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Operating System Design: Introduction

Most modern operating systems allow users to run many processes simultaneously. Managing these processes can be a complex task for operating systems. Since a single processor can only run a single process at a time, operating systems require the ability to alternate processor cycles between processes. Even if a computer has multiple cores, each core is usually tasked with more processes than it can run at a time. Many operating systems also include functionality for processes to communicate with each other.

What happens when a processor is tasked with a process?

A single processor can only run a single process at a time. When a processor is tasked with multiple processes simultaneously, the operating system must have the ability to share the processor cycles between its processes.
Depending on the needs of the operating system, this may be accomplished efficiently using many different algorithms.

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