(Or "multi-tasking", "multiprogramming", "concurrent processing", "concurrency", "process scheduling") A technique used in an operating system for sharing a single processor between several independent jobs. The first multitasking operating systems were designed in the early 1960s.
Under "cooperative multitasking" the running task decides when to give up the CPU and under "pre-emptive multitasking" (probably more common) a system process called the "scheduler" suspends the currently running task after it has run for a fixed period known as a "time-slice". In both cases the scheduler is responsible for selecting the next task to run and (re)starting it.
The running task may relinquish control voluntarily even in a pre-emptive system if it is waiting for some external event. In either system a task may be suspended prematurely if a hardware interrupt occurs, especially if a higher priority task was waiting for this event and has the
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