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2.3: Difference between multitasking, multithreading and multiprocessing

  • Page ID
    45630
  • Multi-programming

    In a modern computing system, there are usually several concurrent application processes which want to execute. It is the responsibility of the operating system to manage all the processes effectively and efficiently. One of the most important aspects of an operating system is to provide the capability to multi-program.

    In a computer system, there are multiple processes waiting to be executed, i.e. they are waiting while the CPU is allocated to other processes. The main memory is too small to accommodate all of these processes or jobs. Thus, these processes are initially kept in an area called job pool. This job pool consists of all those processes awaiting allocation of main memory and CPU.

    The scheduler selects a job out of the job pool, brings it into main memory and begins executing it. The processor executes one job until one of several factors interrupt its processing: 1) the process uses up its allotted time; 2) some other interrupt (we will talk more about interrupts) causes the processor to stop executing this process; 3) the process goes into a wait state waiting on an I/O request.

    Non-multi-programmed system concepts:

    • In a non multi-programmed system, as soon as one job hits any type of interrupt or wait state, the CPU becomes idle. The CPU keeps waiting and waiting until this job (which was executing earlier) comes back and resumes its execution with the CPU. So CPU remains idle for a period of time.
    • There are drawbacks when the CPU remains idle for a very long period of time. Other jobs which are waiting for the processor will not get a chance to execute because the CPU is still allocated to the job that is in a wait state.
      This poses a very serious problem - even though other jobs are ready to execute, the CPU is not available to them because it is still allocated to a job which is not even utilizing it.
    • It is possible that  one job is using the CPU for an extended period of time, while other jobs sit in the queue waiting for access to the CPU. In order to work around such scenarios like this the concept of multi-programming developed to increase the CPU utilization and thereby the overall efficiency of the system.

    The main idea of multi-programming is to maximize the CPU time.

    Multi-programmed system concepts:

    • In a multi-programmed system, as soon as one job goes gets interrupted or goes into a wait state, the cpu selects the next job from the scheduler  and starts its execution. Once the previous job resolves the reason for its interruption - perhaps the I/O completes - goes back into the job pool. If the second job goes into a wait state, the CPU chooses a third job and starts executing it. 
    • This makes for much more efficient use of the CPU. Therefore, the ultimate goal of multi-programming is to keep the CPU busy as long as there are processes ready to execute. This way, multiple programs can be executed on a single processor by executing a part of a program at one time, a part of another program after this, then a part of another program and so on, hence executing multiple programs
    • In the image below, program A runs for some time and then goes to waiting state. In the mean time program B begins its execution. So the CPU does not waste its resources and gives program B an opportunity to run. There is still time slots where the processor is waiting - other programs could be run if necessary.

     

    Multiple processes can run, with each taking a slice of time, and when it goes into a wait state, then another process can execute, until the other process is awakened from the the interrupt
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Multiprogramming. ("Multiprogramming" by Darshan L.Geeks for Geeks is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

    Adapted from:
    "Difference between Multiprogramming, multitasking, multithreading and multiprocessing" by Darshan L.Geeks for Geeks is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0