Duality and the bounded-buffer problem Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sn00b1621

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  • The paper, "On the Duality of Operating System Structures," by Lauer and Needham [21], claims that operating systems can be modeled as procedure-oriented or message-oriented, and that the two models are duals of each other. Duality, in this case, means that the models are logically and functionally equivalent, and have the same run-time performance. The duality paper concludes that, since the models are equivalent, the choice between models is made based on the ease of implementation of the primitives, or the fit of the primitives to the underlying machine, not on the application being solved. An experiment is presented which derives dual solutions to the bounded-buffer problem and then analyzes the solutions with respect to the duality claims. The majority of the duality claims are not supported by this thesis, therefore, the conclusion of the duality paper is rejected. The first claim is rejected because of the bias towards the procedure-oriented model. To support this claim an example purposely biased towards the message model is presented. Performance equivalence is rejected because of the semantic difference between monitor exiting, in the procedure model, and the manager process immediately looking for the next request, in the message model [22]. A semantic alternative is presented which corrects the semantic difference, however, performance will still vary between models even with the semantic "patch." The difference being that the monitor inherits its priority from the calling procedure, whereas, the manager process is a stand alone, high priority process. The conclusion that the application should not influence the model selection is rejected, and an alternate criteria for model selection is proposed. Both biased models are too restrictive to serve as a "general purpose" programming style. If the application lends itself to a particular model, then use that model. If performance is a requirement (we show performance variance between the two models), than select the model that gives the required performance. If reliability is an issue, it may dictate a closely coupled program structure, making one model more attractive than the other.
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