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Friday, May 21, 2010

Five-state process management model

While the three state model is sufficient to describe the behavior of processes with the given events, we have to extend the model to allow for other possible events, and for more sophisticated design. In particular, the use of a portion of the hard disk to emulate main memory (so called virtual memory) requires additional states to describe the state of processes which are suspended from main memory, and placed in virtual memory (on disk). Of course, such processes can, at a future time, be resumed by being transferred back into main memory. The Medium Level Scheduler controls these events. A process can be suspended from the RUNNING, READY or BLOCKED state, giving rise to two other states, namely, READY SUSPEND and BLOCKED SUSPEND. A RUNNING process that is suspended becomes READY SUSPEND, and a BLOCKED process that is suspended becomes BLOCKED SUSPEND. A process can be suspended for a number of reasons; the most significant of which arises from the process being swapped out of memory by the memory management system in order to free memory for other processes. Other common reasons for a process being suspended are when one suspends execution while debugging a program, or when the system is monitoring processes. For the five-state process management model, consider the following transitions described in the next sections.

* BLOCKED → BLOCKED SUSPEND If a process in the RUNNING state requires more memory, then at least one BLOCKED process can be swapped out of memory onto disk. The transition can also be made for the BLOCKED process if there are READY processes available, and the OS determines that the READY process that it would like to dispatch requires more main memory to maintain adequate performance.

* BLOCKED SUSPEND → READY SUSPEND A process in the BLOCKED SUSPEND state is moved to the READY SUSPEND state when the event for which it has been waiting occurs. Note that this requires that the state information concerning suspended processes be accessible to the OS.

* READY SUSPEND → READY When there are no READY processes in main memory, the OS will need to bring one in to continue execution. In addition, it might be the case that a process in the READY SUSPEND state has higher priority than any of the processes in the READY state. In that case, the OS designer may dictate that it is more important to get at the higher priority process than to minimise swapping.

* READY → READY SUSPEND Normally, the OS would be designed so that the preference would be to suspend a BLOCKED process rather than a READY one. This is because the READY process can be executed as soon as the CPU becomes available for it, whereas the BLOCKED process is taking up main memory space and cannot be executed since it is waiting on some other event to occur. However, it may be necessary to suspend a READY process if that is the only way to free a sufficiently large block of main memory. Finally, the OS may choose to suspend a lower-priority READY process rather than a higher-priority BLOCKED process if it believes that the BLOCKED process will be ready soon.

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