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Threads Compared with Processes 본문

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Threads Compared with Processes

비회원 2007.09.29 19:16

(Wikipedia 원문 보기)

Threads are distinguished from traditional multitasking operating system processes in that processes are typically independent, carry considerable state information, have separate address spaces, and interact only through system-provided inter-process communication mechanisms. Multiple threads, on the other hand, typically share the state information of a single process, and share memory and other resources directly. Context switching between threads in the same process is typically faster than context switching between processes. Systems like Windows NT and OS/2 are said to have "cheap" threads and "expensive" processes; in other operating systems there is not so great a difference.

Multithreading is a popular programming and execution model that allows multiple threads to exist within the context of a single process, sharing the process' resources but able to execute independently. The threaded programming model provides developers with a useful abstraction of concurrent execution. However, perhaps the most interesting application of the technology is when it is applied to a single process to enable parallel execution on a multiprocessor system.

This advantage of a multithreaded program allows it to operate faster on computer systems that have multiple CPUs, CPUs with multiple cores, or across a cluster of machines. This is because the threads of the program naturally lend themselves to truly concurrent execution. In such a case, the programmer needs to be careful to avoid race conditions, and other non-intuitive behaviors. In order for data to be correctly manipulated, threads will often need to rendezvous in time in order to process the data in the correct order. Threads may also require atomic operations (often implemented using semaphores) in order to prevent common data from being simultaneously modified, or read while in the process of being modified. Careless use of such primitives can lead to deadlocks.

Operating systems schedule threads in one of two ways. Preemptive multithreading is generally considered the superior approach, as it allows the operating system to determine when a context switch should occur. Cooperative multithreading, on the other hand, relies on the threads themselves to relinquish control once they are at a stopping point. This can create problems if a thread is waiting for a resource to become available. The disadvantage to preemptive multithreading is that the system may make a context switch at an inappropriate time, causing priority inversion or other bad effects which may be avoided by cooperative multithreading.

Traditional mainstream computing hardware did not have much support for multithreading as switching between threads was generally already quicker than full process context switches. Processors in embedded systems, which have higher requirements for real-time behaviors, might support multithreading by decreasing the thread switch time, perhaps by allocating a dedicated register file for each thread instead of saving/restoring a common register file. In the late 1990s, the idea of executing instructions from multiple threads simultaneously has become known as simultaneous multithreading. This feature was introduced in Intel's Pentium 4 processor, with the name Hyper-threading.

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2학년 2학기 System S/W 중간고사에, 쓰레드와 프로세스의 차이점에 대하여 쓰라는 문제가 생각나서 위키피디아를 검색하였다. 시험당시에는 쓰지 못했지만 역시나 큰 차이점은 프로세스는 리소스를 공유하기 위해 IPC라는 수단을 이용하지만, 쓰레드는 싱글 프로세스내에서 다른 수단이 필요없이 리소스 공유가 가능하다는 점이 아닐런지...

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