Scheduling is a key concept in computer multitasking and multiprocessing operating system design, and in real-time operating system design. In modern operating systems, there are typically many more processes running than there are CPUs available to run them. Scheduling refers to the way processes are assigned to run on the available CPUs. This assignment is carried out by software known as a scheduler or is sometimes referred to as a dispatcher.
The scheduler is concerned mainly with:
* CPU utilization - to keep the CPU as busy as possible.
* Throughput - number of process that complete their execution per time unit.
* Turnaround - total time between submission of a process and its completion.
* Waiting time - amount of time a process has been waiting in the ready queue.
* Response time - amount of time it takes from when a request was submitted until the first response is produced.
* Fairness - Equal CPU time to each thread.
In real-time environments, such as mobile devices for automatic control in industry (for example robotics), the scheduler also must ensure that processes can meet deadlines; this is crucial for keeping the system stable. Scheduled tasks are sent to mobile devices and managed through an administrative back end.
In typical designs, a task has three states: 1) running, 2) ready, 3) blocked. Most tasks are blocked, most of the time. Only one task per CPU is running. In simpler systems, the ready list is usually short, two or three tasks at most.
The real key is designing the scheduler. Usually the data structure of the ready list in the scheduler is designed to minimize the worst-case length of time spent in the scheduler's critical section, during which preemption is inhibited, and, in some cases, all interrupts are disabled. But, the choice of data structure depends also on the maximum number of tasks that can be on the ready list.
If there are never more than a few tasks on the ready list, then a simple unsorted bidirectional linked list of ready tasks is likely optimal. If the ready list usually contains only a few tasks but occasionally contains more, then the list should be sorted by priority, so that finding the highest priority task to run does not require iterating through the entire list. Inserting a task then requires walking the ready list until reaching either the end of the list, or a task of lower priority than that of the task being inserted. Care must be taken not to inhibit preemption during this entire search; the otherwise-long critical section should probably be divided into small pieces, so that if, during the insertion of a low priority task, an interrupt occurs that makes a high priority task ready, that high priority task can be inserted and run immediately (before the low priority task is inserted).
The critical response time, sometimes called the flyback time, is the time it takes to queue a new ready task and restore the state of the highest priority task. In a well-designed RTOS, readying a new task will take 3-20 instructions per ready queue entry, and restoration of the highest-priority ready task will take 5-30 instructions. On a 20MHz 68000 processor, task switch times run about 20 microseconds with two tasks ready. 100 MHz ARM CPUs switch in a few microseconds.
In more advanced real-time systems, real-time tasks share computing resources with many non-real-time tasks, and the ready list can be arbitrarily long. In such systems, a scheduler ready list implemented as a linked list would be inadequate.
The long-term, or admission, scheduler decides which jobs or processes are to be admitted to the ready queue; that is, when an attempt is made to execute a program, its admission to the set of currently executing processes is either authorized or delayed by the long-term scheduler. Thus, this scheduler dictates what processes are to run on a system, and the degree of concurrency to be supported at any one time - ie: whether a high or low amount of processes are to be executed concurrently, and how the split between IO intensive and CPU intensive processes is to be handled.
In modern OS's, this is used to make sure that real time processes get enough CPU time to finish their tasks. Without proper real time scheduling, modern GUI interfaces would seem sluggish. [Stallings, 399].1
Long-term scheduling is also important in large-scale systems such as batch processing systems, computer clusters, supercomputers and render farms. In these cases, special purpose job scheduler software is typically used to assist these functions, in addition to any underlying admission scheduling support in the operating system.
The mid-term scheduler, present in all systems with virtual memory, temporarily removes processes from main memory and places them on secondary memory (such as a disk drive) or vice versa. This is commonly referred to as "swapping out" or "swapping in" (also incorrectly as "paging out" or "paging in"). The mid-term scheduler may decide to swap out a process which has not been active for some time, or a process which has a low priority, or a process which is page faulting frequently, or a process which is taking up a large amount of memory in order to free up main memory for other processes, swapping the process back in later when more memory is available, or when the process has been unblocked and is no longer waiting for a resource. [Stallings, 396] [Stallings, 370]
In many systems today (those that support mapping virtual address space to secondary storage other than the swap file), the mid-term scheduler may actually perform the role of the long-term scheduler, by treating binaries as "swapped out processes" upon their execution. In this way, when a segment of the binary is required it can be swapped in on demand, or "lazy loaded".
The short-term scheduler (also known as the CPU scheduler) decides which of the ready, in-memory processes are to be executed (allocated a CPU) next following a clock interrupt, an IO interrupt, an operating system call or another form of signal. Thus the short-term scheduler makes scheduling decisions much more frequently than the long-term or mid-term schedulers - a scheduling decision will at a minimum have to be made after every time slice, and these are very short. This scheduler can be preemptive, implying that it is capable of forcibly removing processes from a CPU when it decides to allocate that CPU to another process, or non-preemptive (also known as "voluntary" or "co-operative"), in which case the scheduler is unable to "force" processes off the CPU.
Another component involved in the CPU-scheduling function is the dispatcher. The dispatcher is the module that gives control of the CPU to the process selected by the short-term scheduler. This function involves the following:
* Switching context
* Switching to user mode
* Jumping to the proper location in the user program to restart that program
The dispatcher should be as fast as possible, since it is invoked during every process switch. The time it takes for the dispatcher to stop one process and start another running is known as the dispatch latency.
Fig(Scheduler in OS)