Operating Systems

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Chapter 3: Deadlocks

A deadlock occurs when every member of a set of processes is waiting for an event that can only be caused by a member of the set.

Often the event waited for is the release of a resource.

In the automotive world deadlocks are called gridlocks.

Old Reward: I used to give one point extra credit on the final exam for anyone who brings a real (e.g., newspaper) picture of an automotive deadlock. Note that it must really be a gridlock, i.e., motion is not possible without breaking the traffic rules. A huge traffic jam is not sufficient. This was solved last semester so no reward any more. One of the winners in on my office door.

For a computer science example consider two processes A and B that each want to print a file currently on tape.

  1. A has obtained ownership of the printer and will release it after printing one file.
  2. B has obtained ownership of the tape drive and will release it after reading one file.
  3. A tries to get ownership of the tape drive, but is told to wait for B to release it.
  4. B tries to get ownership of the printer, but is told to wait for A to release the printer.

Bingo: deadlock!

3.1: Resources

The resource is the object granted to a process.

3.1.1: Preemptable and Nonpreemptable Resources

3.1.2: Resource Acquisition

Simple example of the trouble you can get into.

Recall from the semaphore/critical-section treatment last chapter, that it is easy to cause trouble if a process dies or stays forever inside its critical section; we assume processes do not do this. Similarly, we assume that no process retains a resource forever. It may obtain the resource an unbounded number of times (i.e. it can have a loop forever with a resource request inside), but each time it gets the resource, it must release it eventually.

3.2: Introduction to Deadlocks

To repeat: A deadlock occurs when a every member of a set of processes is waiting for an event that can only be caused by a member of the set.

Often the event waited for is the release of a resource.

3.2.1: (Necessary) Conditions for Deadlock

The following four conditions (Coffman; Havender) are necessary but not sufficient for deadlock. Repeat: They are not sufficient.

  1. Mutual exclusion: A resource can be assigned to at most one process at a time (no sharing).
  2. Hold and wait: A processing holding a resource is permitted to request another.
  3. No preemption: A process must release its resources; they cannot be taken away.
  4. Circular wait: There must be a chain of processes such that each member of the chain is waiting for a resource held by the next member of the chain.

The first three are characteristics of the system and resources. That is, for a given system with a fixed set of resources, the first three conditions are either true or false: They don't change with time. The truth or falsehood of the last condition does indeed change with time as the resources are requested/allocated/released.

3.2.2: Deadlock Modeling

On the right are several examples of a Resource Allocation Graph, also called a Reusable Resource Graph.

Consider two concurrent processes P1 and P2 whose programs are.

P1: request R1       P2: request R2
    request R2           request R1
    release R2           release R1
    release R1           release R2

On the board draw the resource allocation graph for various possible executions of the processes, indicating when deadlock occurs and when deadlock is no longer avoidable.

There are four strategies used for dealing with deadlocks.

  1. Ignore the problem
  2. Detect deadlocks and recover from them
  3. Avoid deadlocks by carefully deciding when to allocate resources.
  4. Prevent deadlocks by violating one of the 4 necessary conditions.

3.3: Ignoring the problem--The Ostrich Algorithm

The “put your head in the sand approach”.

3.4: Detecting Deadlocks and Recovering From Them

3.4.1: Detecting Deadlocks with Single Unit Resources

Consider the case in which there is only one instance of each resource.

To find a directed cycle in a directed graph is not hard. The algorithm is in the book. The idea is simple.

  1. For each node in the graph do a depth first traversal to see if the graph is a DAG (directed acyclic graph), building a list as you go down the DAG.

  2. If you ever find the same node twice on your list, you have found a directed cycle, the graph is not a DAG, and deadlock exists among the processes in your current list.

  3. If you never find the same node twice, the graph is a DAG and no deadlock occurs.

  4. The searches are finite since the list size is bounded by the number of nodes.