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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Operating Systems: A statistical model for console behavior in multiuser computers

The ability of a computer system to communicate with the outside world efficiently is as important as its ability to perform computations efficiently. It is quite difficult to characterize a particular user, but rather easy to characterize the entire user community. Based on the properties of this community we have postulated a hypothetical “virtual console.” No claim is made that a virtual console behaves like any actual console, but the entire collection of virtual consoles models the collection of actual consoles. Using the model we answer questions like: How many processes are suspended waiting for console input? What is the maximum rate at which a process can execute? What bounds can be set on overall buffer requirements? Answers to these and similar questions are needed in certain aspects of operating system design.

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