Interprocess Communication




Interprocess Communication

Processes executing concurrently in the operating system may be either independent processes or cooperating processes. A process is independent if it cannot affect or be affected by the other processes executing in the system. Any process that does not share data with any other process is independent. A process is cooperating if it can affect or be affected by the other processes executing in the system. Clearly, any process that shares data with other processes is a cooperating process.

Interprocess Communication

There are several reasons for providing an environment that allows process cooperation:

 • Information sharing. Since several users may be interested in the same piece of information (for instance, a shared file), we must provide an environment to allow concurrent access to such information.

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Computation speedup. If we want a particular task to run faster, we must break it into subtasks, each of which will be executing in parallel with the others. Notice that such a speedup can be achieved only if the computer has multiple processing elements (such as CPUs or I/O channels).

Modularity. We may want to construct the system in a modular fashion, dividing the system functions into separate processes or threads.

 • Convenience. Even an individual user may work on many tasks at the same time. For instance, a user may be editing, printing, and compiling in parallel.

Cooperating processes require an inter process communication (IPC) mechanism that will allow them to exchange data and information. There are two fundamental models of inter process communication:

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  1. shared memory and
  2. message passing.

In the shared-memory model, a region of memory that is shared by cooperating processes is established. Processes can then exchange information by reading and writing data to the shared region. In the message passing model, communication takes place by means of messages exchanged between the cooperating processes. The two communications models are contrasted.

Both of the models just discussed are common in operating systems, and many systems implement both. Message passing is useful for exchanging smaller amounts of data, because no conflicts need be avoided. Message passing is also easier to implement than is shared memory for inter computer communication. Shared memory allows maximum speed and convenience of communication, as it can be done at memory speeds when within a computer. Shared memory is faster than message passing, as message-passing systems are typically implemented using system calls and thus require the more time consuming task of kernel intervention. In contrast, in shared-memory systems, system calls are required only to establish shared-memory regions. Once shared memory is established, all accesses are treated as routine memory accesses, and no assistance from the kernel is required. In the remainder of this section, we explore each of these IPC models in more detail.



Frequently Asked Questions

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Ans: Process scheduling selects processes from the queue and loads them into memory for execution. Process loads into the memory for CPU scheduling. The primary objective of the job scheduler is to provide a balanced mix of jobs, such as I/O bound and processor bound. ... Time-sharing operating systems have no long term scheduler. view more..
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Ans: Multiprocessing is the use of two or more central processing units (CPUs) within a single computer system. The term also refers to the ability of a system to support more than one processor or the ability to allocate tasks between them. view more..
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Ans: A batch system executes jobs, whereas a time-shared system has user programs, or tasks. Even on a single-user system such as Microsoft Windows, a user may be able to run several programs at one time: a word processor, a web browser, and an e-mail package. Even if the user can execute only one program at a time, the operating system may need to suppoft its own internal programmed activities, such as memory management. view more..
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Ans: Inter process communication (IPC) is a mechanism which allows processes to communicate each other and synchronize their actions. The communication between these processes can be seen as a method of co-operation between them. Processes can communicate with each other using these two ways: Shared Memory. Message passing. view more..
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Ans: Direct memory access (DMA) is a method that allows an input/output (I/O) device to send or receive data directly to or from the main memory, bypassing the CPU to speed up memory operations. The process is managed by a chip known as a DMA controller (DMAC) view more..
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Ans: An instruction cycle (sometimes called a fetch–decode–execute cycle) is the basic operational process of a computer. It is the process by which a computer retrieves a program instruction from its memory, determines what actions the instruction dictates, and carries out those actions. view more..
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Ans: System programs provide a convenient environment for program development and execution. Some of them are simply user interfaces to system calls; others are considerably more complex view more..
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Ans: After an operating system is generated, it must be made available for use by the hardware. But how does the hardware know where the kernel is or how to load that kernel? The procedure of starting a computer by loading the kernel is known as booting the system. view more..
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Ans: A system as large and complex as a modern operating system must be engineered carefully if it is to function properly and be modified easily. A common approach is to partition the task into small components rather than have one monolithic system. Each of these modules should be a well-defined portion of the system, with carefully defined inputs, outputs, and functions. view more..
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Ans: System calls provide an interface to the services made available by an operating system. These calls are generally available as routines written in C and C++, although certain low-level tasks (for example, tasks where hardware must be accessed directly), may need to be written using assembly-language instructions. view more..
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Ans: Before we can explore the details of how computer systems operate, we need a general knowledge of the structure of a computer system. In this section, we look at several parts of this structure to round out our background knowledge. view more..
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Ans: It is possible to design, code, and implement an operating system specifically for one machine at one site. More commonly, however, operating systems are designed to run on any of a class of machines at a variety of sites with a variety of peripheral configurations. The system must then be configured or generated for each specific computer site, a process sometimes known as system generation (SYSGEN). The operating system is normally distributed on disk or CD-ROM. To generate a system, we use a special program. The SYSGEN program reads from a given file, or asks the operator of the system for information concerning the specific configuration of the hardware system, or probes the hardware directly to determine what components are there. view more..
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Ans: A question that arises in discussing operating systems involves what to call all the CPU activities. A batch system executes jobs, whereas a time-shared system has user programs, or tasks. Even on a single-user system such as Microsoft Windows, a user may be able to run several programs at one time: a word processor, a web browser, and an e-mail package. Even if the user can execute only one program at a time, the operating system may need to support its own internal programmed activities, such as memory management. In many respects, all these activities are similar, so we call all of them processes. The terms job and process are used almost interchangeably in this text. Although we personally prefer the term process, much of operating-system theory and terminology was developed during a time when the major activity of operating systems was job processing. It would be misleading to avoid the use of commonly accepted terms that include the word job (such as job scheduling) simply because process has superseded job. view more..
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Ans: An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. view more..
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Ans: The processes in most systems can execute concurrently, and they may be created and deleted dynamically. Thus, these systems must provide a mechanism for process creation and termination. we explore the mechanisms involved in creating processes and illustrate process creation on UNIX and Windows systems view more..
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Ans: A thread is a basic unit of CPU utilization; it comprises a thread ID, a program counter, a register set, and a stack. It shares with other threads belonging to the same process its code section, data section, and other operating-system resources, such as open files and signals. A traditional (or heavyweight) process has a single thread of control.If a process has multiple threads of control, it can perform more than one task at a time view more..
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Ans: Our discussion so far has treated threads in a generic sense. However, support for threads may be provided either at the user level, for user threads, or by the kernel, for kernel threads. User threads are supported above the kernel and are managed without kernel support, whereas kernel threads are supported and managed directly by the operating system. Virtually all contemporary operating systems—including Windows XP, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and Tru64 UNIX (formerly Digital UNIX)—support kernel threads. Ultimately, there must exist a relationship between user threads and kernel threads. In this section, we look at three common ways of establishing this relationship. view more..
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Ans: The critical-section problem is to design a protocol that the processes can use to cooperate. Each process must request permission to enter its critical section. The section of code implementing this request is the entry section. The critical section may be followed by an exit section. The remaining code is the remainder section. The general structure of a typical process P. The entry section and exit section are enclosed in boxes to highlight these important segments of code. view more..




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