Processes and Threads: A Brief Comparison

Processes and Threads: A Brief Comparison

´╗┐Processes and Threads: A Brief Comparison

Abstract
This paper provides a brief explanation of processes and threads. Each of these operating system components are defined in their most basic form. A comparison of the major similarities and differences between processes and threads is explored and finally some of the advantages and disadvantages are presented to the reader.
Processes and Threads: A Brief Comparison
Processes and threads may seem similar on the surface, but really they are interconnected in a parent / child type of relationship. In order to understand more about this relationship, this paper will examine the definition of both processes and threads, their similarities and differences and some of the advantages and disadvantages.
Definition of Processes and Threads
To put it simply, a process can be considered the actual program or application that is running. Once an instance of a program is loaded into memory and placed into the ready state of the execution queue, it is considered a process. Typically, a process has a self-contained execution environment, which means it has a complete, private set of basic run time resources. In particular, each process has its own memory space.
A thread is the path of execution within a process. All processes have at least one thread, known as the primary thread, but many times a process may create multiple threads to perform actions asynchronously. Threads are considered the smallest schedulable unit of execution within a process.
Similarities and Differences
The main difference between a thread and a process is the amount of work that each of them accomplish. Since threads work within a process, threads can be thought of smaller amounts of work to be accomplished within that process. Therefore threads are deemed lightweight while processes, basically the execution of applications, are seen as heavyweight.
Another difference between threads and processes is that threads within a process share the...

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