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Process Schedulers in Operating System

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Process scheduling is the activity of the process manager that handles the removal of the running process from the CPU and the selection of another process on the basis of a particular strategy.

Process scheduling is an essential part of a Multiprogramming operating system. Such operating systems allow more than one process to be loaded into the executable memory at a time and the loaded process shares the CPU using time multiplexing.

There are three types of process schedulers. 

  1. Long Term or job scheduler: 
    It brings the new process to the ‘Ready State’. It controls the Degree of Multi-programming, i.e., the number of processes present in a ready state at any point in time. It is important that the long-term scheduler make a careful selection of both I/O and CPU-bound processes. I/O-bound tasks are which use much of their time in input and output operations while CPU-bound processes are which spend their time on the CPU. The job scheduler increases efficiency by maintaining a balance between the two. They operate at a high level and are typically used in batch-processing systems.
  2. Short-term or CPU scheduler: 
    It is responsible for selecting one process from the ready state for scheduling it on the running state. Note: Short-term scheduler only selects the process to schedule it doesn’t load the process on running.  Here is when all the scheduling algorithms are used. The CPU scheduler is responsible for ensuring there is no starvation owing to high burst time processes.
    The dispatcher is responsible for loading the process selected by the Short-term scheduler on the CPU (Ready to Running State) Context switching is done by the dispatcher only. A dispatcher does the following: 
    1. Switching context.
    2. Switching to user mode.
    3. Jumping to the proper location in the newly loaded program.
  3. Medium-term scheduler: 
    It is responsible for suspending and resuming the process. It mainly does swapping (moving processes from main memory to disk and vice versa). Swapping may be necessary to improve the process mix or because a change in memory requirements has overcommitted available memory, requiring memory to be freed up. It is helpful in maintaining a perfect balance between the I/O bound and the CPU bound. It reduces the degree of multiprogramming.

Some other Schedulers:

  • I/O schedulers: I/O schedulers are incharge of managing the execution of I/O operations such as reading and writing to discs or networks. They can use various algorithms to determine the order in which I/O operations are executed, such as FCFS (First-Come, First-Served) or RR (Round Robin).
  • Real-time schedulers: In real-time systems, real-time schedulers ensure that critical tasks are completed within a specified time frame. They can prioritize and schedule tasks using various algorithms such as EDF (Earliest Deadline First) or RM (Rate Monotonic).


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Last Updated : 22 Jan, 2023
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