RESEARCH ON PROCESSES AND THREADS

RESEARCH ON PROCESSES AND THREADS

In "INTRODUCTION", we examined some of the current research in operating system structure. In this and subsequent sections we will consider more narrowly focused research, starting with processes. As will become clear in time, some subjects are much more settled than others. Most of the research tends to be on the new topics, rather than ones that have been around for decades.

The concept of a process is an example of something that is fairly well settled. Almost every system has some notion of a process as a container for grouping together related resources such as an address space, threads, open files, protection permissions, and so on. Different systems do the grouping somewhat differently, but these are just engineering differences. The basic idea is not very controversial any more, and there is little new research on the subject of processes.

Threads are a newer idea than processes, but they, too, have been chewed over quite a bit. Still, the infrequent paper about threads appears from time to time, for instance, about thread clustering on multiprocessors (Tam et al., 2007) or scaling the number of threads in a process to 100,000 (Von Behren et al., 2003).

Process synchronization is pretty much cut and dried by now, but there is still a paper once in a while, such as one on concurrent processing without locks (Fraser and Harris, 2007) or nonblocking synchronization in real-time systems (Hohmuth and Haertig, 2001)

Scheduling (both uniprocessor and multiprocessor) is still a topic near and dear to the heart of some researchers. Some topics being researched include energy-efficient scheduling on mobile devices (Yuan and Nahrstedt, 2006), hyper-threading-aware scheduling (Bulpin and Pratt, 2005), what to do when the CPU would otherwise be idle (Eggert and Touch, 2005), and virtual-time scheduling (Nieh et al., 2001). However, few actual system designers are walking around all day wringing their hands for lack of a decent thread-scheduling algorithm, so it appears that this type of research is more researcher-push than demand-pull. All in all, processes, threads, and scheduling are not hot topics for research as they once were. The research has moved on.



Tags

operating system, process synchronization, thread, multiprocessors, algorithm