Process Management in Operating Systems

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Which scheduling algorithm executes processes in the order they are created?

First-come, first-served (FCFS)

What is the purpose of using semaphores in process synchronization?

To regulate access to shared resources

Which IPC method is used for communication between processes running on different machines?


What is the main function of condition variables in process synchronization?

To indicate when a resource is available for use

In process management, what does 'terminated' state signify?

A process has finished execution

Study Notes

Process Management in Operating Systems

Operating systems (OS) are the backbone of modern computing, managing and coordinating the resources of a computer for various applications and programs. Process management is one of the essential services within an operating system, responsible for controlling and overseeing the execution of programs, or processes, to ensure efficient and reliable use of system resources.

Definition and Principles

In the context of operating systems, a process is an instance of a program in execution. Each process has its own memory space, resources, and state, which is managed by the operating system. The main principles of process management include:

  1. Concurrency: Allowing multiple processes to execute simultaneously, sharing the CPU and other resources while appearing to execute in parallel.
  2. Multitasking: Switching between processes to give the impression of multiple programs running at once.
  3. Resource management: Assigning resources, including CPU time, memory, and I/O devices, to processes fairly and efficiently.
  4. Synchronization: Ensuring that processes do not interfere with each other and that critical resources are used appropriately.

Process States

Operating systems manage processes through different process states:

  1. New: A process has been created but has not yet been assigned CPU time.
  2. Ready: A process is ready to run.
  3. Running: A process is currently executing on the CPU.
  4. Waiting: A process is waiting for an event to occur, such as I/O completion.
  5. Terminated: A process has finished execution.

Process Scheduling

Process scheduling is the method by which the operating system decides which process should run next when multiple processes are ready to execute. Operating systems employ various scheduling algorithms, such as:

  1. First-come, first-served (FCFS): Processes are executed in the order they are created.
  2. Shortest job first (SJF): Processes with the shortest execution time are executed first.
  3. Round-robin: Processes are given fixed-length time slices to execute.
  4. Priority scheduling: Processes with higher priority are executed before lower priority processes.

Scheduling algorithms are designed to balance system performance, fairness, and responsiveness.

Process Synchronization

Process synchronization ensures that multiple processes do not interfere with each other and that critical resources are used appropriately. Common mechanisms for synchronization include:

  1. Semaphores: Discrete values used to regulate access to shared resources.
  2. Monitors: Protected blocks of code that only one process can access at a time.
  3. Mutexes: Exclusive locks used to prevent concurrent access to shared resources.
  4. Condition variables: Signal that a resource is ready for use.

Inter-process Communication (IPC)

Inter-process communication is the mechanism by which processes exchange data. Common methods of IPC include:

  1. Pipes: Used for inter-process communication between child and parent processes.
  2. Message queues: Used for passing messages between processes.
  3. Shared memory: Used for sharing data between processes.
  4. Sockets: Used for communication between processes running on different machines.


Process management is a fundamental aspect of operating systems, ensuring the efficient and reliable use of system resources. Process management services, including process states, scheduling, synchronization, and inter-process communication, allow multiple applications to execute simultaneously and share resources fairly. As computers continue to become more powerful and capable, process management will remain a critical discipline, allowing us to make the most of our computing resources and ensuring the stability and security of our systems.

Learn about the essential services of process management in operating systems, including process states, scheduling algorithms, synchronization mechanisms, and inter-process communication. Understand how operating systems manage and coordinate the execution of programs efficiently and reliably.

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