Thread scheduling




Thread Scheduling

we introduced threads to the process model, distinguishing between user-level and kernel-level threads. On operating systems that support them, it is kernel-level threads—not processes—that are being scheduled by the operating system. User-level threads are managed by a thread library, and the kernel is unaware of them. To run on a CPU, user-level threads must ultimately be mapped to an associated kernel-level thread, although this mapping may be indirect and may use a lightweight process (LWP). In this section, we explore scheduling issues involving user-level and kernel-level threads and offer specific examples of scheduling for Pthreads.

Contention Scope

 One distinction between user-level and kernel-level threads lies in how they are scheduled. On systems implementing the many-to-one (Section 4.2.1) and many-to-many (Section 4.2.3) models, the thread library schedules user-level threads to run on an available LWP, a scheme known as process-contention scope (PCS), since competition for the CPU takes place among threads belonging to the same process. When we say the thread library schedules user threads onto available LWPs, we do not mean that the thread is actually running on a CPU; this would require the operating system to schedule the kernel thread onto a physical CPU. To decide which kernel thread to schedule onto a CPU, the kernel uses system-contention scope (SCS).

Thread scheduling

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Competition for the CPU with SCS scheduling takes place among all threads in the system. Systems using the one-to-one model (such as Windows XP, Solaris 9, and Linux) schedule threads using only SCS. Typically, PCS is done according to priority—the scheduler selects the runnable thread with the highest priority to run. User-level thread priorities are set by the programmer and are not adjusted by the thread library, although some thread libraries may allow the programmer to change the priority of a thread. It is important to note that PCS will typically preempt the thread currently running in favor of a higher-priority thread; however, there is no guarantee of time slicing (Section 5.3.4) among threads of equal priority.

Pthread Scheduling

 We provided a sample POSIX Pthread program in Section 4.3.1, along with an introduction to thread creation with Pthreads. Now, we highlight the POSIX Pthread API that allows specifying either PCS or SCS during thread creation. Pthreads identifies the following contention scope values: ® PTHREAD_SCOPEJPROCESS schedules threads using PCS scheduling.

• PTHREAD-SCOPE_SYSTEM schedules threads using SCS scheduling.

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On systems implementing the many-to-many model (Section 4.2.3), the PTHREAD_SCOPE_PROCESS policy schedules user-level threads onto available LVVPs. The number of LWFs is maintained by the thread library, perhaps using scheduler activations (Section 4.4.6). The PT HREAD_SCOPE_SYSTEM scheduling policy will create and bind an LWP for each user-level thread on many-to-many systems, effectively mapping threads using the one-to-one policy (Section 4'.2.2). The Pthread IPC provides the following two functions for getting—and setting—-the contention scope policy:

• pthread_attr_setscope(pthread_attr_t *attr, int scope)

 • pthread_attr_getscope(pthread_attr_t *attr, int *scope)

The first parameter for both functions contains a pointer to the attri^ite set for the thread. The second parameter for the pthread^attr^setscope 0 function is passed either the PTHREAD.SCOPE..SYSTEM or PTHREAD_5COPE_PROCESS value, indicating how the contention scope is to be set.

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In the case of pthread^attr_getscope(), this second parameter contains a pointer to an int value that is set to the current value of the contention scope. If an error occurs, each of these functions returns non-zero values. In Figure 5.9, we illustrate a Pthread program that first determines the existing contention scope and sets it to PTHREAD.SCOPE.PROCESS. It then creates five separate threads that will run using the SCS scheduling policy. Note that on some systems, only certain contention scope values are allowed. For example, Linux and Mac OS X systems allow only PTHREAD_SCOPE_SYSTEM.



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: Scheduling Criteria Different CPU scheduling algorithms have different properties, and the choice of a particular algorithm may favor one class of processes over another. In choosing which algorithm to use in a particular situation, we must consider the properties of the various algorithms. Many criteria have been suggested for comparing CPU scheduling algorithms. Which characteristics are used for comparison can make a substantial difference in which algorithm is judged to be best. The criteria include the following: • CPU utilization. We want to keep the CPU as busy as possible. Conceptually, CPU utilization can range from 0 to 100 percent. In a real system, it should range from 40 percent (for a lightly loaded system) to 90 percent (for a heavily used system). view more..
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Ans: Computing Environments : Traditional Computing, Client-Server Computing, Peer-to-Peer Computing, Web-Based Computing view more..
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Ans: Special-Purpose Systems The discussion thus far has focused on general-purpose computer systems that we are all familiar with. There are, however, different classes of computer systems whose functions are more limited and whose objective is to deal with limited computation domains. view more..
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Ans: Thread Scheduling we introduced threads to the process model, distinguishing between user-level and kernel-level threads. On operating systems that support them, it is kernel-level threads—not processes—that are being scheduled by the operating system. User-level threads are managed by a thread library, and the kernel is unaware of them. To run on a CPU, user-level threads must ultimately be mapped to an associated kernel-level thread, although this mapping may be indirect and may use a lightweight process (LWP). In this section, we explore scheduling issues involving user-level and kernel-level threads and offer specific examples of scheduling for Pthreads. view more..
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Ans: Thread Libraries A thread library provides the programmer an API for creating and managing threads. There are two primary ways of implementing a thread library. The first approach is to provide a library entirely in user space with no kernel support. All code and data structures for the library exist in user space. This means that invoking a function in the library results in a local function call in user space and not a system call. view more..
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Ans: we illustrate a classic software-based solution to the critical-section problem known as Peterson's solution. Because of the way modern computer architectures perform basic machine-language instructions, such as load and store, there are no guarantees that Peterson's solution will work correctly on such architectures. However, we present the solution because it provides a good algorithmic description of solving the critical-section problem and illustrates some of the complexities involved in designing software that addresses the requirements of mutual exclusion, progress, and bounded waiting requirements. Peterson's solution is restricted to two processes that alternate execution between their critical sections and remainder sections. The processes are numbered Po and Pi. view more..
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Ans: Synchronization Hardware We have just described one software-based solution to the critical-section problem. In general, we can state that any solution to the critical-section problem requires a simple tool—a lock. Race conditions are prevented by requiring that critical regions be protected by locks. That is, a process must acquire a lock before entering a critical section; it releases the lock when it exits the critical section. view more..
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Ans: System Model A system consists of a finite number of resources to be distributed among a number of competing processes. The resources are partitioned into several types, each consisting of some number of identical instances. Memory space, CPU cycles, files, and I/O devices (such as printers and DVD drives) are examples of resource types. If a system has two CPUs, then the resource type CPU has two instances. Similarly, the resource type printer may have five instances. If a process requests an instance of a resource type, the allocation of any instance of the type will satisfy the request. If it will not, then the instances are not identical, and the resource type classes have not been defined properly. view more..
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Ans: Deadlock Characterization In a deadlock, processes never finish executing, and system resources are tied up, preventing other jobs from starting. Before we discuss the various methods for dealing with the deadlock problem, we look more closely at features that characterize deadlocks. view more..
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Ans: Atomicity We introduced the concept of an atomic transaction, which is a program unit that must be executed atomically. That is, either all the operations associated with it are executed to completion, or none are performed. When we are dealing with a distributed system, ensuring the atomicity of a transaction becomes much more complicated than in a centralized system. This difficulty occurs because several sites may be participating in the execution of a single transaction. The failure of one of these sites, or the failure of a communication link connecting the sites, may result in erroneous computations. Ensuring that the execution of transactions in the distributed system preserves atomicity is the function of the transaction coordinator. Each site has its own local transaction coordinator, which is responsible for coordinating the execution of all the transactions initiated at that site. view more..
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Ans: Kernel Modules The Linux kernel has the ability to load and unload arbitrary sections of kernel code on demand. These loadable kernel modules run in privileged kernel mode and as a consequence have full access to all the hardware capabilities of the machine on which they run. In theory, there is no restriction on what a kernel module is allowed to do; typically, a module might implement a device driver, a file system, or a networking protocol. Kernel modules are convenient for several reasons. Linux's source code is free, so anybody wanting to write kernel code is able to compile a modified kernel and to reboot to load that new functionality; however, recompiling, relinking, and reloading the entire kernel is a cumbersome cycle to undertake when you are developing a new driver. If you use kernel modules, you do not have to make a new kernel to test a new driver—the driver can be compiled on its own and loaded into the already-running kernel. view more..
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Ans: Disk Attachment Computers access disk storage in two ways. One way is via I/O ports (or host-attached storage); this is common on small systems. The other way is via a remote host in a distributed file system; this is referred to as network-attached storage. view more..
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Ans: Memory-Mapped Files Consider a sequential read of a file on disk using the standard system calls openQ, readO, and writeQ. Each file access requires a system call and disk access. Alternatively, we can use the virtual memory techniques discussed so far to treat file I/O as routine memory accesses. This approach, known as memory mapping a file, allows a part of the virtual address space to be logically associated with the file. view more..
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Ans: Efficiency and Performance Now that we have discussed various block-allocation and directorymanagement options, we can further consider their effect on performance and efficient disk use. Disks tend to represent a major bottleneck in system performance, since they are the slowest main computer component. In this section, we discuss a variety of techniques used to improve the efficiency and performance of secondary storage. view more..
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Ans: Recovery Files and directories are kept both in main memory and on disk, and care must taken to ensure that system failure does not result in loss of data or in data inconsistency. view more..
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Ans: Log-Structured File Systems Computer scientists often find that algorithms and technologies originally used in one area are equally useful in other areas. Such is the case with the database log-based recovery algorithms described in Section 6.9.2. These logging algorithms have been applied successfully to the problem of consistency checking. The resulting implementations are known as log-based transaction-oriented (or journaling) file systems. view more..
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Ans: Example: The WAFL File System Disk I/O has a huge impact on system performance. As a result, file-system design and implementation command quite a lot of attention from system designers. Some file systems are general purpose, in that they can provide reasonable performance and functionality for a wide variety of file sizes, file types, and I/O loads. Others are optimized for specific tasks in an attempt to provide better performance in those areas than general-purpose file systems. view more..
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Ans: Network Structure There are basically two types of networks: local-area networks (LAN) and wide-area networks (WAN). The main difference between the two is the way in which they are geographically distributed. Local-area networks are composed of processors distributed over small areas (such as a single building? or a number of adjacent buildings), whereas wide-area networks are composed of a number of autonomous processors distributed over a large area (such as the United States). These differences imply major variations in the speed and reliability of the communications network, and they are reflected in the distributed operating-system design. view more..




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