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Important terms used in the Process state Diagram | Operating System

This article will cover all those terms which you must know while studying the process state diagram. In this article, we will define the terms like context switching, and will also understand what is overhead, and what the meaning of Degree of Multiprogramming is while dealing with Operating Systems.
Submitted by Monika Sharma, on June 27, 2019

1) Context Switching

Whenever a process is transferred within the system, it moves within different states. These states are known as the process states. When a process goes from one state to another state inside the system, then it is termed as context switching. It can be said that for executing, a process context switches between the different Process States. Context Switching is very important because, without it, a process cannot be executed.

2) Overhead

As we know that the Running State is the most important state as it is the state in which the process executes inside the processor. So, to maximize the use of the processor and to increase the efficiency and performance of any system, the running state must never be empty. But there are cases when a process residing in the running state completes its execution and goes into the termination state, but due to unavailability of any process in the ready state, the dispatcher is not able to transfer any process into the running state and till that time the running state remains empty. This is known as overhead.

3) Degree of Multiprogramming

It can be defined as the maximum number of processes that can be handled by the main memory at any particular instance of time. The degree of multiprogramming is maintained inside the main memory by the Mid Term Schedulers. This increases the speed and performance of the system.

Graphically, the degree of multiprogramming can be represented as follows:

process state diagram

Here, throughput refers to the number of processes residing in the main memory at that particular instance of time. It is also termed as CPU utilization.

4) Dispatcher

The Job of the dispatcher is to dispatch the scheduled processes from the Ready State to the Running State one by one. It should be noted that a process can enter into the running state from no other state but the ready state and this process of transferring the process from the ready state to the running state is performed by the dispatcher.


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