Process Cooperation in Operating Systems: Definition & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Toya Stiger

Toya has a masters of computer science in computer science and has taught college students as an adjunct instructor.

In this lesson, you'll learn about operating system processes. We'll discuss the advantages of cooperating processes and a common problem used to better understand cooperating processes. Updated: 03/18/2020

OS Cooperation

The execution of processes within a computer cannot happen if there's no communication between the components. There are several components within a computer that help to ensure the success of each task, including the central processing unit (CPU), memory, and input/output (I/O) devices.

In today's computers, multiple processes are executed concurrently through the CPU. The operating system (OS) helps to manage the tasks the CPU needs to process by allotting CPU time to each request. This situation is similar to scheduling an appointment with your doctor. First, you call and make the appointment. On the day of your appointment, you sit in the waiting room. After you see your doctor, you leave. A similar sequence of events happens with the CPU. The OS receives a request for a task and schedules a time for the task to be released for CPU processing. When the CPU is ready for the task, it's executed and completed. The CPU then moves on to process the next task.

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  • 0:04 OS Cooperation
  • 1:09 Types of Processes
  • 1:39 Process Categories
  • 3:40 Producer-Consumer
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
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Types of Processes

There are two types of cooperative processes: independent and cooperating. Independent processes work independently of themselves. They do not affect and cannot be affected by other processes that are running within the operating system, nor do they share data with any processes or systems.

Cooperating processes can be affected by other processes and, in turn, affect other processes within the operating system. These processes share their data with other processes and systems.

Process Categories

There are several reasons for data to be shared within a computer system. For example, if two processes need to access the same file, one process will write to the file, while the other process reads from the file. Thus, each process could be affected by what the other does. Process cooperation can be broken down into four categories:

  1. Information sharing
  2. Computation speed-up
  3. Modularity
  4. Convenience

Information sharing involves the exchange of information between multiple processes. For example, in terms of multi-user access to the same file, there must be a system in place that allows these users to access the file parallel to each other without running into system problems or errors.

In terms of computation speed-up, a system can process multiple tasks more quickly if it's broken down into smaller parts, which can then be executed simultaneously. This will in turn speed up the computation process and allow the task to be completed faster. One example of this would be a mathematical order of operations equation: parentheses, exponents, multiplication/division, and addition/subtraction (or a PEMDAS equation). The best way to solve these types of equations is to break it down into smaller parts and solve each part individually.

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