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Context (computing)
In computer science, a task context is the minimal set of data used by a task (which may be a process, thread, or fiber) that must be saved to allow a task to be interrupted, and later continued from the same point. The concept of context assumes significance in the case of interruptible tasks, wherein, upon being interrupted, the processor saves the context and proceeds to serve the interrupt service routine. Thus, the smaller the context is, the smaller the latency is. The context data may be located in processor registers, memory used by the task, or in control registers used by some operating systems to manage the task. The storage memory (files used by a task) is not concerned by the "task context" in the case of a context switch, even if this can be stored for some uses (checkpointing). Context types In some computer languages like C#, there is also the concept of ''safe''/''secure context''. For instance, if an array is needed inside a structure, it can be added to it si ...
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Computer Science
Computer science is the study of computation, automation, and information. Computer science spans theoretical disciplines (such as algorithms, theory of computation, information theory, and automation) to practical disciplines (including the design and implementation of hardware and software). Computer science is generally considered an area of academic research and distinct from computer programming. Algorithms and data structures are central to computer science. The theory of computation concerns abstract models of computation and general classes of problems that can be solved using them. The fields of cryptography and computer security involve studying the means for secure communication and for preventing security vulnerabilities. Computer graphics and computational geometry address the generation of images. Programming language theory considers different ways to describe computational processes, and database theory concerns the management of repositories of data. H ...
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Process (computing)
In computing, a process is the instance of a computer program that is being executed by one or many threads. There are many different process models, some of which are light weight, but almost all processes (even entire virtual machines) are rooted in an operating system (OS) process which comprises the program code, assigned system resources, physical and logical access permissions, and data structures to initiate, control and coordinate execution activity. Depending on the OS, a process may be made up of multiple threads of execution that execute instructions concurrently. While a computer program is a passive collection of instructions typically stored in a file on disk, a process is the execution of those instructions after being loaded from the disk into memory. Several processes may be associated with the same program; for example, opening up several instances of the same program often results in more than one process being executed. Multitasking is a method to allow ...
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Thread (computer Science)
In computer science, a thread of execution is the smallest sequence of programmed instructions that can be managed independently by a scheduler, which is typically a part of the operating system. The implementation of threads and processes differs between operating systems. In Modern Operating Systems, Tanenbaum shows that many distinct models of process organization are possible.TANENBAUM, Andrew S. Modern Operating Systems. 1992. Prentice-Hall International Editions, ISBN 0-13-595752-4. In many cases, a thread is a component of a process. The multiple threads of a given process may be executed concurrently (via multithreading capabilities), sharing resources such as memory, while different processes do not share these resources. In particular, the threads of a process share its executable code and the values of its dynamically allocated variables and non- thread-local global variables at any given time. History Threads made an early appearance under the name of "tas ...
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Fiber (computer Science)
In computer science, a fiber is a particularly lightweight thread of execution. Like threads, fibers share address space. However, fibers use cooperative multitasking while threads use preemptive multitasking. Threads often depend on the kernel's thread scheduler to preempt a busy thread and resume another thread; fibers yield themselves to run another fiber while executing. Threads, fibers and coroutines The key difference between fibers and kernel threads is that fibers use cooperative context switching, instead of preemptive time-slicing. In effect, fibers extend the concurrency taxonomy: * on a single computer, multiple processes can run * within a single process, multiple threads can run * within a single thread, multiple fibers can run Fibers (sometimes called stackful coroutines or user mode cooperatively scheduled threads) and stackless coroutines (compiler synthesized state machines) represent two distinct programming facilities with vast performance and function ...
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Interrupt
In digital computers, an interrupt (sometimes referred to as a trap) is a request for the processor to ''interrupt'' currently executing code (when permitted), so that the event can be processed in a timely manner. If the request is accepted, the processor will suspend its current activities, save its state, and execute a function called an ''interrupt handler'' (or an ''interrupt service routine'', ISR) to deal with the event. This interruption is often temporary, allowing the software to resume normal activities after the interrupt handler finishes, although the interrupt could instead indicate a fatal error. Interrupts are commonly used by hardware devices to indicate electronic or physical state changes that require time-sensitive attention. Interrupts are also commonly used to implement computer multitasking, especially in real-time computing. Systems that use interrupts in these ways are said to be interrupt-driven. Types Interrupt signals may be issued in response to ...
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Interrupt Service Routine
In computer systems programming, an interrupt handler, also known as an interrupt service routine or ISR, is a special block of code associated with a specific interrupt condition. Interrupt handlers are initiated by hardware interrupts, software interrupt instructions, or software exceptions, and are used for implementing device drivers or transitions between protected modes of operation, such as system calls. The traditional form of interrupt handler is the hardware interrupt handler. Hardware interrupts arise from electrical conditions or low-level protocols implemented in digital logic, are usually dispatched via a hard-coded table of interrupt vectors, asynchronously to the normal execution stream (as interrupt masking levels permit), often using a separate stack, and automatically entering into a different execution context (privilege level) for the duration of the interrupt handler's execution. In general, hardware interrupts and their handlers are used to handle high-pri ...
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Processor Register
A processor register is a quickly accessible location available to a computer's processor. Registers usually consist of a small amount of fast storage, although some registers have specific hardware functions, and may be read-only or write-only. In computer architecture, registers are typically addressed by mechanisms other than main memory, but may in some cases be assigned a memory address e.g. DEC PDP-10, ICT 1900. Almost all computers, whether load/store architecture or not, load data from a larger memory into registers where it is used for arithmetic operations and is manipulated or tested by machine instructions. Manipulated data is then often stored back to main memory, either by the same instruction or by a subsequent one. Modern processors use either static or dynamic RAM as main memory, with the latter usually accessed via one or more cache levels. Processor registers are normally at the top of the memory hierarchy, and provide the fastest way to access data. The ...
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Control Register
A control register is a processor register which changes or controls the general behavior of a CPU or other digital device. Common tasks performed by control registers include interrupt control, switching the addressing mode, paging control, and coprocessor control. Control registers in x86 series CR0 The CR0 register is 32 bits long on the 386 and higher processors. On x64 processors in long mode, it (and the other control registers) is 64 bits long. CR0 has various control flags that modify the basic operation of the processor. Register CR0 is the 32 Bit version of the old Machine Status Word (MSW) register. The MSW register was expanded to the Control Register with the appearance of the i386 processor. CR1 Reserved, the CPU will throw a # UD exception when trying to access it. CR2 Contains a value called Page Fault Linear Address (PFLA). When a page fault occurs, the address the program attempted to access is stored in the CR2 register. CR3 Used when virtual addre ...
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Operating System
An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common daemon (computing), services for computer programs. Time-sharing operating systems scheduler (computing), schedule tasks for efficient use of the system and may also include accounting software for cost allocation of Scheduling (computing), processor time, mass storage, printing, and other resources. For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware, although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware and frequently makes system calls to an OS function or is interrupted by it. Operating systems are found on many devices that contain a computer from cellular phones and video game consoles to web servers and supercomputers. The dominant general-purpose personal computer operating system is Microsoft Windows with a market share of aroun ...
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Context Switch
In computing, a context switch is the process of storing the state of a process or thread, so that it can be restored and resume execution at a later point, and then restoring a different, previously saved, state. This allows multiple processes to share a single central processing unit (CPU), and is an essential feature of a multitasking operating system. The precise meaning of the phrase "context switch" varies. In a multitasking context, it refers to the process of storing the system state for one task, so that task can be paused and another task resumed. A context switch can also occur as the result of an interrupt, such as when a task needs to access disk storage, freeing up CPU time for other tasks. Some operating systems also require a context switch to move between user mode and kernel mode tasks. The process of context switching can have a negative impact on system performance. Cost Context switches are usually computationally intensive, and much of the design of oper ...
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Array Data Type
In computer science, array is a data type that represents a collection of ''elements'' (values or variables), each selected by one or more indices (identifying keys) that can be computed at run time during program execution. Such a collection is usually called an array variable or array value.Robert W. Sebesta (2001) ''Concepts of Programming Languages''. Addison-Wesley. 4th edition (1998), 5th edition (2001), By analogy with the mathematical concepts vector and matrix, array types with one and two indices are often called vector type and matrix type, respectively. More generally, a multidimensional array type can be called a tensor type, by anology with the physical concept, tensor. Language support for array types may include certain built-in array data types, some syntactic constructions (''array type constructors'') that the programmer may use to define such types and declare array variables, and special notation for indexing array elements. For example, in the Pascal ...
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Struct (C Programming Language)
A struct in the C programming language (and many derivatives) is a composite data type (or record) declaration that defines a physically grouped list of variables under one name in a block of memory, allowing the different variables to be accessed via a single pointer or by the struct declared name which returns the same address. The struct data type can contain other data types so is used for mixed-data-type records such as a hard-drive directory entry (file length, name, extension, physical address, etc.), or other mixed-type records (name, address, telephone, balance, etc.). The C struct directly references a ''contiguous block'' of physical memory, usually delimited (sized) by word-length boundaries. It corresponds to the similarly named feature available in some assemblers for Intel processors. Being a block of contiguous memory, each field within a struct is located at a certain fixed offset from the start. Because the contents of a struct are stored in contiguous memory, t ...
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