Sunday, August 19, 2007


1. Explain the concept of Reentrancy.
It is a useful, memory-saving technique for multiprogrammed timesharing systems. A Reentrant Procedure is one in which multiple users can share a single copy of a program during the same period. Reentrancy has 2 key aspects:
i.) The program code cannot modify itself,
ii.) The local data for each user process must be stored separately.
Thus, the permanent part is the code, and the temporary part is the pointer back to the calling program and local variables used by that program. Each execution instance is called activation. It executes the code in the permanent part, but has its own copy of local variables/parameters. The temporary part associated with each activation is the activation record. Generally, the activation record is kept on the stack.
Note: A reentrant procedure can be interrupted and called by an interrupting program, and still execute correctly on returning to the procedure.

2. Explain Belady's Anomaly.
Also called FIFO anomaly. Usually, on increasing the number of frames allocated to a process' virtual memory, the process execution is faster, because fewer page faults occur. Sometimes, the reverse happens, i.e., the execution time increases even when more frames are allocated to the process. This is Belady's Anomaly. This is true for certain page reference patterns.

3. What is a binary semaphore? What is its use?
A binary semaphore is one, which takes only 0 and 1 as values. They are used to implement mutual exclusion and synchronize concurrent processes.

4. What is thrashing?
It is a phenomenon in virtual memory schemes, when the processor spends most of its time swapping pages, rather than executing instructions. This is due to an inordinate number of page faults.

5. List the Coffman's conditions that lead to a deadlock.
a) Mutual Exclusion: Only one process may use a critical resource at a time.
b) Hold & Wait: A process may be allocated some resources while waiting for others.
c) No Pre-emption: No resource can be forcible removed from a process holding it.
d) Circular Wait: A closed chain of processes exist such that each process holds at least one resource needed by another process in the chain.

6. What are short-, long- and medium-term scheduling?
Long term scheduler determines which programs are admitted to the system for processing. It controls the degree of multiprogramming. Once admitted, a job becomes a process.
Medium term scheduling is part of the swapping function. This relates to processes that are in a blocked or suspended state. They are swapped out of main-memory until they are ready to execute. The swapping-in decision is based on memory-management criteria.
Short term scheduler, also know as a dispatcher executes most frequently, and makes the finest-grained decision of which process should execute next. This scheduler is invoked whenever an event occurs. It may lead to interruption of one process by preemption.

7. What are turnaround time and response time?
Turnaround time is the interval between the submission of a job and its completion. Response time is the interval between submission of a request, and the first response to that request.

8. What are the typical elements of a process image?
a)User data: Modifiable part of user space. May include program data, user stack area, and programs that may be modified.
b) User program: The instructions to be executed.
c) System Stack: Each process has one or more LIFO stacks associated with it. Used to store parameters and calling addresses for procedure and system calls.
d) Process Control Block (PCB): Info needed by the OS to control processes.

9. What is the Translation Lookaside Buffer (TLB)?
In a cached system, the base addresses of the last few referenced pages is maintained in registers called the TLB that aids in faster lookup. TLB contains those page-table entries that have been most recently used. Normally, each virtual memory reference causes 2 physical memory accesses-- one to fetch appropriate page-table entry, and one to fetch the desired data. Using TLB in-between, this is reduced to just one physical memory access in cases of TLB-hit.

10. What is the resident set and working set of a process?
Resident set is that portion of the process image that is actually in main-memory at a particular instant. Working set is that subset of resident set that is actually needed for execution. (Relate this to the variable-window size method for swapping techniques.)

11. When is a system in safe state?
The set of dispatchable processes is in a safe state if there exist at least one temporal order in which all processes can be run to completion without resulting in a deadlock.

12. What is cycle stealing?
We encounter cycle stealing in the context of Direct Memory Access (DMA). Either the DMA controller can use the data bus when the CPU does not need it, or it may force the CPU to temporarily suspend operation. The latter technique is called cycle stealing. Note that cycle stealing can be done only at specific break points in an instruction cycle.

13. What is meant by arm-stickiness?
If one or a few processes have a high access rate to data on one track of a storage disk, then they may monopolize the device by repeated requests to that track. This generally happens with most common device scheduling algorithms (LIFO, SSTF, C-SCAN, etc). High-density multi-surface disks are more likely to be affected by this, than the low density ones.

14. What are the stipulations of C2 level security?
C2 level security provides for:
1. Discretionary Access Control
2. Identification and Authentication
3. Auditing
4. Resource Reuse

15. What is busy waiting?
The repeated execution of a loop of code while waiting for an event to occur is called busy-waiting. The CPU is not engaged in any real productive activity during this period, and the process does not progress toward completion.

16. Explain the popular multiprocessor thread-scheduling strategies.
Load Sharing: Processes are not assigned to a particular processor. A global queue of threads is maintained. Each processor, when idle, selects a thread from this queue. Note that load balancing refers to a scheme where work is allocated to processors on a more permanent basis.
Gang Scheduling: A set of related threads is scheduled to run on a set of processors at the same time, on a 1-to-1 basis. Closely related threads / processes may be scheduled this way to reduce synchronization blocking, and minimize process switching. Group scheduling predated this strategy.
Dedicated processor assignment: Provides implicit scheduling defined by assignment of threads to processors. For the duration of program execution, each program is allocated a set of processors equal in number to the number of threads in the program. Processors are chosen from the available pool.
Dynamic scheduling: The number of thread in a program can be altered during the course of execution.

17. When does the condition 'rendezvous' arise?
In message passing, it is the condition in which, both, the sender and receiver are blocked until the message is delivered.

18. What is a trap and trapdoor?
Trapdoor is a secret undocumented entry point into a program, used to grant access without normal methods of access authentication. A trap is a software interrupt, usually the result of an error condition.

19. What are local and global page replacements?
Local replacement means that an incoming page is brought in only to the relevant process' address space. Global replacement policy allows any page frame from any process to be replaced. The latter is applicable to variable partitions model only.

20. Define latency, transfer and seek time with respect to disk I/O.
Seek time is the time required to move the disk arm to the required track. Rotational delay or latency is the time to move the required sector to the disk head. Sums of seek time (if any) and the latency is the access time, for accessing a particular track in a particular sector. Time taken to actually transfer a span of data is transfer time.

21. Describe the Buddy system of memory allocation.
Free memory is maintained in linked lists, each of equal sized blocks. Any such block is of size 2^k. When some memory is required by a process, the block size of next higher order is chosen, and broken into two. Note that the two such pieces differ in address only in their kth bit. Such pieces are called buddies. When any used block is freed, the OS checks to see if its buddy is also free. If so, it is rejoined, and put into the original free-block linked-list.

22. What is time stamping?
It is a technique proposed by Lamport, used to order events in a distributed system without the use of clocks. This scheme is intended to order events consisting of the transmission of messages. Each system 'i' in the network maintains a counter Ci. Every time a system transmits a message, it increments its counter by 1 and attaches the time-stamp Ti to the message. When a message is received, the receiving system 'j' sets its counter Cj to 1 more than the maximum of its current value and the incoming time-stamp Ti. At each site, the ordering of messages is determined by the following rules:
For messages x from site i and messages y from site j, x precedes y if one of the following conditions holds if Ti < Tj or if Ti = Tj and i < j.

23. How are the wait/signal operations for monitor different from those for semaphores?
If a process in the monitor signals and no task is waiting on the condition variable, the signal is lost. So this allows easier program design. Whereas in semaphores, every operation affects the value of the semaphore, so the wait and signal operations should be perfectly balanced in the program.

24. In the context of memory management, what are placement and replacement algorithms?
Placement algorithms determine where in the available main-memory to load the incoming process. Common methods are first-fit, next-fit, and best-fit. Replacement algorithms are used when memory is full, and one process (or part of a process) needs to be swapped out to accommodate the new incoming process. The replacement algorithm determines which are the partitions (memory portions occupied by the processes) to be swapped out.

25. In loading processes into memory, what is the difference between load-time dynamic linking and run-time dynamic linking?
For load-time dynamic linking: Load module to be loaded is read into memory. Any reference to a target external module causes that module to be loaded and the references are updated to a relative address from the start base address of the application module.
With run-time dynamic loading: Some of the linking is postponed until actual reference during execution. Then the correct module is loaded and linked.

26. What are demand- and pre-paging?
With demand paging, a page is brought into the main-memory only when a location on that page is actually referenced during execution. With prepaging, pages other than the one demanded by a page fault are brought in. The selection of such pages is done based on common access patterns, especially for secondary memory devices.

27. What is mounting?
Mounting is the mechanism by which two different file systems can be combined together. This is one of the services provided by the operating system, which allows the user to work with two different file systems, and some of the secondary devices.

28. What do you mean by dispatch latency?
The time taken by the dispatcher to stop one process and start running another process is known as the dispatch latency.

29. What is multi-processing?
The ability of an operating system to use more than one CPU in a single computer system. Symmetrical multiprocessing refers to the OS's ability to assign tasks dynamically to the next available processor, whereas asymmetrical multiprocessing requires that the original program designer choose the processor to use for a given task at the time of writing the program.

30. What is multitasking?
Multitasking is a logical extension of multi-programming. This refers to the simultaneous execution of more than one program, by switching between them, in a single computer system.

31. Define multithreading?
The concurrent processing of several tasks or threads inside the same program or process. Because several tasks can be processed parallely and no tasks have to wait for the another to finish its execution.

32. Define compaction.
Compaction refers to the mechanism of shuffling the memory portions such that all the free portions of the memory can be aligned (or merged) together in a single large block. OS to overcome the problem of fragmentation, either internal or external, performs this mechanism, frequently. Compaction is possible only if relocation is dynamic and done at run-time, and if relocation is static and done at assembly or load-time compaction is not possible.

33. What do you mean by FAT (File Allocation Table)?
A table that indicates the physical location on secondary storage of the space allocated to a file. FAT chains the clusters (group of sectors) to define the contents of the file. FAT allocates clusters to files.

34. What is a Kernel?
Kernel is the nucleus or core of the operating system. This represents small part of the code, which is thought to be the entire operating system, it is most intensively used. Generally, the kernel is maintained permanently in main memory, and other portions of the OS are moved to and from the secondary storage (mostly hard disk).

35. What is memory-mapped I/O?
Memory-mapped I/O, meaning that the communication between the I/O devices and the processor is done through physical memory locations in the address space. Each I/O device will occupy some locations in the I/O address space. I.e., it will respond when those addresses are placed on the bus. The processor can write those locations to send commands and information to the I/O device and read those locations to get information and status from the I/O device. Memory-mapped I/O makes it easy to write device drivers in a high-level language as long as the high-level language can load and store from arbitrary addresses.

36. What are the advantages of threads?
 Threads provide parallel processing like processes but they have one important advantage over process, they are much more efficient.
 Threads are cheaper to create and destroy because they do not require allocation and de-allocation of a new address space or other process resources.
 It is faster to switch between threads. It will be faster since the memory-mapping does not have to be setup and the memory and address translation caches do not have to be violated.
 Threads are efficient as they share memory. They do not have to use system calls (which are slower because of context switches) to communicate.

37. What are kernel threads?
The processes that execute in the Kernel-mode that processes are called kernel threads.

38. What are the necessary conditions for deadlock to exist?
 Process claims exclusive control for the Resources allocated to them. (Mutual exclusion condition).
 Resources cannot be de-allocated until the process completes they are used for its complete execution. (No preemption condition).
 A process can hold one resource and wait for other resources to be allocated. (Wait for condition)
 Circular wait condition.

39. What are the strategies for dealing with deadlock?
 Prevention- Place restrictions on resource requests so that deadlock cannot occur.
 Avoidance- Plan ahead so that you never get in to a situation where deadlock is inevitable.
 Recovery- when deadlock is identified in the system, it recovers from it by removing some of the causes of the deadlock.
 Detection – detecting whether the deadlock actually exists and identifies the processes and resources that are involved in the deadlock.

40. Paging a memory management function, while multiprogramming a processor management function, are the two interdependent?

41. What is page cannibalizing?
Page swapping or page replacements are called page cannibalizing.

42. What has triggered the need for multitasking in PCs?
 Increased speed and memory capacity of microprocessors together with the support fir virtual memory and
 Growth of client server computing

43. What are the four layers that Windows NT have in order to achieve independence?
 Hardware abstraction layer
 Kernel
 Subsystems
 System Services.

44. What is SMP?
To achieve maximum efficiency and reliability a mode of operation known as symmetric multiprocessing is used. In essence, with SMP any process or threads can be assigned to any processor.

45. What are the key object oriented concepts used by Windows NT?
 Encapsulation
 Object class and instance

46. Is Windows NT a full blown object oriented operating system? Give reasons.
No Windows NT is not so, because its not implemented in object oriented language and the data structures reside within one executive component and are not represented as objects and it does not support object oriented capabilities .

47. What is a drawback of MVT?
It does not have the features like
 ability to support multiple processors
 virtual storage
 source level debugging

48. What is process spawning?
When the OS at the explicit request of another process creates a process, this action is called process spawning.

49. How many jobs can be run concurrently on MVT?
15 jobs

50. List out some reasons for process termination.
 Normal completion
 Time limit exceeded
 Memory unavailable
 Bounds violation
 Protection error
 Arithmetic error
 Time overrun
 I/O failure
 Invalid instruction
 Privileged instruction
 Data misuse
 Operator or OS intervention
 Parent termination.

51. What are the reasons for process suspension?
 swapping
 interactive user request
 timing
 parent process request

52. What is process migration?
It is the transfer of sufficient amount of the state of process from one machine to the target machine

53. What is mutant?
In Windows NT a mutant provides kernel mode or user mode mutual exclusion with the notion of ownership.

54. What is an idle thread?
The special thread a dispatcher will execute when no ready thread is found.

55. What is FtDisk?
It is a fault tolerance disk driver for Windows NT.

56. What are the possible threads a thread can have?
 Ready
 Standby
 Running
 Waiting
 Transition
 Terminated.

57. What are rings in Windows NT?
Windows NT uses protection mechanism called rings provides by the process to implement separation between the user mode and kernel mode.

58. What is Executive in Windows NT?
In Windows NT, executive refers to the operating system code that runs in kernel mode.

59. What are the sub-components of I/O manager in Windows NT?
 Network redirector/ Server
 Cache manager.
 File systems
 Network driver
 Device driver

60. What are DDks? Name an operating system that includes this feature.
DDks are device driver kits, which are equivalent to SDKs for writing device drivers. Windows NT includes DDks.

61. What level of security does Windows NT meets?
C2 level security

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