the process. It mainly does swapping (moving processes from main memory to disk and vice versa).

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