Architecture

Role of Operating Systems

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Sean Garcia

Learning Objectives

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What is an operating system?
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An operating system is the software that controls the running of a computer by managing its hardware and processes. The OS acts as an interface between hardware and application software. Four important roles of an operating system include:


  • Managing Scheduling

  • Managing Concurrency

  • Managing Memory

  • Managing Devices

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Managing Scheduling
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The OS  has a program called the scheduler that controls and prioritises tasks and allocates processing requirements, including scheduling. The purpose of scheduling is to complete tasks in a timely and efficient manner.

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Managing Concurrency
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Concurrency refers to the running of computations simultaneously and potentially interacting with each other, this allows for an OS to provide better performance. An OS needs to manage concurrency in order to protect data and resources from interference from other processes (ensure that no errors occur).

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Managing Memory
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The process of managing a computer’s primary and secondary memory. This involves fetching data and processes between main memory and secondary storage. And also involves which processes get allocated memory at what time.

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Managing Devices
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The OS manages the software that allow the computer to read the signals coming from hardware devices that allow them to interact with the computer and each other. This is done through the use of device drivers.


A device driver is a program that allows a computer to interact with a piece of hardware. It is essentially a translator that the operating system uses in order to understand the signals coming from hardware devices and send signals to the device that it can understand. The operating system generally has pre-installed drivers but may have to install specific third party drivers for niche devices.

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Convergence Trends
Appropriate Hardware Components
Standard Operating Environments (SOE)
Role of Operating Systems
Types of Operating Systems
File Systems
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